Productivity is one of the biggest challenges for office worker and entrepreneurs alike.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and yet some people seem to magnify that time to get twice the work done.
It’s not magic.
The busiest people that produce the greatest results have found strategies and tools to help them manage their time and energy effectively.
You can do that, too!
To be more productive, try these 7 things:
When you have a stack of to-dos on your desk and not enough time to handle everything, it’s tempting to switch back and forth, trying to get everything done at once.
Not only will you get less done, but the things you do accomplish won’t be anywhere near the quality you’re capable of.
Try to batch similar activities together, and manage your focus so that you’re only working on and thinking about one task at a time.
This is much easier to do when you:
For office workers, distractions are everywhere.
Have a zero tolerance policy for routine distractions, like coworker questions and requests, last-minute meetings, and even general office conversation and gossip.
Setting the ground rules and letting your colleagues know that you aren’t going to be derailed can be challenging.
It’s not an easy shift.
It’s worth it, though.
Be firm, be polite, and don’t cave in.
Ruthlessly Manage Meeting Schedules
To boost your productivity, you’ll have to guard your time from others who don’t value it like you do.
Meetings are great…
But meetings with no specified end time can drag on and on, produce little, and prevent you from doing actual, productive work.
Don’t agree to attend meetings that don’t have a set end time.
If you need to, send a polite message to the person who scheduled the meeting and let them know that you have a firm end, and you have to be back at your desk at a certain time.
Then, stick to it.
Be the Boss of Your Email
You control your email, not the other way around.
Most people check and respond to emails as soon as they come in, and while it might seem like you save time because your inbox stays empty, that’s not the case.
By only checking and answering email during scheduled time slots, you save time and you can respond more completely to each message.
When you check through the day, you dash off quick responses.
Then they respond to get clarification.
Then you respond with a little more detail.
Then they ask another question…
Instead, focus your attention on giving a complete, easily understandable responses that should need no follow up.
The fewer emails that shoot back and forth, the less time you’ll spend in total in your inbox.
Start Early and Use Your Mornings
Many of the most productive people in the world rise early and get their day started long before the get to the office.
By waking up earlier and using that time for personal routines, you shift the focus of your day.
Now, instead of getting up to go to work, you get up to start your day, and your job is just part of that day.
Some people find that much more comfortable and productive, but others work better at night.
Delegate the Delegatable
If it’s an option, and you don’t have to complete work personally, then don’t.
Leaders often struggle with this.
Sometimes, it’s hard to let go of a project because nobody can do it like you do, but maybe it doesn’t have to be done like you do it.
Even if the end product is slightly lower quality than it would have been had you completed the task yourself, if you can get other, more important things done in that time, isn’t it worth it?
Look at net benefits.
The big picture matters.
Use Good Organizational Tools
Organization is a huge part of productivity.
Keeping your desk neat and clean, properly storing and naming computer files, and using systems all help you produce more.
Sometimes, computer software like Scrivener or Evernote can be a lifesaver.
Or, perhaps you need an assistant to keep you on track.
Find tools and solutions that work for you, and use them to their potential.