Sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want — or need. While you might be feeling overwhelmed by the number of things on your desk, the solution could be easier than you think. Sometimes, the only thing that needs changing is your time management. You might be bogged down with busy work, or feeling too sluggish to concentrate. Check out these helpful tips to increase your productivity and start feeling accomplished.
Get rid of distractions
Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent, set your IM status to ‘busy’ and, if you can, shut the door. You might not think you’re spending a lot of time responding to messages from coworkers or checking Facebook on your phone, but those one or two minutes can quickly add up throughout the day. There are apps and tools you can use to help you cut through the noise: RescueTime tracks your daily habits to see which sites you’re spending the most time on, and JDarkRoom has a simple text editor take over your computer so you can write with no pop-ups or distractions.
Figure out all the tasks you need to complete, and tackle the most important ones first. The kanban task method is a popular way to prioritize tasks, especially amongst tech companies. You can visually see what needs to be completed, what’s currently being worked on, and what’s finished already, with the most important items at the top of each column. That way you can see where you need to start and what requires your attention right away.
Break up your day
Research has found that working in 90-minute intervals is beneficial for productivity, as well as giving your mind and body a break. After 90 minutes of hard work, take 20 minutes to do a lighter task or even go for a coffee break. During your 90 minute blocks, try to batch similar work together. You can spend one interval doing your administrative tasks like answering emails and setting up meetings, and another 90 knocking out your data entry or reporting for the week.
Transform your meetings
It’s a joke in many offices that a lot of meetings “could have been an email,” and for a good reason. A lot of your day could be eaten up by meetings where not a lot happens, but you can change that. Make your meetings more productive and action-based by setting an agenda and assigning tasks on the spot. And, of course, know when a meeting could just be an email!
Exercising doesn’t just help your body, it also helps your mind. It can keep your brain sharp by increasing the amount of new neural connections. If you feel like you’re at a dead-end in a project, your eureka moment could come to the gym!
Learning to work more efficiently can help you succeed in your career. Take these tips and implement them into your day, and you might be surprised with the results!