Now that people are working from home, they’re finding it all the more difficult to manage their time. Because the boundaries between work time and family time or personal time are shrinking.
If you’ve been facing the same problem, it’s even more important for you to be more productive so that you can enjoy some personal space.
Here are 10 tips that will help you become more productive.
- The Pomodoro Technique
Break down your task into 25 minute focused blocks of it. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique where you break down all of your tasks into 25 minute focused blocks of time.
Between each time block, there is a five-minute break. And after completing four Pomodoro you take a longer break—usually 15 to 30 minutes.
- Write down Your Three Most Important Tasks (MITs)
You don’t want any ambiguity in your workdays, it’s a productivity killer.
Each morning you should take the time to prioritize the top three tasks for the day. Be clear with what you write and use more than a three-word description.
For instance, “research hotels” is bad. Instead, use “review and compare prices of hotels x, y, & z.” This will prevent you from drifting to semi-related tasks that don’t actually accomplish anything.
- Set Specific Times to Check Email
It’s easy to waste time shuffling through dozens of emails.
All it takes is one email notification and, before you know it, you’ve wasted 20-30 minutes organizing and responding to multiple emails.
What you should do is choose two times a day to do emails.
- Learn to Say “NO”
For some people saying no is hard, but if you really want to elevate your productivity levels then you can’t let people order you around all the time.
For most people, a firm “no, I’m busy right now. I’ll let you know if I’m available later” should suffice.
- Use Website Blockers for Distracting Content
There’s a lot of distracting websites out there that – while entertaining – ruin productivity for each of us.
Start using site blockers so that you can work without the constant threat of distracting websites. Just go to Google and type “your browser” and “site blocker,” you’ll easily find a great one to use.
- Use Templates for Routine Tasks
A template is a “fill-in-the-blank” type document, and they’re great for assignments that are created the same way every time.
Do you send email updates regularly? Create a template to save some time. The same thing applies if you give presentations or make spreadsheets a lot, find or create a template to work with and it’ll save you a ton in prep time.
- Listen to Productive Music (or Sounds)
Music is a great way to maintain focus and stay productive.
However, everybody is different so it may take some experimentation to find music that helps you focus. A good tool for this is Focus At Will, it uses music scientifically driven to improve your concentration.
You could also use general background noise to improve your focus. Coffitivity emulates the chatter of a coffee shop, which has been shown to actually improve focus.
- Batch Similar Tasks
Batching tasks works because you’re maintaining the same frame of mind for all the tasks involved.
Think of batching your “social tasks” together, like emails, text messages, and voice-mails together.
- Start Your with a Tough Task (or an Easy One)
What you do at the beginning of the day will dictate the flow for the rest of the day
The way we see it, you have two options:
- Do the hardest task first so everything else feels easier
- Do the easiest task first to build up some momentum
Your call. Depending on the person you are.
- Use the Important / Urgent Matrix for Your Decisions
Separate your tasks into one of four categories:
- Important & urgent (e.g. presentation due tomorrow)
- Important & not urgent (e.g. exercise, working on a presentation two-weeks in advance)
- Not important & urgent (e.g. social media updates, phone calls)
- Not important & not urgent (e.g. surfing the web)
- Important tasks are ones that contribute to your immediate livelihood & long-term goals, while
- urgent tasks are ones that require immediate action or have incoming deadlines.
The idea is to focus on tasks in category #2 (important & not urgent), because by doing so you:
- Contribute to your immediate and long-term success
- Prevent yourself from dipping into category #1 (important AND urgent tasks)
Some of these tips sound self-contradictory (like no 9) . Some are counter-intuitive (like no 10). But they work!
We hope these 10 tips help you enhance your productivity. Let us know if you see any results.