Here are some suggestions for making the most of your time and increasing your own productivity:
1. Create a weekly schedule every Sunday night
I sit down on Sunday afternoons with my list of crucial goals for the year and for every month. These objectives guide me each week and help me stay on course. Long-term objectives may not be urgent, but they are unquestionably significant. If you’re not careful, it’s simple for “urgent” to take precedence over “important.” I then have a look at my week’s calendar. I am aware of the times that meetings, etc., have set aside. I then take a look at my goals and add those chores to my to-do list.
The secret is to plan out your week with structure and discipline; otherwise, you’ll just let things occur to you and the urgent will take precedence over the important.
2. Activate task time blocking
Everyone sets up appointments and meetings. Take it a step further and schedule time to finish particular chores. Appointments are set aside for “writing a fresh proposal,” “creating a presentation,” or “approving marketing materials.”
These duties will fall by the wayside if you don’t intentionally block out that time. or become disturbed. else you’ll become distracted. And crucial duties won’t actually be completed.
3. Comply with a reasonable to-do list
I used to make to-do lists, but I didn’t give each item a time limit. What took place? My to-do list was usually longer than I was able to complete, which converted it into a wish list rather than a list of things to do. Tasks won’t get completed if you have six hours of meetings and eight hours of work to do today.
Setting realistic time constraints makes you prioritize. (Though there are many more programs you can use; I personally favor Toodledo.) Setting realistic deadlines will also keep you concentrated. You’ll be more aggressive in eliminating or ignoring distractions when you know a task should only take 30 minutes.
4. Always schedule 30-minute meetings
Millions of people-hours were wasted when the one-hour default in calendar software was created. The majority of topics may be covered in 30 minutes. Many things can be completed in 15 minutes, especially if everyone in attendance is aware of the time limit.
Don’t let the calendar tool defaults control you. If you know you will need an hour, only schedule it.
5. Give up multi-tasking
It’s tempting to complete a few meaningless activities during a meeting, especially one that lasts an hour. (Who among us has not cleared their inbox while in a meeting?) The issue is that these meetings are less effective due to the fragmented focus. You’re distracted even though you’re just doing useless things. You become less productive as a result.
A personal productivity killer is multitasking. Avoid attempting to perform two things half-way well. Practice one thing a lot.
6. Be fixated on utilizing edge time
Driving to work, driving home, and waiting in airports are my busiest periods during the workday. I work extremely hard to maximize that time. I virtually always plan calls for the morning commute. It’s simple: I drive the kids to school, drop them off at the designated time, and then I may make a call between 8:00 and 8:30. Especially with friends on the West Coast, I rarely plan calls for the way home so I can return them.
I use Pocket, a browser add-on that downloads articles when I’m at the airport. I make sure I have plenty to read—and plenty I want to read—while I’m standing in the security queue by loading up 10 articles in advance.
Consider your day. Determine the off-times. Then plan activities you can perform at that period. Call it “edge time” since it has the potential to provide a profitable edge.
7. Keep a time log
You’ll be shocked at how much time you waste on non-productive activities once you start tracking it (I use Toggl). It’s not necessary to be overly descriptive. Your logged data may be directional rather than accurate.
I’ve only recently started keeping track of my time. It has been an enlightening experience that has greatly improved my ability to concentrate.
8. Think carefully about lunch.
It might take one hour for lunch. also 30 minutes. also ten minutes.
Take your time, and consider your actions carefully. It’s okay if you like to eat at your desk and keep drinking. Lunch is one time when multitasking can be excellent if you benefit from using the break to recharge. You can network, mingle, and contribute to the development of your company’s culture, but not if you go out to lunch with the same individuals every day.
Set aside two days per week to go out with strangers. Or go for a walk. or take personal action that is beneficial. Let’s say you have lunch every day for an hour, or five hours every week. Think carefully about how you utilize that time. Although you are not required to work, you should make it work for you.
9. Keep family time sacred.
I’m a little bit of a workaholic like you. I think carefully about how I spend my evenings. We share dinner together as a family and assist our children with their schoolwork when I get home from work. I gave up entirely. No email or phone.
We often have two hours before the children need to prepare for bed. I’m there at that time. After that, I can turn back on. Because I know I can return to work at 8 or 9 o’clock, I feel at ease leaving the office at 5 or 5:30 p.m.
Every family has its prime time for interaction. If you don’t deliberately make that time available, you’ll relapse into work-related activities. Either work or spend time with your family at home. That entails no texting and no use of phones at the table. Be with your family; don’t just be present.
10. Make a good start each day.
Exercise gives me energy, therefore I do it first thing in the morning. (Research also demonstrates that engaging in moderate aerobic activity can elevate mood for up to 12 hours.)
I run as soon as I wake up. After that, I relax while reading the newspaper and hurry downstairs to join my kids for breakfast. Efficiency in the morning not only gives you more energy, but it also sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you have a productive morning, you’ll have a productive day overall.