10 Tips to Increase Productivity
January is a great time to make goals, resolutions and to attempt tasks that we would normally push aside. Why is that? It is because we feel we have a fresh start and chance to get things right in a brand new year!
However, usually half way through the month a lot of us stumble and fail to achieve the goals we set at the beginning of January.
I thought I would share with you 10 tips to help increase productivity and for possibly the first time finish off those task and goals you so badly wanted to achieve!
I know it sounds funny to plan time to plan but a routine is great for helping you stay on track. Find a time where you can sit down even for a few minutes to jot down the important dates and times for the upcoming week. I like to do this on a Sunday, that way I feel fresh and ready to face the week on Monday morning.
Commitments and Set Dates
Next only write down the set dates and commitments for the week that are a must, cannot be avoided. The best way to look at which tasks are the most important can be to see them as which tasks need my full attention and nothing else can be tackled at that time. Block out the timings you need to allow for these events.
With the remaining time you have left, write down a list of tasks for the week. A lot of people find prioritising tasks using a number system can be very useful. Marking tasks as number 1 being important and urgent, number 2 being important but not urgent, number 3 to be not important but urgent and number 4 being not important and not urgent. Number 4 tasks are known as distractions and should only be done should tasks 1-3 have been done.
Breaking down the tasks into steps
Starting with the number 1 tasks, try to break them down into more manageable steps. You must try not to move on to number 2 tasks until number 1 tasks have been completed as they were the most urgent and most important.
Once you know the tasks and the more manageable steps, time blocking can help you make sure you achieve the more important tasks. Pencil in the time you think you will need, again in priority order.
Ok, so you begin to find yourself falling into the trap of letting things slide again, you are only one person, you are not super human, even though we may feel like we are. If you find yourself stressing over the number of tasks you have and there are not enough hours in the day to breathe let alone sit down and plan everything, just take 3 tasks. 3 tasks per day on the must get done list. Tick them off as you go as it will make you feel so much better and then do the same again tomorrow until you feel things have calmed down. If 3 is too many reduce the number of tasks or the amount of time to achieve them.
Planners and Diaries
I believe when we write things down we memorise them so much better than when we use technology. I know that makes me old fashioned, but there is something about writing down goals and tasks and ticking them off as I go, that gives me a buzz. (Don’t laugh, as I know there are lots of people like me out there ha ha). Planners and diaries are a great way of keeping track of things and allows you to go back and look at previous writings and entries. Funny enough I know a great business that loves making homemade planners and diaries 😉 Purposeful Planning
Post It Notes
These are a must! They can be stuck around anywhere (even on your husband’s favourite piece of technology) and are a great way to remind you and other people about things quickly! Whether it be a shopping list, an appointment time for the kids or a reminder for him to take out the rubbish, post it notes are a life saver.
Use Time Efficiently
Be productive with your time. Remember, we all have exactly the same number of hours each day. For example, you can use time waiting for appointments or waiting in line to catch up on something i.e. reading emails. Look at the activities that fill your day and determine ways they could either be done more efficiently or if possible remove them completely. By shaving minutes off of several tasks throughout the day, you can free up a larger block of time later. Think of two ways you could save time in your daily schedule.
End of Day/Week/Month Review
Finally, I would suggest reviewing your to-do list regularly whether that be daily, weekly or monthly. This will look at what you have accomplished, what you could have done more efficiently, and what you need to get done next. Look at your daily planner and actually check off those items you’ve completed. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment and help you determine those tasks that require more time than originally anticipated.
Good luck with your goals and tasks, I hope that this year is your year to become more productive.