There are not enough hours in one day, days in a week or weeks in a month to get everything done that you need or want to do? Welcome to the club. I guess we all feel this pressure sometimes. However, there are plenty things we can do to get even more efficient in what we are doing and therefore not only get things done faster but also free up some time to enjoy life and do something fun. I would pretty much put both my hands in fire for saying that almost anyone out there is wasting time while working because of simple time wasters that can easily be removed. And that is what I want to help you with today. So, let’s get started. Let me show you how to detect time wasters, remove them and show you 6 productivity hacks you can include in your working day to get even more productive.
I guess we both agree that we have to remove those things (or limit to a minimum) which are uselessly taking up our time. But how?
First, we must find out what they are. What I suggest doing here is to take a week, best a typical work week where you are doing your usual work and get started with analysing. It will not be very effective if you pick a week where you have a lot of meetings and work you usually don’t do as the aim here is to remove useless time wasters out of your “normal” work environment. So, to make the most out of this exercise of course you need to do it within the environment you want to change something. Once you’ve picked a good week, take a notebook or paper and constantly, as you work, note down the things you spend time on. Maybe even write down how much time you spend on those things. I know this might sound controversial here as writing everything down takes up even more time, but trust me, once you’ve written it down it is so much more visual and also you won’t write it down all the time from now on. Only this week. At the end of each day review your notes and honestly ask yourself where you could have saved time. What could you have done in a shorter time frame, what could you have skipped all together and what did you maybe need more time for? At the end of the week you should have a pretty good idea of where your time wasters are. Drop all those things that are super unnecessary and only waste your time. Cut down time for all the things you tend to get hung up on. For me these are definitely research and e-mails. I could spend hours doing those things. A great way to limit your time for those tasks is to set a timer. Then use that time you’ve gained to either get done tasks you usually barely or not getting done or enjoy some free time.
Now that we have removed time wasters, let me tell you a few things you can do while working that will make you even more productive and time efficient.
A very classic, yet the most important point of the productivity hacks today. I can just recommend turning of your phone while working. That way you cut down on one more distraction that tempts you to stop what you are working on.
If you can’t turn your phone off because you might expect urgent messages, turn at least all other notifications off. Only allow you phone to disturb you for phone calls and messages from certain people. Do the same for your computer. Close all applications you don’t need and turn off all notifications. I know, if you are used to getting notified for everything this might be scary at first. But it is life changing, I promise! And if it doesn’t work for you, you can always turn them back on. But if you don’t try you will not know if it might work for you ;).
If possible do all the work of one kind in one block of time. What does that mean? Well, instead of answering emails every time there is one coming in, do them all at once at specific times you’ve set for yourself. Same goes for research for example. Instead of googling everything separately, block an hour or two as frequently as you need to and do all the research at once. The idea here is to stop bread crumping your day with the same tasks repeatedly and instead do them all at once. That makes it possible for you to focus better on that one thing and get it done. By the way, this works particularly good for longer, more time consuming projects. The more time in a row you spend on working on it the further you will get because you don’t have to constantly refocus and get back into it.
I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m really busy working on something or am in the flow I forget everything around me. Focusing on my breath every few minutes and breathing deeply helps me to stay present and not get lost in my thoughts. This way also, I can be more aware if I get stuck somewhere and am only wasting time. If I realize that’s the case, I can then step back and do something else for a while until I’m focused enough to continue that other task.
To make sure that you don’t have to immediately stop a task even if it’s not finished because the next one is scheduled already, I recommend putting in a buffer after each time. That way you have a little more time in case something takes longer than expected. You have time to close everything properly, take a break and gain focus for the next task.
Another productivity hack, especially for those of you who are working from home or in a field where your work differs very much and you never completely know what you’ll be doing next as it is very dependable on outer circumstances, I suggest the following: Create options in your schedule. To make things clearer here, let me make an example. I for example am working mainly from home and spend most of my free time on surfing and working out. Because surfing is very dependable on nature I have to do it whenever conditions are best. Luckily, I have the privilege to do that as I can schedule my work day as I want to. But to make sure that I get in the right amount of work and not waste any time by waiting for the best conditions and then end up doing nothing because I was driving back and forth to the beach all day, I create options. When I do my weekly scheduling I double schedule for the same time. So for example I schedule ”Surfing” from 8am to 10 am and at the same time schedule “taking pictures” from 9am to 10am. That way, if I can’t surf, I know already what else to do and don’t waste any time. Now of course this only works if you leave enough space in your calendar to do all the tasks that you double scheduled (if they still need to get done) some time else. So, don’t double schedule all your tasks. I found 2 or 3 a week is the perfect amount. Also, what you have to make sure of here is to not schedule to different tasks at the same time. Things where you for example have to change your place or need other people for are not so suitable for double scheduling. This really works best for those things you don’t have control over to make sure that even if they don’t happen you still use that time in a good way. Of course, you can also not do it and enjoy that free time with some relaxation. That’s totally up to you. Lastly, what you also want to keep in mind here is which task has priority. In case both are possible, know which one needs to get done more urgent. Then go do that one.
To finish this post about productivity hacks of I want to quickly give you a “go to” tip to reduce that time pressure. It’s called present awareness. The more you manage to stay in the now and the less you worry about what could happen if something doesn’t get done, the less stress you cause for yourself. Know that, never, anything really bad happens once something isn’t done in time. The world will not stop spinning and life will go on. I find knowing this gives a lot of comfort and takes a way so much of that pressure.
Now however, enough said. Let’s get back to work and apply some of those tips. If you found that post helpful, feel free to share it. In addition, I’d love to hear some of your productivity hacks. So, share them with me if you like to.
Also, what about connecting on Instagram so we can both motivate each other to be more productive? Come by and say Hi! I’d love to get to know you.
Lastly, if you need help getting more productive, I happen to be really good at this and would love to help you! So send me a message and let’s talk!
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