You woke up this morning knowing that you had multiple things to do. What’s worse is that last night you couldn’t fall asleep from thinking about all the tasks you couldn’t get to on that day. This horrible cycle will eventually take a toll on you, leading to nothing being accomplished. In order for you to get off this wheel of destruction, you have to develop some much-needed habits to be more productive with the time you have.
Take Care of Yourself
There is so much to be done that we forget to do the most important thing: take care of ourselves. If you are not preforming at your best then the work that you do will be half done, if at all. Allowing yourself the appropriate time to rest and relax along with proper diet and exercise will go a long way in getting things done—not just at work, but in life.
Prepare a To-Do List the Night Before
Trying to keep all the things that need to be done in your head is counterproductive. There will always be something that comes up that seems to need your attention right now, and then you forget what you planned to do. Writing out a to-do list does a few things to help with your productivity.
- First, you can have a visual of all the things you hope to accomplish the next day.
- Second, you can sleep easier at night because your list is on paper and not in your head.
- Third, it can be updated throughout the day, giving you an opportunity to prioritize your tasks.
Pare Down Your To-Do List
The next morning when you wake up, you now have a working plan of what you need to do. But before you get started on that 20-item list, make sure you look at what you can truly get done. This is the time where you can move things to different days. Your list is supposed to be encouraging you to get things done, but if you keep leaving tasks on your list then the opposite will happen.
Work When You Are at Your Best
Most productivity experts will tell you to get the most demanding things done first thing in the morning. Before you take that advice, evaluate when you are most productive. Whether you are a morning person, afternoon person, or a night person, it doesn’t matter as long as you can get the best out of your time.
Schedule Phone Calls
In everyday life things happen. Friends want to catch up, family obligations require taking time out of your day, and you have a full workload. One of the things that I found that are time snatchers are phone calls. Whether they are for business or socializing, phone calls can be time-consuming. If you know that you need to make a call, schedule it on your to-do list. If it is business-related then schedule it when it will be conducive for both parties. If it is a social call, try making it in the evening when you are having a relaxed moment.
This seems like a good idea, but only in theory. If you focus on one task at a time, you can complete that task then move on to another, giving each item your complete attention. That way, you are not trying to focus on multiple things and only getting part of the way completed before the day is done.
Now that you are a productive powerhouse and marking items off your list, you have one more thing to learn to do. Take breaks. If you have several tasks that are similar, take a break between each one so that it doesn’t all become a blur. Try scheduling a break every so many hours if you have a long project to do. Taking just 15 minutes away from your work will allow you time to clear your mind and look at things from a different perspective.