Often when we think of productivity and how we can get more done, we focus on doing more. It seems obvious right? More action equals more results. Not necessarily. Sometimes this is the case, but a lot of the time we are busy with so many different things that nothing gets done properly. Slowing down and re-evaluating your commitments can help you to really look at what you are doing and take a more focussed and ultimately satisfying approach to what you need to do.
1. Pare Down Your Commitments
Do you have to do everything that you do? Take some time to sit down and evaluate your day to day life. Often we inherit tasks or take on things over time that we may not really enjoy or need to do. They may seem harmless or small but when added to similar tasks they can start to clog up your time. You may enjoy some of these things and if you do I am obviously not suggesting you give them up, however just taking time to be clear about what you do and why you do it can be incredibly powerful. It can give you the opportunity to reassess and be clear about what you really enjoy doing.
2. Say No
Many people find it difficult to say “no”, however it is a really important skill to learn particularly with regards to getting more done. Value your time and remind yourself that you don’t have to say yes to every request. Once you have re-evaluated your commitments, get clear about the things you want to continue doing and those that you want to drop and then let people know if necessary. If you find this difficult, practice with a friend beforehand, it does get easier. If you find yourself feeling on the spot and agreeing to things when people ask you, ask them if you can get back to them so you can consider their request and if it’s going to work. This gives you the time to assess what is being asked of you, see if it works for you and think about how to let the other person know. Once people know where they stand with you it becomes easier.
3. Use a Simple To – Do List
Keeping a To – Do list helps you to be clear about what needs to be done and remain focussed. I have found keeping it simple helps you to focus on the important and lessens your chances of overwhelm. Each day record the most important two or three things that you need to do and then work through them. Acknowledge what you achieve as well. Celebrating your progress will help keep you motivated and inspired to achieve more. Regularly review what you are doing and ensure you are spending your time in the most efficient way possible.
4. Minimize Distractions
There are so many distractions around us these days. To get more done, be smart and strategic about what you need to do. If you need to get work done on your computer, turn off the internet, social media applications and your phone. If you work best when everyone is out of the house, plan you what you need to do for that part of the day. If you work with other people, let them know that you are not available for a period of time. You don’t have to respond to everything that comes your way. Learn to minimise distractions in order to get things done. By being strategic and planning what you need to do to get the most done you will save yourself time and energy.
5. Batch Items Together
Batching similar tasks together has been proven to help productivity. Your mind works well when it focuses on one task at a time, rather than jumping from one thing to another. See if you can arrange to do similar tasks together, and schedule them into your week in that way. For example, if you have lots of emails each week, schedule times in the week to answer them rather than answering every email as it arrives. Batching items will help you to stay focussed and get into a state of flow.
6. Work Smart
Everyone is different. Learn to observe yourself and your habits and adjust your actions accordingly. If you are more alert in the mornings, get more done then. If you can spend hours procrastinating on the internet or doing less important tasks instead of what needs to be done, don’t let yourself do these things until you complete the tasks you have set yourself. Be honest with yourself and assess your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. You may find that it works for you to hire a coach (especially if you have a big project or goal) or have a buddy to be accountable to.