Becoming More Productive

Becoming More ProductiveBy Courtney Gordner

When most of us are given a to-do list, whether it is work tasks on a Monday or errands on a Saturday, we try to attempt getting everything done all at once. We load up on caffeine and might actually hit the ground running when we trip over all the reasons we get in our own way. Many people have many different practices to stay as productive as possible. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, some of those things limit productivity instead of encouraging it. To make sure you aren’t making drastic mistakes in your attempts to be productive, use some of these tips to get the most out of your day.

1. Declutter

This is a two-in one suggestion. Declutter your work space and your to-do list. If you have piles of papers on your desk, you will not be able to find the first thing on your to-do list, never mind being able to focus on it. If you’re working on one thing and occasionally glance over towards the next thing on your to-do list, you will take twice as long to finish your fist task because you are not giving it 100% of your attention. By being able to tackle one task at a time, you can actually move through the to-do list much quicker.

Does everything on your to-do list have to be there? I know in the past I have added lots of minute things to my to-do list to make it look like I have accomplished more. By crossing off 15 of the 20 items on your to-do list, you feel pretty good about yourself, but if those last 5 things are the only things that really needed to get done, you really haven’t accomplished anything. Make sure everything on your to-do list belongs there, otherwise you will waste valuable time on unnecessary tasks.

2. Time Management

The more time you have to get a project done, the longer it will take you to finish it. From what I have observed over the years, it seems like procrastination is human nature. It is engrained in everyone’s mind that they need to wait until the last minute before completing a job or project. The best way to avoid prolonging procrastination is to set up your own deadlines. If you have 10 things to do today, divide your 8-hour day accordingly. If one job should take an hour, only give yourself an hour to do it. If you start the task at 9 and aren’t finished by 10, it’s too bad. Make yourself put it down and move on to the next item scheduled to begin at 10. By forcing yourself to stick to a specific time frame, you will find yourself working harder and smarter to get everything finished in a timely fashion.

3. Prepare Yourself for the Day

If you’re like me, the first thing you do every morning is check your phone and email to see if you missed anything important. Stop doing this. To be your most productive, you have to be properly prepared both mentally and physically for the day ahead of you. Instead of diving into technology first thing, eat a healthy breakfast, go for a light jog and read the newspaper. You will get your blood pumping and your brain juices flowing while providing your body with the fuel it needs to be active all day. If you start working before your body is ready, you will drain all your energy and motivation before you are ready to start number 1 on your to-do list.

4. Maximize Your Brain Power

After you have read the newspaper and eaten your breakfast to get yourself mentally and physically prepared, it is important to take advantage of what you started. Just about everyone hits that 2:30 slump after lunch. Your eyes get tired and your motivation is out the window. Since you know you are more likely to do less work in the afternoon, push yourself to get all the bigger projects done before lunch while your brain is still fresh. Save the mindless busy work and mundane meetings for the afternoon so your daydreaming won’t be quite as disruptive.

5. Cut Out Time Wasters

This is where we discuss things most people consider productive that are actually time wasters. All of us have lazy spells, but sometime we don’t even recognize when we are being lazy instead of productive. Take a strategy meeting for example. Let’s say your company distributes kitchen accessories and you have a meeting to determine who is going to place the order, who is going to process the order, who is going to package the pieces, who is going to ship the pieces and so on and so forth. Instead of taking 2 minutes to write an email passing out assignments, you waste 10 minutes waiting for everyone to show up at the meeting, 5 minutes gossiping, 30 minutes on an actual discussion related to work and another 5 to 10 minutes meandering back to your desk before you start your actual job. Sometimes meetings need to happen, but not as often as they do. Figure out where you are wasting a lot of your precious time and cut that out of your daily schedule.

Courtney Gordner is a passionate blogger who loves sharing advice she learned from experience while working for a home products company.

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