If you’re like most people, you’ve probably felt frustrated by how much time you spend on routine tasks like checking email and scheduling meetings. But here’s the good news: you can get much more done in a day if you focus on the right things.
STEP 1: Set Your Priorities
Start by setting realistic priorities for yourself. Do you really need to check your email every 20 minutes? Will a quick Google search really change your life?
STEP 2: Prioritize Your Time
Prioritizing your time is a bit like prioritizing your food. You won’t eat much junk food if you first fill your plate with healthy fruits and vegetables.
To prioritize your time, start with your top priorities. For example, I know that I need to get my blog posts written. If I only had a few hours left, what would I do? Write another blog post? Check my email?
STEP 3: Cut Unnecessary Tasks
If you find that you’re spending too much time on one task, cut it out. It’s not worth it to spend an hour every week reading email. Delete it and make sure it never comes back into your inbox.
STEP 4: Schedule Daily Activities
Create a schedule for the rest of your day. If you know that you’ll be busy all day long, you’ll be more productive.
STEP 5: Break Down Long Tasks
Many of us have long tasks that we dread, but they don’t take nearly as long as we think.
Start by breaking down your task into smaller steps. You can break up a large task into two smaller tasks and two smaller tasks and so on.
STEP 6: Use Technology to Your Advantage
The internet is full of productivity tools, and you can use them to your advantage. You can use web apps to block out time for certain tasks. You can use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time more effectively.
The best part is that these tools can be used for other things too. For example, you can use your website to manage your time.
STEP 7: Use the S.M.A.R.T. Method
If you’re trying to get more things done in a day, there’s a way to make sure you accomplish what you want to accomplish. It’s called the S.M.A.R.T. method, and it stands for:
The idea behind this is that you should define exactly what you want to accomplish, then you can measure how well you are doing.
STEP 8: Stop Doing Things That Aren’t Necessary
Do you find yourself checking email after every meeting? Are you constantly refreshing your Facebook page? If you can stop doing these things, you’ll be more productive.
STEP 9: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes, you just need to try something new. Take a risk and start working from a different location. Maybe you can work from home for a while. Or maybe you can try working for just an hour instead of the standard eight hours.
Try doing this once a week and see how it goes. You might find that you’re actually more productive when you’re working from home or when you work for just an hour.
STEP 10: Set Boundaries
Boundaries are essential to being productive. They keep you focused on the right things.
Set your boundaries in a few different ways. First, set time limits for yourself. Don’t stay up late reading emails or browsing Facebook. Second, set clear goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish today?
Finally, set deadlines for yourself.
STEP 11: Track Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress is important. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t expect to see results if you don’t measure your progress.
Track your progress by writing down your activities and measuring them. Maybe you could write down how many emails you sent and how many you answered. Maybe you could record how many minutes you spent on each task.
STEP 12: Reward Yourself
If you make a big accomplishment, reward yourself. For example, if you meet your goal, give yourself a gift card to a local store.
STEP 13: Celebrate
You can also celebrate small accomplishments. If you’ve completed a task, mark it off on your calendar and celebrate.
STEP 14: Plan for the Future
You can also plan for the future. How do you want to spend your time in a year?
Think about the things you want to accomplish in a year, and then make plans to accomplish them.
STEP 15: Learn to Say No
You should say no to some people. You shouldn’t have to say no to anyone, but you can’t help everyone.
You can learn to say no by thinking through the situation. If you’re going to say no, what are the downsides of saying yes?
STEP 16: Have Fun
Having fun is a great way to boost your energy. Go out and have a good time.