It feels like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done.
More and more things add up to you daily to-do list, and instead of becoming more productive, you’re just overwhelmed and stressed out. Most of the time, the problem isn’t the number of tasks on your list, but how and what you prioritize.
In school, you’re taught you must be good at everything, so you have to know it all. Early in your career you want to do everything and be good at everything because you want to climb the proverbial career ladder.
That’s OK while you’re learning and growing as a professional, but when you’re looking to grow your business, you have to be careful with what you put on your daily to-do list.
It isn’t easy to be continuously productive, but these 10 tips might help you do more in less time:
1. Keep things organized.
Having clutter around can be one of the biggest distractions.
When you have a to-do list as long as your arm, seeing an unorganized space in front of you will only serve to increase your stress levels. So, get your workspace organized.
2. Get off social media.
You probably don’t need to be told that social media can be one of the biggest distractions, but you’re most likely spending a few hours of your day on social channels.
Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media can actually free up more hours in the day. There are many online tools you can use to monitor how much time you spend on social media each day. Try one and see how and where you can cut down on misspent social media time.
3. Stick to a morning routine.
The last thing you want to do is start your day feeling sluggish. The energy you start with in the morning sets you up for the rest of the day.
Exercising can help a lot with that. Make your own exercising routine and do what works for you. If exercising first thing in the morning is not your thing, try reading motivational content, or maybe meditate. Just make sure you get some “me time” before starting your busy day.
It will help you become centered and focused on the priorities of the day rather than reacting to everything that’s thrown at you.
4. Take advantage of online tools.
From scheduling your work calendar to the benefits of cloud computing for businesses, you’ll be surprised what you can find.
You can use sites such as Basecamp to communicate with colleagues and send documents back and forth If you want to know how much time you or your team spend on certain tasks, try Hubstaff.
5. Make lists.
Whether you have a long or short to-do list, you can get the best out of your day and be very productive if you prepare your day the night before. Set aside a few minutes and think of what you need to do the next day. Create a list accordingly will help you prioritize your work. When you start the day, you’ll have clarity on what you need to do rather than spending your first hour stressed about how to get it all done.
6. Stay hydrated.
You’d be surprised at how much we overestimate the quantity of water we drink in a day. Hydration is vital, but more so when it comes to doing work properly. Not only does it mean you’re less likely to develop headaches from hours of screen time but staying hydrated also increases your energy levels.
Drinking water throughout the day means that you’ll be forced to take frequent bathroom breaks, therefore you’ll have to get up and walk away from your desk. This will help refocus your brain when you hit an energy lull.
7. Cancel some meetings.
This is a hard one. Whether you have your own business or work for someone else, it’s very likely a good chunk of your week is spent in meetings. Analyze the time you spend in meetings each week and determine how productive that is and if it makes sense.
If you find that meetings are cutting into your productivity, it may be time to reduce the number of meetings you agree to attend.
That doesn’t mean you’ll cut down on communication with clients or colleagues. Find another way that doesn’t take up everyone’s time.
8. Take breaks.
When you have deadlines closing in on you, it’s easy to assume that skipping breaks will make you more productive. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. The harder you push yourself, the more mistakes you’re likely to make.
Take the breaks you deserve. Not only do you need to eat and drink for nourishment and energy, but you also need to step away from what you’re doing for a while to gain a new perspective. The best way to solve a problem is to step away from it for a while to clear your mind.
9. Prioritize quickly finished tasks.
How do you deal with the unexpected things that come up during your day?
Try the two-minute rule. If the task takes less than two minutes, it can be done right away. If it takes more than two minutes, it can be saved for another time.
Short tasks are often easier to get done first thing in the morning, leaving the rest of the day for the bigger projects.
10. Hire a virtual assistant.
Admin tasks such as managing social media profiles, answering emails and calls and setting up meetings could be done by someone else, freeing up your time to work on more important things.
Finding a virtual assistant means you can hire for as long as is necessary, but you aren’t under any obligation to provide a fixed-term contract. So, if you have a seasonal business and you only require help for a certain amount of time, hiring someone who works remotely makes perfect sense.
There are many ways to make your days more productive. You just have to be willing to look at where you spend most of your professional and personal time.
What time-saving tips do you have, Ragan/PR Daily readers?