Where once the belief was that technology would allow us to manage our time in a more productive way, what we have realized is that most of us have been spending our work days caught in a web of multitasking and mindless productivity, not getting nearly enough done even though we work longer hours. What we offer here is five incredibly effective ways to increase productivity while reducing the amount of time spent on individual tasks.
1. Focus on Crucial Tasks
Eliminate all distraction from your work desk by shutting off your email, your text messages, and your social media accounts. Identify two or three of your most crucial tasks, and do them first. Once these tasks are completed, the day is yours, to start tomorrow’s tasks or do something outside of work.
Allow yourself to completely focus on each task as you do it. Open only the browser tabs and documents that that you need for your work, (you can check your email and text messages when you are done with each task). By simplifying your schedule and not squeezing in as many tasks as possible, you will reduce stress, perform better, and begin to enjoy your work again.
2. Forget Juggling and Get Some Sleep
When planning your work week, commit your time to tasks that you care about, that mean something to you, that you enjoy spending your time on, instead of committing yourself to obligations purely for financial gain. You have to learn how to be objective, and say no to tasks that you don’t enjoy, or that won’t further your goals.
When you focus on work that you enjoy, the quality of your work is usually better, and the sense of your accomplishment greater. Imagine how good it would feel to end each day on time and feeling proud of what you accomplished, instead of having to stay up late to complete tasks that you don’t enjoy.
3. Put off Procrastination and Getting Lost in the Details
Overcome procrastination by starting your work day early, before the pressures of the day take precedence over your work. Don’t let the little details of your task slow down your productivity. You can always add details later, after your motivation to complete the task has taken over. And because you approached each task in a mindful manner, you will completely avoid the stress of an approaching deadline.
4. Set Time Limits and Buffer Zones
Keep to your schedule by setting realistic time limits for each task. Be sure to include short breaks between tasks for rejuvenation. Make use of these “buffer zones”, by doing something productive and completely different from your work tasks. You can meditate, walk, exercise, or do anything that you enjoy and that will help clear your mind.
5. Get Into the Habit
By getting into the habit of…
- Scheduling tasks
- Saying no
- Starting your work day early
- Setting time limits and
- Creating buffer zones
…you will be working smarter not harder, and perhaps rekindling the excitement you used to have about your work.