Organizing your workday can be a project itself. As workloads get larger and to-lists get longer, it is essential to maximize the time in your day. It’s all about prioritizing, efficiency and focus. Of course, this is easier said than done with all of the distractions that surface throughout the day. Once and a while, take a step back to see if you’re being as efficient as possible. Although we tend to steer away from change, minor adjustments in your day can significantly boost productivity. Here are some tips to get the most out of your workday:
1.Take on your least desirable tasks first
These are the tasks that seem to linger on your to-do list. Avoiding them doesn’t make them go away. Tackle them first, then you will never have to see them again.
2. Turn off notifications
From texts to email notifications – turn them off. It’s easy to get sidetracked by notifications and turn your attention to something else. Don’t get tempted by distractions. This simple rule will keep you focused.
3. Make meetings meaningful
Meetings can dominate your day, so make them count. Put a time limit on them, set an agenda and make sure to start on time!
4. Take breaks
Research shows that taking small breaks throughout the day can actually make you more productive. Don’t feel guilty for taking an afternoon walk or chatting with a co-worker, you’ll regain focus and get more done.
5. Get in the zone
Everyone has moments when they are in ‘the zone’ and firing through their to-do’s. Maybe you need complete silence or background music to get there. Let your co-workers know when you’re on a roll to decrease distractions and get the most out of this time.
6. Use tools for efficiency
If simple tasks become complicated, find out if there is a tool to streamline them. There are numerous tools available to help workflows -Google Docs, Trello, Hootsuite (and Barberstock!). Take a bit of time to research various tools available and see if any can save you time.
7. Create a timetable for your to-do’s
A list is a good start, but allocating time for each task will keep you focused. If you know you only have one hour to complete an assignment, you will be more efficient with your time.
8. Practice the ’Two Minute Rule’
It’s simple – if something takes you less than two minutes, do it now. It will help you move through your day much quicker.
9. Step back from social media
Social media is a huge time suck. Unless it’s part of your job, don’t get caught up mindlessly scrolling through feeds and photos. If you do find yourself on Facebook, make sure to set a time limit.
10. Set realistic expectations
It’s great to be ambitious, but be realistic with what you want to accomplish each day. Understand your workload, resources and capabilities then set your goals. If someone asks for help on a project and you know your list is full, don’t be afraid to decline.
11. Don’t let emails dominate your day
Emails are essential, but don’t let them take over your day and ignore other pressing tasks. Set times to check and respond to emails, then focus on other projects. Don’t let emails interrupt other work.
12. Set your own hours
This may not be possible in all companies; however, the 9-5 model doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are more productive in the morning and others are night owls. If you manage a team, let people set their own hours, you’ll find that people get more done when they have a bit of flexibility and can use time to their advantage.
13. Get to the point
When sending emails or communicating with co-workers, get to the point. Detail is important, but avoid sending a three-paragraph email that can be summed up in three sentences. Not only will this create more time for you, but your co-workers will be thankful as well.
Your email, your desk, your mind. Decluttering minimizes distractions and keeps you more focused and efficient at work and in your everyday life.
15. Keep multitasking to a minimum
Focus on the task at hand. You may be tempted to quickly answer that email that came through or have 7 different tabs with various projects open. Although it’s a common misconception, multitasking actually makes you less productive.