Wish there were more hours in a day? Jayson De Mers, writing for Inc.com, reveals fifteen easy ways to boost productivity right now.
1) Go airplane mode. If you want to get things done, close your email and turn off your mobile phone, advises De Mers.
2) Declutter your desk. Tidy your workspace and you’ll instantly feel more organised and a lot less stressed.
3) Create next-day task lists. Draw up tomorrow’s to-do list to clear your mind of jobs you don’t need to think about today and give you a headstart for the morning.
4) Work in circuits. Make your work routine less daunting by breaking each hour into segments, suggests the author. He recommends “15 minutes of communication catch-up, 15 minutes of simple tasks, and 30 minutes of a difficult, larger task”.
5) Interrupt yourself for breaks. “Taking ten minutes to clear your mind can give you enough of a mental boost to save 15 minutes of eventual effort,” advises De Mers. And don’t wait until you finish a complex task. You’ll be more productive coming back to it after a ten-minute stop.
6) Break it down. Just contemplating a large, complex task can be enough to sap your motivation, says the author. Break it down into several smaller tasks and you’ll see yourself making progress.
7) Relax with boring tasks. If you haven’t got time for a real break, rest your brain with some of the more mindless tasks on your list.
8) Disconnect. Ditch the distractions and go completely offline for a couple of hours.
9) Skip a meeting. Pick one unnecessary meeting and cancel it. Replace it with an email outlining objectives, deliverables and questions. You’ll save precious time while keeping everyone on track.
10) Work Sunday nights. You should definitely be recharging your batteries and relaxing at the weekend, advises De Mers. But a little work on Sunday night will prepare you for the week ahead.
11) Ditch low priorities. Look at the low-priority tasks on your list. Do the ones that will take you less than two minutes right now. Delegate the rest or reschedule them.
12) Get your worst tasks done. Commit to starting the tasks you dread straight away. You will be more motivated to finish them quickly and will get them out of the way.
13) Just say no. Don’t be afraid to say no to a task or meeting that you cannot fit in.
14) Use your commute. Optimise travel time by listening to voicemails, taking memos or simply relaxing.
15) Change your scenery. Make the effort to work somewhere else at least one day a week – be it a coffee shop, park or home office. Changing your work environment will give you a fresh perspective.