Productivity and time management skills are huge when it comes to getting things done. I use to struggle with this a lot but I found out that there was a solution! Below I will share my 7 easy steps to being more productive and having better time management skills on a daily basis. There is even a bonus at the end so read carefully!
Avoid your phone and email when you wake up or arrive at the office.
Really avoid the phone anywhere you go where you need to get things done in a timely manner. I am guilty of taking out my phone for a quick look at the news feed on social media and 15 minutes later my life has been sucked into Instagram oblivion. I’m convinced that time goes by 10x faster when looking at social media and can waste precious time before you even realize it. What I do when I get to work is I put my phone where I can’t see it or turn it over on my desk. I refer to my to-do list from the day before, more on that later, and I do tasks that don’t require me to open my email or my phone first. I realize sometimes you can’t avoid the email first thing. Get there 15 mins early to at least check in with your list and your day.
Take a 10-minute break and get up and walk/stretch every 45 mins to an hour.
This really helps from sitting there wasting time on just staring at my computer screen or getting into minor details that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s also very good for you to get up and move especially if you are at a desk all day. Use the clock on your computer (not your phone) to track your time. If you don’t do this perfectly, it’s okay! Baby steps. Sometimes I am great at this, mostly on sunny days, and sometimes I sit there in a computer fog for hours, usually in the winter.
Don’t sweat the small details
Especially if you have a deadline to meet or if you have to get through multiple tasks. When I don’t get up and move around every hour, I find myself in the weeds. What I mean by that is I am obsessing about minor details and almost forget what the big picture priority even was! Getting up and taking a break when you find yourself doing this is a great idea. Usually when this starts happening, it’s time for a break. Be mindful of this aspect of your day and it will help tremendously. You will be a task master!
Use a calendar
Use a calendar, such as Google calendar or Microsoft Outlook, to set reminders and track time spent. I live by calendar invites. I typically use the Outlook calendar at work to keep up with conference calls, deadlines, meetings, etc. I usually set a timer for a day early if the task is due the next day. I will even sometimes put monthly reminders on my calendar at the beginning of the month to help me prioritize. If that little box with the invite didn’t pop up, I would be lost most of the time. Calendar invites save me and they will save you too.
Put a clock in front of you
Have a clock at your workstation that isn’t on your phone. As previously mentioned, looking at your phone is not a good idea when you are trying to be productive. Using a clock to track your time that is not on your phone and is easy to see is a great idea! This way you can keep up with how long you work and then when you need to break. Keep a tally at your workstation and add times if you need to (though that is a detail you don’t really need to worry about). Also, drink water every time you look at the clock.
Make notes when you’re stuck
Skip it if your stuck and make a note to refer to later. This will help when you have a deadline to meet with many action steps. I am guilty of procrastinating if I don’t understand something completely or I think I will easily mess it up. Making a note of the items that I get stuck on or need more information on to refer back to later on allows me to carry on and complete the rest of the work before going back to anything that may take more time.
Make a to-do list before you leave
Having a shiny to-do list waiting at your desk is refreshing. You can easily refer to your priorities before you check your email and map your day. This is especially helpful before leaving for the weekend. I am always relieved when I walk in on Monday morning and I have my notebook with a reasonable list ready for me to refer to. It helps me remember where I left off the day before and get on task. It reminds me what I need to get done.
Wrapping it up
I hope you enjoyed my 7 hacks to being more productive! They have truly changed my work days for the good and they will yours too. I know everyone has their own little secrets but before you go, I included one last bonus hack for you to take with you. Please share and comment on how you stay on task!
If you have a job where you have to answer to people in a prompt manner, but you also have a million things to do, limit your email time! Close the dang email or hide it and turn off the alert sound. So many times I will see an email pop up and think I have to respond immediately, you don’t. Reply within an hour or so, that’s reasonable. If it’s not, then re-evaluate your whole life. (Just Kidding)