Answer? Planning, goal setting and being organised.
Those successful people don’t just fall out of bed and hope for the best. They know and put into practice these few simple secrets that will allow you to get the most out of your working day, leaving you less stressed and with way more time to enjoy your day.
This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first.
Once you’re done you can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve already won the battle!
Before you turn in for the night or leave your desk in the evening it’s a good idea to write a list of tasks for the following day.
But keep it simple! There’s nothing more stressful than a mile-long to-do list - and realistically, it’s impossible to get that much stuff done in just one day. So write your list than half it! There shouldn’t be more than 10 items remaining; the rest can go on a weekly projects list or a larger master list to be tackled another time.
Get real about how productive you are. While you might be able to convince yourself that you’ve been working really hard all day, tracking your time might reveal that you’ve actually wasted a lot of that ‘work’ time doing other less relevant things.
Try one of the many tracker apps on the market to monitor how you spend your day and help keep you accountable. If you have to write down that you spent 10 minute working on a project then spent the next 35 minutes checking your Instagram feed, you might be less inclined to lose focus and precious hours in the future.
Instead of just sitting down to work on a project and thinking, “I’m going to be here until this is done,” try thinking, “I’m going to work on this for three hours”.
The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add a bit more later.
As it turns out, trying to multitask isn’t as productive as focusing purely on a single project or task. In fact, let’s put it out there - the notion of multitasking as a positive working method is a total myth!
Imagine trying to do two very different tasks while putting 100% effort in for both. You’re going to fail. When we try to do too many things at once we lose momentum, it’s much more difficult to focus, we increase our stress levels and of course we rarely get the jobs done well.
Let’s face it, the one task we’re all brilliant at is procrastinating. Somehow we never seem to be distracted from that! BUT when you’ve got an important job to get on with it might be time to ‘lock yourself in’. Shut off all distractions. Leave your phone/tablet/games console and snacks to one side. No distractions, no excuses. It’s time to focus, realise your mission and get on with it. Lock yourself in metaphorically or, if it helps, actually shut yourself away - sometimes you need to get real about your productivity.
This could be the most important tip of all. Giving yourself a break is an essential part of increasing your workload and productivity. If your mind and body are wiped out because you’re been at a task for hours on end, you’ll have nothing left to give to getting your to-do list completed.
So when you’ve followed all of the tips above, make sure you factor a couple of well-earned rests into your day’s schedule. Go for a walk, do some exercise, meet a friend for a chat/lunch or water the garden - whatever floats your boat! Then come back with a refreshed mind and attitude ready to tackle the next task on your list!
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