Is your day more packed than it needs to be? Try these Techsperts-approved productivity tips to start getting more done.
Try as we might to alter the laws of nature, we all only have 24 hours a day. And when you factor in things like eating, sleeping, and running errands, even the most productive among us only have 8 or 10 hours to get it all done.
But it is possible to become more productive. Sometimes, the bad habits we've picked up along the way are holding our time hostage. And sometimes, it turns out that things we thought were productive turn out to be exactly the opposite (hard stare in the direction of multitasking). How can we tell the good from the bad?
With a list, of course!
The following six productivity hacks have no age limit. They don’t require fancy software — although technology can help you be productive — or an advanced degree in time management; but chances are you can implement at least one of them!
1. Chunk rather than list. I have nothing against to-do lists. They work for some people. But most of us tend to underestimate either how long a task will take or how much we will get distracted while doing it. So instead of a to-do list, practice time chunking: assign each task a set amount of time and work on it until the time is up. This even works with potential distractions: you can build them into your schedule. For example, if you like to hang out on Facebook for 20 minutes before you get started with work for the day, build a 20-minute chunk of Facebook time into your schedule.
2. Minimize distractions. We know that we’re “supposed” to take phone calls as they come, answer emails within seconds, and generally be available to everyone all the time. Unless you’re a customer service rep and answering calls and emails is your job, this is simply not true. Set aside a few minutes — at the beginning, middle, and end of day, for instance — to catch up on emails and calls, and only handle them then. The rest of the time you can concentrate on what you're doing.
3. Delegate or wait. Here’s another news flash: It can be more productive to hire someone else to do stuff. This can be specialist work, like IT management (if your IT needs help, contact us!), or it can be simple day-to-day business. If it doesn’t need your personal experience, hand it off to someone else to complete. If you don’t have the manpower, then do the important things first and fit the details in as you can.
4. Go for good, not perfect. In this world, perfect doesn’t happen. Honestly, few people will notice if your email has a turn of phrase worthy of Shakespeare or a design that makes it a shoo-in for MoMA. Set your message, give it a couple proofreads, get it out there, and move on with your life.
5. Take care of yourself. Give yourself time to eat right, rest, and exercise. Your days will be a lot more difficult if your health slides even just a little bit. To perform at your best, give your body what it needs to function at its best.
6. Be done when the day's done. And finally, don’t be afraid to unplug and recharge. Go ahead: Take your weekends off work. Shut it down after 5 p.m. Give your brain a chance to recharge, and you’ll be able to tackle more tomorrow.