Hard work is old school. Smart work is where it’s at. We’ve culled the internet and polled our most productive friends to see how they get it right. Make the shift from hard to smart with the top 10 ways to quit wasting your day.
1. Stop Multitasking
Maybe you haven’t read the news yet, so we’ll tell you – multitasking is six feet under. It’s been given the last rights, buried and mourned. The idea that you can focus on more than one thing at a time and be even remotely efficient has been exposed for the myth it is. If you want to be productive then the first thing you want to do is FOCUS – on one thing at a time.
2. Make Lists
Keeping track of the things you want to accomplish is way less painful when you make lists for daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Plus it’s so satisfying when you cross things off!
3. Get Out of Your In-Box
How many hours do you waste every week with those ‘quick’ email checks that end up as hour-long black holes of ‘correspondence’? Set specific times each day for checking emails, and give yourself a limit to how long you’ll spend each time. Every email should fall into one of three categories:
- delete immediately
- quick response (under 5 minutes)
- deal with later
*The third item should make up a tiny fraction of your emails. Deal with them at the end of your work day and get them out of your in-box before the day’s end.
4. Take Breaks
Schedule specific breaks for yourself and stick to them. Giving yourself 10 minutes every 1.5 hours to stretch, go outside or do anything that is NOT work will give you a little brain-n-body boost.
5. Quit the Chit-Chat
Social hour is social hour, whether it’s virtual or at the local hangout. Skype, Messenger, Twitter, Facebook or anything that rings, bleeps, pops, buzzes or tweets should be turned off if you want even a modicum of productive time.
What are the most important things you need to get done today, this week, this month? Do them first, when your energy is fresh. Fussing with details that don’t take much brain power wastes time when you’re feeling chipper. Leave those little things for times when you only have little bits of energy or focus.
7. Rise-n-Shine (early!)
When you start your day early you give yourself more time to get things done. But there’s more! Once you get going (as in ‘out of bed’), you tend to have more energy than if you slept in. (But hey, if you’re aiming for ‘groggy and unmotivated’ then by all means, stay in bed ’til noon!)
8. Clear the Slate (or Desk)
Make sure your work space is clear of unnecessary clutter – and this includes your computer desk top. A cluttered space is no friend to an organized and focused mind.
9. Schedule it
Appointments, work time, fun time. Not that we want you to marry your day planner or anything, but making a basic daily, weekly and monthly schedule that balances work and play helps keep your whole life in balance.
10. File it Away
When a task or project is complete, put it where it belongs. Get it out of sight and out of mind so you can focus on the next task at hand (see #8 if you don’t believe us).
What ways have you found to add hours to your days? How do you find the time and energy to do everything you want to do? Leave a comment and let us know.
(based on an article by the FinerMinds Team)