Sometimes, it seems like there are more and more things demanding our attention and filling our calendars.
As you try to fit everything in AND accomplish the things that are most important to you, use these tips to turn yourself into a productivity machine.
1. Turn off alerts and avoid email for two hours a day, everyday. Simply avoiding distractions for a finite period of time will make your productivity skyrocket.
2. Start saying “No.” Repeat after me, “No, I can’t fit it in today/this week. Or perhaps: “Yes, I can do it tomorrow/next week.” Practice saying it. Find ways to say “no” that make clear you want to help. Offer collaborative solutions that don’t increase your workload, so you can stay focused on your goals and must-do items.
3. Set “meeting-free” days. That’s right...set aside one day a week that is off-limits to meetings. If you can’t, try biweekly or monthly meeting-free days. Also, consider limiting meetings to 30-minutes instead of an hour and ALWAYS prepare an agenda for a meeting to keep you on track and on time.
4. Banish to-do lists. Instead, schedule the most important tasks that would ordinarily go on a list in your calendar, ensuring you give yourself time to complete them.
5. Declutter your desk. You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. A clear desk reduces stress and distraction. It gives you more room to work--and to eat lunch.
6. Only handle it once. Wait! Don’t say you’ll get back to it later (whatever “it” is). Do it now and save yourself from searching through a stack of papers or your email inbox to find and resolve backlogged items.
7. Do the worst items first. What is the most onerous task on your plate today? Do it first and avoid the pain of procrastination. You’ll be more productive without that nagging voice in your head, reminding you of unfinished business.
8. Delegate. Knowing the difference between what you must do yourself and what you can let someone else handle is a skill. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help when you need it. But, if you don’t have a colleague with whom you can share your workload, refer back to Productivity Hack #2: Start saying “No.” Or say “Yes” less often.
What are your favorite productivity hacks? Leave us a note to let us know!