No one ever got anywhere by doing the bare minimum. Your growth depends on you getting as much done in as little time as possible. The five tips below will help you accomplish as much as possible each and every workday. By achieving more and procrastinating less, you'll decrease your stress levels and become a more productive person overall!
At the end of each workday, figure out what you need to get done the next day. Most people are more productive and better able to focus in the morning. Having everything laid out so you can get started right away the next morning ensures that you take advantage of your most productive hours. Go through all your tasks to figure out what you need to get started. If there are questions that need answering before you can begin, you can send emails and get answers now so you're not playing the waiting game come tomorrow.
Decide what tasks are most important and what tasks can wait until tomorrow. You should dedicate no more than three most important tasks to each day. If you fill your plate on Monday with all your tasks for the entire week, you'll likely hop from project to project without actually completing a single one.
Managing your time effectively is a critical part of being productive. We're all human and it's our nature from time to time to let important tasks slip our minds. What sets productive people apart from the rest of humanity is that they know their downfalls and prepare ahead of time. If you continuously find yourself remembering that you forgot to follow up with a client or reply to an important message at the very last minute, it's time to rely on something other than your mind to remind you. You can use sticky notes, daily planners, Excel to-do lists or even utilize a CRM or project management software to keep track of your daily responsibilities. Whatever works best for you, you owe it to yourself to schedule your tasks and set timely reminders, that way you can stay in the loop at all times and minimize as much stress as possible.
One of the biggest barriers to completing a big project is constant interruption. Receiving an email or instant message every five minutes is disruptive enough as it is, but we're often urged to acknowledge these menial tasks, therefore abandoning the project we were trying so hard to focus on. It's tempting to quickly review an edit to a project or respond to an email because those are easy tasks and we feel like we're finally accomplishing something – a feeling absent from the big project we've been working on all afternoon. Try disconnecting for an hour or two. Unless an email is urgent, it can wait until your project is done. By getting the most pressing and important tasks done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping your stress levels down. The sense of satisfaction for completing a large task is much greater than it is for a small task and it will set the tone for the rest of your day.
We all get stumped from time to time. If you've been focusing for hours on a project and you're drawing a blank, it's probably time to walk away. Not permanently, of course. Taking a break isn't the same as giving up, in fact, it makes you more productive and creative. So, when you're back in front of your computer, you'll be drawing great ideas instead of blanks.
Remember, no one's perfect and we all have moments where we feel like we're not doing our best. But if you practice these five tips, your work will be more efficient and productive.