Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to do? Most people have felt this way in the past or feel that way right now. It’s an extremely common feeling, but most people don’t know how to solve the problem.
You can’t stop time to get more done, but there are little things you can do each day to free up some of your time and be more productive. Below are 15 easy ways you can increase productivity and get more done.
It’s important to point out that, each of the tips in this list won’t work for every person. Find the strategies that work for you, and you’ll find more time to get things done each day.
1. Get up earlier.
It really is that simple. Set your alarm clock ten minutes earlier each day for a week. At the end of the week, you’ll be getting up over an hour earlier than you did the week before, but you’ll have time to adjust to the new schedule. You’d be amazed how much more you can get done with an extra hour each morning.
2. Get to work thirty minutes earlier than everyone else.
If you can get into your office or workplace just a half hour earlier than anyone else, you’ll be able to accomplish an hour’s worth of work. The reason is simple — you’ll have no distractions. Getting to work early when fewer people are there is far more effective in terms of boosting your productivity than staying late when the office is still filled with people.
3. Create daily to do lists.
To do lists are critical for boosting productivity. Create a prioritized list with the most important things at the top of the list, and cross out each item as you complete it. Splitting the list into sections for critical tasks and non-critical tasks is important to ensure your list is do-able and not overwhelming.
4. Learn how and when to say no.
Learning to say no is extremely difficult for many people, but it’s essential for increasing productivity. Non-essential tasks should be declined, deferred, or delegated so you can complete critical tasks.
5. Keep meetings short.
Don’t let meetings that you control run longer than thirty minutes. Attendees should come prepared and outcomes should be identified in advance, so the meeting can stay on topic.
6. Turn off your email.
Don’t answer your email as it comes in. Instead, schedule specific times throughout the day to read and respond to email. And, of course, don’t forget to manage your email.
7. Turn off your phones.
Don’t answer your phone when you’re in the middle of a project. You can return important phone calls when you’re done, but allowing interruptions that break your concentration while you’re working reduces your productivity.
8. Take notes in a specific notebook.
Don’t fall into the trap of hanging Post-it notes everywhere or jotting notes on any piece of paper that’s handy. This lack of organization causes you to waste time later when you’re trying to find that piece of paper where you wrote that important note. Instead, keep a notebook handy where you can write all notes throughout the day.
9. Don’t get in your own way.
Are you the type of person who procrastinates by making other work for yourself? Do you avoid an undesirable project by creating and focusing on other tasks that could actually wait? Don’t work against yourself by rationalizing your procrastination in this way. Instead, pick up the project you don’t feel like doing and just get it done!
10. Learn how to outsource and delegate.
If there are things that you can pay someone else to do for less money than it costs in terms of your time to do them, then outsource or delegate those tasks. These could be work-related or personal tasks.
11. Know when you need to take a break.
Have you been staring at your computer screen for an hour but gotten very little work done? It’s time to take a break. Sometimes taking a few minutes away from a project enables you to come back with a fresh mind. What was impossible to accomplish before becomes easy to do after a break.
12. Automate tasks.
Whether you buy a Roomba to vacuum your house or use an accounting software program to automatically manage your banking and finances, there are tools that can help you at work or at home to automate tasks and give you more free time. Use that free time to accomplish tasks that cannot be automated.
13. Schedule blocks of time to work on specific projects.
It can be difficult to get a block of time to work on a project that requires more than a few minutes. Therefore, you should schedule time on your calendar to complete these projects. Block out a period of time so others know you’re not available, and work on nothing else but that project during that time. Schedule other activities around that block of time.
14. Identify what’s draining your time.
Spend a week analyzing your daily schedule. Write down what you do each day and how long each task takes you. At the end of the week, review the information and identify what is draining all of your time. Can you skip any of these tasks? Can you have someone else do them? Can you revise the way you do these tasks to save time? Often, simply identifying the problem areas can help you recoup valuable time.
15. Limit the time you spend on the internet or watching television.
How much time do you spend surfing the web and watching television each week? Track the time you spend doing each for a week (be honest), and you’ll probably be surprised by how much time you waste online or in front of the television. Commit to reducing the amount of time you spend watching television by one hour and reducing the amount of time you spend online by one hour per week each. Instead, spend those two hours working on the tasks you never have enough time to complete (read 10 Productive Things To Do Instead of Watching TV).