I bet I’m not the only one who sometimes looks at my to-do list and lets out a soft (well, not so soft) groan. Having so much to do can be overwhelming and oftentimes we find ourselves feeling like we ought to have achieved more things at the end of the day.
Sometimes, we even realise that we have spent more time focusing on the less important things and left out the more important ones, so we have been busy all day but not necessarily productive. Let’s look at 10 ways we can be more productive in the midst of the chaos that could ensue in the workplace.
1. Put some thought into creating your schedule
When creating your to-do list, be intentional about it. Take some time to think of the things that are of utmost priority. This includes noting tasks that you need to do ASAP, tasks that would bring in more revenue, etc. That way, your to-do list is not just a list of random things to do but a list of action plans. This saves your time and ensures you have a well-balanced day.
2. Track everything
Using project management apps such as Asana, Trello, and so on can help you keep track of your projects among your teams, making things more manageable and simpler. This also helps communicating with your team easier and avoids the clutter that comes with sending many emails.
3. Use the right tools
Like we stated in the above point, using the right tools help you save a lot of time and energy and that in turn helps you do more. Find the best tools that work for every aspect of your business and use them. You might need to invest a little more time at the beginning as you would have to try a variety of tools before you find that one that works best for you but in the end, you would be sure to reap the rewards.
4. Implement the two-minute rule
During the course of the day, things are bound to pop up that would require your attention. The two-minute rule requires you to take a look at the task and decide if you can do it in two minutes or less, if you can, then just do it immediately but if you can’t, then add it to your to-do list.
5. Plan ahead
While focusing on the present would help you achieve more, it’s also a good idea to write your to-do list for the next day. Doing this would help you clear your mind off tasks you don’t have to worry about today and give your future self a prioritised list to work with.
6. Avoid distracting content
Using the internet can be distracting, there is always something to take your eyes off the prize. So, if you absolutely have to use the internet to do your work, it’s a great idea to make use of site blockers to enable you to work without constant distractions.
7. Use templates for routine tasks
If you send a lot of emails, often make spreadsheets or give presentations, then using templates is your best bet at saving a lot of time and being productive. Finding the right template is easy, just go online and search for “template” and “whatever project you are trying to do”, then pick the one you are comfortable working with.
8. Turn on airplane mode
Checking your email, replying to a text or receiving a call at the wrong time can easily get you distracted and it takes an average of 20 minutes to regain focus on the tasks at hand. That’s a lot of time that you could have used productively. If you are planning to concentrate and do some serious work then turn off your phone completely or put it on “do not disturb” mode, shut your door, and turn off all notifications. Also, endeavor to declutter your desk or desktop every day as that can also help curb distractions; keep just the files and notes you need to attend to the day’s work.
9. Have some ME time
Never underestimate the power of rest. Always find time during the day to just power down, it doesn’t have to be for a long time, it could be the hour you spend having lunch, you could find a quiet place to take a catnap, or just sit quietly for a couple of minutes and allow your mind rest. Oh, escaping to the bathroom and checking out Instagram while there doesn’t really count. I mean taking your eyes and mind off every screen and just breathing.
10. Take care of YOU
Taking care of yourself is much more important than meeting that goal. If you don’t take care to avoid intense stress, you could end up in a critical situation. Carve out time from your busy schedule to make that doctor’s appointment. Also, take out time to rest, and do it properly. Rest can be emotional, intellectual or physical.
Bonus tip: Learn to say NO, if you feel a task is going to be unproductive or you really don’t have to attend a meeting, then don’t be afraid to avoid accepting it in the first place. That way, you don’t have unnecessary tasks added to your workload.