We all want to make the very best of our time. Be it in the office or in our personal life, there are always opportunities to increase how productive we really are. Today there’s a plethora of useful productivity tools available online – and combining these with clever productivity strategies really can help boost the amount you get done in an average day.
Ditch the social media addiction
Go on; make a guess as to how much time you really spend on social media. What with checking Facebook, tweeting, looking at your buddy’s photos on Instagram, scrolling through LinkedIn and the like, the average person spends an incredible 118 minutes PER DAY staring at their screen – according to the latest data from Statista.
Disconnecting from social media is one of the biggest things you can do to increase your productivity levels. Or if you can’t go cold turkey, then start by limiting yourself to only browsing at certain times of the day. One of the first steps is to uninstall the app/s on your cell phone – that way you won’t have those little red alerts telling you how many ‘super important’ notifications you have waiting for you…
Write to-do lists
Having a list of tasks written down is a great way of prioritizing your needs. You can either do this the old fashioned way – with a pen and paper – or utilize one of the great apps available. Try Remember The Milk (free on iOS and Android), or for those who want something with slightly more functions, Clear on iOS or Clear List on Android are good options.
Having a list that you can read gives you a way of streaming your tasks in order of importance. More things will undoubtedly come your way, but unless they’re both urgent and important, you can put these further down the list to be worked on later. In addition, having such a list means that there’s no danger of a task being forgotten simply because it slips from your mind.
Plan your day
This is best done the night before, with a quick re-run over the plan in the morning. That way you wake up and what you need to get done is already set out in front of you. You can either do this in your mind or write it down. We’re big fans of the ‘write it down’ school of thought, but it’s important to do what works best for you.
Another important tip is to get the big stuff out of the way first. Schedule your biggest and most complex tasks for the beginning of the day. That way you get to the end of the morning on a high and feeling that your day has already been super productive.
This is a biggie – and not only for your levels of productivity. It’s also essential for your health. Spending all day sitting at a desk is bad for both your physical and mental health, and not taking regular breaks is actually detrimental to your work output.
Whether it’s getting up to make a coffee, have a walk around, spend 5 minutes chatting to someone, or – even more advantageous – taking an hour for lunch and getting outside for a walk, this will help clear your mind and allow you to focus on the tasks in hand when you get back.
Work unsocial hours
Well – not truly unsocial. But leaving earlier than the average commuter or staying later means that you don’t get caught up in the daily rush hour. This saves you precious minutes that can then be used to get things accomplished.
If you’re doing something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power (washing up, ironing, walking the dog…), then combine this with something else. Perhaps you’re learning a language, listening to a podcast, practicing a presentation, or something similar. You can easily combine this with the more menial task. And another plus point is that it takes your mind off of doing something (such as ironing) that you probably don’t enjoy much anyway.
Seek help / learn to delegate
It can be all too easy to believe that you’re the only person who can get tasks done. But truly productive people know when to delegate and when to ask for help. The main reason people fail to do either of these is because they don’t trust that others can do what’s needed. Get over this by being very clear when you delegate a task. If there’s a deadline, make sure they know this. If there are specific instructions, be clear in passing these across.
Stop watching so much TV
Yes, we know – the TV is great. But if you’re not careful, the amount of time you spend staring at the screen can massively reduce your productivity. Try to only watch shows that you really want to watch – rather than randomly watching anything that’s on. And while binge watching box sets is a fun thing to do, try to limit such activities to once in a blue moon.
Stop stressing over passwords
In today’s world we spend a huge amount of time using websites that require us to have passwords. And to stay truly secure online these passwords need to be strong and unique. But remembering them? No chance. So the only way to do this is to write them down, and then spend time looking them up each time we want to logon.
This might only take a minute or so, but over the year, this adds up to a decent amount of time. The answer to this is a great app called 1Password (iOS and Android). Not only does it suggest and store uber-strong passwords, all you need do is remember one master password. It then creates a ‘digital vault’ that keeps everything safe and secure.