Whether you work for yourself, or for a large company, productivity is in all of our best interests. There are some basic things that we can do to maximize the time we spend, so that we can get more done, improve results, and ultimately spend less time at work. Here are some tips coming from experience working in the realm of productivity.
1. Don't mistake being busy, for being productive
This is the biggest mistake professionals can make at work. Often people will create the illusion of productivity - by doing many things at once to trick the mind into thinking it's doing a lot. In these instances, take a step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:
"Am I being productive, or am I just being busy?"
Multitasking will only detract your attention, and ultimately lead to a less qualitative result. Take one task, and put a focus on getting it done. You'll end up accomplishing more, faster, which not only will boost your own feeling of awesomeness, but will actually get more tasks ticked-off within the day.
- Tip: Make sure these tasks are productive ones, like "pitch our story to a big blog" rather than "re-organize my folders". While your surrounding atmosphere certainly is important, ask yourself why you're doing it - to be busy, or to be productive?
Another time waster to watch for is meetings. Beware of these mystical time traps. Often your participation in a meeting will make you feel like you're being productive, but very rarely are meetings a productive way to spend time.
- Tip: When possible, make sure to participate in those meetings where you're absolutely necessary. When the topic has changed to something that doesn't pertain to you, don't hesitate to leave and work on your own things. Though you may feel like you're contributing to the process, ultimately you won't be working on your tasks, making it a personally unproductive process.
2. Know your tools and use them well
There are so many tools out there, but the key is to know your tools, and to use them to the utmost efficiency. For example, the to-do listcan either be a blessing or a hindrance. If you know how to use it, then it can be very beneficial. On the flip side, you can end up swamped with sticky-notes, getting lost in a jungle of never-ending to-dos.
- Tip: Most productivity experts suggest limiting your to-do list to 5-10 items. That way you won't get overwhelmed. I like using a to-do list app, where I can schedule my to-dos, so that when I wake up in the morning, a fresh list is waiting for me. I personally use the app, Things.
Knowledge is power, and it's always great to know where your time goes which is why time-tracking software can be helpful.
- Tip: Get to know your habits and then steer yourself in the right direction. For example, you might realize that you spend 1.5 hours a day on Facebook without even realizing it. With that knowledge, you can make more productive choices. Though there are many options out there, a free and simple time-tracker to use is Desk time.
3. Take advantage of "dead" time
The average person spends 45-62 minutes a day waiting. An entire hour of the mere 24 you get in a day. Why not make use of the time? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Tip: During the day, favorite some articles online that you're interested in reading. Next time you're on the train, pull out your smartphone and catch up on those articles. You can do this while commuting with any of your preferred reading.
The combination of knowing your tools, adjusting daily habits, and maximizing time are the small things that will add up to get more done in your day. You'll notice your productivity steadily improving as you get more done, and pay better attention to how you spend your productive time.
Photo credit: officemanagementinfo.net
Bio: Julia Gifford is a tech-savvy Internet enthusiast that writes about productivity, personal effectiveness and happiness. For more time saving tricks check out http://blog.desktime.com.