10 Best Productivity Tips to Get More Work DoneCharlie Bedell
It’s time to rethink how you work!
All of us get caught in routines and habits at work that begin with the best intentions but are not always on the path towards better productivity. Before we know it, we become less efficient over time, the opposite of what anyone wants for their business.
If you’re ready to refresh your workflow, explore these 10 tips for productivity to get more accomplished with less stress.
1. Do your hardest work at your peak focus
A successful workday routine means scheduling your most challenging work at your peak focus and energy.
First, figure out when you do your best work by tracking when you have the most energy and focus. Is it first thing in the morning, after you fuel up at lunch or maybe mid-afternoon before you wrap up for the day? You can use a time tracking app like Toggl to get an idea of how you spend your time and when you are most productive. Then, schedule your most intensive tasks at those times during your day and save the less challenging ones for other times for the best productivity.
2. Leverage online tools that automate processes for you
Some of the tasks that you are still doing manually can be simplified by using online applications. Look into digital tools that speed up your workflow and save you time.
For example, instead of taking phone calls and answering emails to schedule appointments for your clients, use an online appointment manager. The time you save using online applications can be used for more important tasks during your workday. A small investment now can save major time and resources in the future.
3. Start and finish one task at a time.
When you think you’re a multitasking pro, you may be making your productivity worse. Scientists say that we’re just switching quickly back and forth between tasks when we try to multitask. This constant back and forth drains your energy and focus, leaving you less productive than before.
Instead, stay focused on one task and finish that task before moving on to the next. You will get more done by tackling one thing at a time.
4. Improve your energy management, not just your time management
Managing your time well takes energy. Productivity experts recommend paying just as much attention to your energy management as you do to your time management.
Implement an energy management strategy for yourself, including setting work and relationship boundaries, sticking to a regular routine, and finding tools that help monitor and track your health. Just eating healthy and a little daily exercise is a great way to boost your mood, energy and creativity. Your energy level is a vital resource for your productivity, so be careful about how it is being used during your workday.
5. Commit to just 5 minutes on a task
Starting a task is often the most daunting part of the project. This lets procrastination swoop in and keep you from making progress.
Instead, commit to working on the task for just 5 minutes. These few minutes give you enough time to break through the barrier of getting started, and you often discover that what felt so overwhelming before is less than you thought. You may even find that you work for longer than 5 minutes!
6. Set an email budget to tame your inbox
Sending and responding to email can disrupt your workflow and send you down unproductive rabbit holes.
Alexandra Samuel from Harvard Business Review suggests creating an email budget that uses your email time more intentionally. Have a few brief check-ins of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day to respond to time-sensitive messages then schedule one or two extended periods of time to read and respond to emails that require more focus.
For emails that you send on a regular basis, consider choosing an online application that automates messaging for you. This keeps email tasks to a minimum and makes room for more productive tasks.
7. Take short, frequent microbreaks throughout the day
Our minds and bodies need time away from our work to maintain productivity. Plowing on to the next task can often decrease productivity over time.
Build breaks into your workday, even if they are short, frequent microbreaks that switch your focus to something else. Microbreaks include activities such as taking a lap around your office or home, grabbing a snack, or stretching at your desk. When you return to your work, you’ll notice that just taking a short break boosts your focus and helps you knock out your to-do list.
8. Break up large projects into smaller tasks
Every project has an end goal, but the real work is figuring out a productive way to get there. The best way to do this is by breaking down a large project into smaller tasks.
Take your project goal and work backwards, creating a list of all the small steps that need to be accomplished to get there. When you create mini tasks within a larger project, it allows you to not only plan better but to turn accomplishing each task into motivation to keep going.
9. Get it down on paper
While technology can make our work more productive, there is still value to writing your lists, ideas, and goals down on paper. Studies have shown that writing things down helps slow your thinking, filter your thoughts, and express abstract ideas.
Additionally, Damon Brown from Inc. explains how writing by hand leaves out the “potential distractions or aids like PowerPoint, spellcheck, or the World Wide Web” that can keep us from making the most of our time. Instead of pulling up your Notes app or Word document, try to handwrite your next list or brainstorming session. Break out the whiteboard and list out ideas that the group shares. Having these ideas written out on a board might help you see connections or other learnings that make the brainstorming session more beneficial.
10. Celebrate your accomplishments
Let your wins be a reason to celebrate! Staying productive is no easy task, and it’s important to allow yourself time to recognize and enjoy the progress you make.
Do this by taking a break, looking back at all the work you’ve completed, and appreciating the commitment you made to your goals. In turn, make this celebration further motivation for productivity in future projects. You have what it takes to complete the project or task, proving to yourself that you can do it again.
The most efficient ways to go about our work are not always the approach that feels most natural to us. By listening to experts and reevaluating how we go about projects and tasks, we can break habits and routines that feel productive but are holding us back from doing our best work and keeping forward momentum.
Make it a priority in the weeks and months ahead to adjust workflows that may be limiting your success. What can you change to be at your peak productivity?