How to work smarter, not harder

If you asked yourself at the end of the day to rate, out of 10, how productive do you think you were, what would that be?

Perhaps 8, 9? Is that based on how busy you were? How much did you actually get done? Were you happy with how much you crossed off your to-do list? Do you end up carrying tasks over to the next day? Your to-do list may say 0 at the end of the day, but the following day has been bumped up to 35…

 

So if you really ask yourself, how productive were you? For most of us, if we tracked what we spent our time on during typical working hours, then we;d probably admit that there were times where we weren;t working to our full potential. A quick surf of Facebook, gossip with a client, perhaps if you work from home, then you;re caught up with answering the door to the postman, putting some washing on, etc.

 

The truth is, that it;s easy to be busy, but not necessarily productive. Then you find yourself working longer hours to make up for the fact that you didn;t get everything done.

So here;s some advice, how to make your working day as productive as it can be, so that you don;t have to spill into your evenings and weekends. It just takes a bit of discipline, a bit of planning, some systems and processing, but your family, health and wellbeing will thank you for it in the long term.

 

  • Don;t start your day checking emails. Do the task that requires the most concentration first, or the one that you don;t want to do. You;ll be surprised at not only how quickly you get it done, but how much you;ll feel that it sets you up for the rest of the day.
  • Turn off all notifications when doing a task that you need to devote your full attention to. This includes phonecalls, emails, social media updates, whatever distracts you.
  • Divide your day into half hour or hour chunks. Then allocate your tasks for the day to those chunks. Set a timer, so you keep to those chunks. Use a week to find out how long your regular tasks take you using this system, then that will help you to accurately designate time going forward.
  • Allow time for relaxing/time out. Your brain can only work for so long, so you should allocate time out for 10 mins every couple of hours, spend it listening to music, or meditating. There are plenty of apps you can download which allow you to take time out and recharge your batteries
  • Likewise, exercise has been demonstrated to improve your productivity, so why don;t you try a morning workout before you start the day? Do it before you look at your emails though!
  • Fill your body with the fuel it needs. Eating a breakfast gives you more energy, improves your concentration and your memory too!
  • Tidy your workspace. Again, another simple tactic, but if you;re spending time trying to locate documents, receipts, drawings etc., it;s valuable time lost
  • Keep meetings to schedule, don;t let them overrun, and keep the meeting on track. Set an agenda, so that you are all aware of what needs to be agreed to by the end
  • Focus on one task at a time. Don;t try and take a phonecall at the same time as writing an email, you won;t be able to do either very well, and it;ll probably take you longer
  • Learn how to delegate. Do you REALLY need to do that task? If you enjoy it but it isn;t the best use of your time, then that;s something that needs to be given to someone else. Likewise, if there is something that you don;t know how to do, and therefore will take you a huge proportion of your time to do, then outsource.
  • Learn to say no. Be strict with your time. If you can;t fit it in, then you can;t do it, simple as! Is your client;s deadline really now? Try and ascertain a realistic deadline between you

 

These are all tips which have been proven to make a significant effect on a person;s productivity. There;s no difficult formula, systems and processes needed, as mentioned, just a bit of planning. Give it a go, and let me know, I would be keen to hear your feedback!

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