Productivity and GTD
10 Ways to Be Strategic With Your Time and Efforts
Everybody that you know gets the same 24 hours per day. However, sometimes it may seem like some of your coworkers and friends somehow dig out a few extra hours per day. Although that is not true, it may seem that way if they are much better than organizing their time and efforts than the others. It is a fact that you can’t keep up the same productivity levels all the time, but you sure can do a lot to better organize your tasks.
Different people are motivated by different things, so the strategies for organizing the time and efforts of people might differ too. That is why we will talk about 10 different ways to be responsible about how you’re wasting your time.
1. Analyze what you’re already doing
Before you start with implementing new ways and strategies for increasing productivity, make sure that you look at what you’re doing now. Analyzing how you spend your time, what motivates you, what discourages you, on which tasks you spend most of the time, or similar things can really help you out with your future planning. You can write down the things that you are doing well already, and point out the areas in which you need more work.
2. Focus for the day
Before you go and start logging into your computer, checking and replying to e-mails, or resolving other issues make sure that you take some time to what you want to accomplish for that day. Make this the first work-related activity of the day and make it your habit too. Setting a clear focus for the day and getting ready for your responsibilities can take a few minutes, but it can be the difference between a productive day and wasting time procrastinating.
3. Create a To-do list
You must have heard this advice someway along the line, and it might sound too cliché for you but it works. The key is to know how to do it properly, and of course, to push yourself to stick to it no matter how lazy you might be feeling. To-do lists are very versatile, so you can choose what works for you the best. You can write them by hand, or go digital. Keep them simple, and choose the high-priority tasks that have to be done first. Be as specific, and break the tasks down as much as you can. Add approximate time needed for each task.
4. Be smart about schedules
In theory, we think that we can do the tasks or things that we need to do in a shorter time than it actually takes us. Research suggests that tightly packed schedules are actually detrimental to productivity. However, strategically planning your time in accordance with your tasks is crucial for high productivity. Adding extra time for unforeseen events can be helpful as well. And don’t forget to actually put it on your schedule, the planning of your schedule. That way, when Monday comes you know where to start for the week.
5. Go over your past accomplishments
It’s like looking at pictures of your ab progress when you’re on the verge of giving up going to the gym. Going over your previously successfully finished tasks can give you a feeling of pride and motivate you to continue with the good work in the future. You can remember the times that you were so frustrated and hopeless and still emerged as a winner.
6. Tone down the interruptions
Interruptions are bad for your productivity. Especially if you’re “in the zone” and you have a vision, being interrupted suddenly can make you lose your moment. That is why it’s important to minimize the interruption as much as you can. Pinpoint the activities that are disrupting your effective working, and try to tone them down. Avoid receiving calls for instance, or checking your e-mail when you’re working. Also, things like checking your social media can be very bad for your productivity.
7. Don’t attempt to multi-task
When you’re doing something, focus on it until it’s done. That is how you will be the most effective version of yourself. Science actually suggests that multi-tasking is impossible and that your brain is just going on different tasks very fast which is less effective than focusing on one task entirely.
8. Don’t procrastinate
Now this one is a bit though. We are all there sometimes. However, there are things that you can do to lessen procrastination like appointing deadlines for yourself. Another good strategy is to start the day or the week with the most unpleasant or boring tasks and to get them out of the way. You can even add small rewards at the end of each unpleasant task to keep yourself motivated.
9. Automate recurring tasks
One of the best time and effort management strategies is to automate some tasks that are bland and recurring. That way, you will have more time to focus on the creative, brainstorming ideas and tasks that can actually make a change. In this day and age, a lot of things can be automated like for example invoicing, billing, e-mails, etc. You just need to plan and set this all up.
10. Give yourself a pat on the back
It’s simple. Reward yourself, and your team if you have one for the successful work. Point out the positive experiences connected with it, and learn from the weak sides of your work. Take into consideration all of these things when you’re planning the next project, or the next working week/month, etc. Make sure to celebrate your successes because, in the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about!
There are many other things that you can do that can be individual to you. Try out different methods and see which ones of them work best for you as a person, and which ones are just not that effective. In the end, being successful can mean being very good at coming up with the right strategy to plan your time and efforts.