There are only so many hours in the day, and no amount of wishing for more will change that. We have to make the most of the time we have.
Ever wondered how successful people seem to achieve so much, even though they work with the same number of hours you do? The reason is that they’re probably being productive, rather than busy.
There’s a big difference, and it’s the difference between getting things done, and feeling like you never reach the end of your to-do list.
Being more productive at work doesn’t need to be rocket science. However, it does demand being more deliberate about how you manage your time. We’ve compiled five easy yet effective changes to help you enhance your productivity at work, right now.
1. Set Self-Imposed Deadlines
Stress has such a bad rep. However, healthy, manageable and self-imposed stress can actually spur on focus, and help you smash your goals out of the ballpark.
For open-ended projects or tasks, test out imposing a deadline on yourself, and treat it like an external deadline that you have to meet.
Chances are great that you might just be surprised to discover how focused and productive you can be when you are keeping an eye on the clock, and pushing yourself a little harder.
Start small, and take it further across more projects as you become used to self-imposed deadlines.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Granted, it might sound counterintuitive to take breaks in order to get more things done. However, taking a scheduled break helps boost concentration, research shows.
Constant concentration takes a toll on cognition, which results in mental fatigue. Take a break for a few minutes, and it’ll improve your concentration and focus greatly.
Working on a single task without a break leads to a steady decline in performance. It’s much easier to spot problems and mistakes after a break, since you approach the work with a clear mind again.
3. Adopt The “Two-Minute Rule”
First popularised by entrepreneur Steve Olenski, the theory behind the “two-minute rule” is that you should do tasks that will take less than two minutes immediately.
By doing so, you maximize small pockets of time throughout your day. Olenski believes that by taking this approach, it requires less time to get the tasks done than it will coming back to it some time later.
This rule has helped Olenski evolve into one of the leading business thought leaders and influential content strategists online today.
4. Track And Limit Time
While you might suspect that you’re rather good at calculating the amount of time you spend on various tasks, chances are you could still improve on your time management.
Employ technology, and use popular tools like Asana or Rescue Time, tools that’ll let you know precisely how much time you spend on daily tasks.
You can’t improve on something you aren’t aware of. By getting the stats, and seeing what you spend your time on during the day, you will be empowered to make better time and task management decisions.
5. Start Saying No To Meetings
This can perhaps be one of the most difficult yet rewarding items on the list. Meetings remain one of the biggest productivity and time-sucks around.
Yet, they’re important, and they keep getting booked. We keep attending, and complaining about them.
Ask yourself, is it truly crucial for me to attend this meeting? Can you accomplish the same goals via phone or email? According to Atlassian, the typical office employee dedicates more than 32 hours a month to unproductive meetings. Don’t be one of them.
If you really need to have meetings, evidence points to standing meetings resulting in increased group participation, and a decrease in territoriality, with overall group performance.
Stand up meetings are just what they say they are – meetings where everybody stands during the meeting. Just try it, you might be surprised at how engaged everyone is, and how quickly the meeting goes.
Become More Productive At Work, Today
The great thing about these five tips is that you can start implementing them today. There’s no need to wait until tomorrow. You can start becoming more efficient and productive right now.
While these aren’t necessarily easy tips to adopt, by implementing them slowly and persistently, you’ll be well on your way to getting more things done, in less time.