You can increase your work productivity with just a few strategies. These tips will help you to prioritize, focus and get more done.
Every entrepreneur and business executive struggles to get the most out of each working day. The results you achieve are often directly linked to the amount of time you can devote to a particular activity. But with the number of conflicting demands that are made on you, it is often difficult to manage your time as effectively as you would like to.
Here are some strategies that you can use to free up your time and increase your efficiency during work hours.
Make the most out of meetings
Most business people complain that they waste a great deal of time attending meetings. Even worse, too many meetings do not result in any real outcome. When attendees walk out, they get caught up in their routine tasks and forget to take the action that they are supposed to.
If this sounds familiar, you need to implement this two-step procedure to ensure that the meetings that you attend don’t just eat up your time without giving you any concrete results:
- Take notes – who is responsible for the follow-up action that has been decided? What deadline must be met?
- Send reminders to ensure that commitments are adhered to. Don’t ignore this essential step. The person who is responsible likely has several other tasks to complete and this one may be low on their priority list.
Plan your day
Many successful business owners and executives make a to-do list each night for the following day. This sets your priorities and helps you to accomplish your most important tasks.
What is the best time to do the work that requires your complete attention and your creativity? For most people, it is early morning. Try and allocate time for these tasks before you go to office or, if that is difficult, spend the first couple of hours at your desk on these activities.
Track your time
Very few people are really aware of how they spend most of their day. You may think that a major portion of your time goes into productive work, but the reality may be quite different. Phone calls, emails, social media and other distractions eat up a large part of your time and have a significant impact on your productivity.
A simple exercise, carried out honestly, can be very revealing. For a week, track each activity that you do during a working day. You can divide your eight-hour day into 32 slots of 15 minutes each. You can use the result to decide which activities you can eliminate and which you can spend less time on.
Use airplane mode more frequently
It takes just a second to set your phone on airplane mode, but the benefits can be tremendous. It is possible to register a sharp increase in your productivity by taking this simple step. This is especially true for people who check their phones every time they receive a message or notification. Use this technique whenever you want to block out all distractions. The results will surprise you.
Don’t try and finish a complicated task in one sitting
If you have to do some work that requires your complete attention, don’t plan to sit down for several hours at a stretch till you finish. It may be a good idea to break it up into several sub-tasks that can be completed independently. Doing this will make the job much easier. You can also allocate time when there will be fewer distractions or when your concentration levels are at their peak.
Plan when you will stop work for the day
All of us work better under some form of pressure. If you give yourself an unlimited amount of time to complete a task, you will probably spend more time on it than you should. Instead, set a time limit for yourself. Working with a deadline will help your concentration and cut down on the total time that you take.
It is also useful to pre-decide the time at which you will leave the office for the day. Having a finishing time in mind will help you to focus and wrap up your work quickly. It will also force you to allocate time to your essential tasks during the day instead of leaving them for the evening.
Try the Pomodoro Technique or a variation
The Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirilio, requires you to work in 25-minute bursts. Every 25 minutes, take a five minute break. When you complete four such rounds, you take a 15 minute break. The breaks help you to boost your concentration and your productivity.
A 25-minute time slot may be too short for many people. But you can try longer working periods or shorter breaks. Find a schedule that suits you. There is a high probability that it will increase the efficiency with which you work.
Experimenting with various time management techniques will help you to identify a few that have the most impact. Then it’s just a matter of making sure that you follow the methods that give you the best results.