15 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Looking for ways to improve your time management, be more efficient and get more done during the day? Here are 15 simple, effective ways to be more productive every day.
INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AT WORK AND HOME
Whether you have a busy family, a busy job or maybe even both, finding ways to be more productive is something many of us look out for.
We want to squeeze as much into our day as possible and still find time for us. So, being more efficient and getting more done in the time we have, is key.
In this post I’m exploring 15 ways to be more productive. They’ll work for you both in the workplace and at home.
Pick and choose what suit you best! Let me know in the comments how you get on!
15 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
1. Make a To Do List
Write a list of things To Do, either on paper or keep it in the Notes on your phone.
Having a visual list of tasks means that you can:
- Prioritise the important things
- Stay focused on what needs doing
- Keep in mind deadlines
- Tick things off when they’re completed
- Track your progress and feel motivated when tasks are done
By getting your To Do list out of your mind you can free up your mental space for much more fun things and stop relying on your brain to remind you of small details (which, if you’re like me, you’ll probably forget!).
2. Prioritise the 3 most important things
To make sure you get the most important things done, choose 3 things (or less) on your To Do list which are THE most important or urgent.
If you make your whole list full of important or urgent things, you’re unlikely to get any of them done.
If you pick just 3 then you’re much more likely to get them all done and then you can move on to the next.
3. Get up early and do the most important thing first
Wake up before the rest of the house and tackle the most important job on your list first. You can get it out of the way, without any distractions and before you get side-tracked by everything that the day brings.
Read my post on how to create a morning routine to help you with this.
4. Don’t over-commit
Try not to put too much on your To Do list or overbook your diary.
Schedule in some down time that’s free from commitments and allow some wiggle room with your timings in case things start late, run on longer or you hadn’t expected them to even happen in the first place.
5. Be realistic
Think about the time you’ve got available and be realistic with what you think you can achieve.
Always overestimate the time something will take (you can always enjoy having an unexpected, spare 5 minutes), rather than underestimate.
It’s better to allow yourself more time than you actually end up using, rather than cutting things so fine that you always run out of time.
Running out of time just means we:
- End up playing catch-up
- Let people down
- Do half a job
- Rush including driving too fast and,
- Stress ourselves out
If your task involves something with the kids, always allow more time than if you were on your own!
6. Have a plan for if you get stuck
Sometimes a task proves to be more difficult than you first thought. It may take longer than you expected or you’re just plain stuck.
When this happens, leave it for the moment and come back to it another time with fresh eyes and mind.
Don’t spend ages struggling with it and getting nowhere. Keep it on your To Do list and revisit it when you’re feeling ready.
7. Choose the best time of day
Everybody is different and some of us are more productive at certain times of the day.
For example, I’m great in the morning and can plough through lots of tasks, but I’m good for nothing come the evening! We’re all tuned differently.
Know your body clock and what times of day you’re at your most productive and take advantage of them as much as you can.
- If you’re an early riser, get it all done early in the morning.
- If you get an afternoon dip in energy levels, don’t pick this time of the day to catch up on a really big task.
- If you’re a night owl, allocate your evenings to catching up on things to do whilst the kids are in bed.
8. Plan what you can do with and without the kids
Let’s face it, as much as we love our kids, some things are just easier and less stressful if you haven’t got the kids with you!
If you’ve got to do something which requires lots of focus, concentration or patience, try to pick a time when you don’t have the kids with you if at all possible.
For example, try for first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake or whilst the baby’s napping, if it’s a work project or task that’s best without interruptions.
If you need to run an errand, pick a time (as far as possible) when the kids are more chilled out and not tired, irritable or hungry!
9. Batch similar errands/work
If you need a few items from the shops or to do some errands in town, plan just one trip when you can get all this done in one go, rather than individual trips.
Having a list of everything you need will help so you don’t forget things and have to go back. It will save time walking to the shops or driving and finding a car park space just once in the day, rather than two or more.
If you’ve got a number of emails to action or similar work tasks, try doing similar jobs in one go, rather than switching between different tasks.
Batching helps you maintain focus without having to shift your thoughts from one task to another, be in the right mental zone for that particular job and therefore be more productive.
For more about batching you might like to check out my post on best time management tips.
10. Stop wasting time
The definition of wasting time is different for everyone. I like watching TV, but some people consider this a waste of time. Whereas I feel that mindlessly scrolling through social media is a waste of time, but others love it. There’s no right or wrong here!
Do what is right for you but really ask yourself during the day whether what you’re doing is worth it, or could your time be better spent doing something more productive?
Check out my post on things that waste time during the day.
11. Be intentional
Whatever you choose to do in your day, think about the intention behind it. Ask yourself:
- Why are you doing it?
- What is the purpose?
- Who is going to benefit?
If you’re not happy with the answers, ask yourself whether it’s adding any value to your life and is it really worth doing in the first place?
Read more about being intentional with your time and learning how to say ‘yes’ to the right things.
12. Big tasks vs little tasks
Decide whether it’s better for you to knock out 2 really big and important tasks or get 5 smaller, niggly ones out of the way.
The smaller ones might be filling up your To Do list and the 2 very important big tasks might get lost amongst the list of smaller tasks.
Look at your To Do list every morning and assess which needs your attention first that day.
13. Stay focused
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted or side-tracked. Concentrate on the task at hand and stay focused until it’s complete and you can move onto the next thing.
14. Find the simplest way of doing something
I don’t mean cutting corners here but I do mean finding the quickest, easiest and most efficient way of doing whatever needs to be done.
For example, pay your bills by setting up a direct debit instead of having to go to the bank every time a bill needs to be paid. It’s much quicker doing it online and you’re less likely to forget to pay things if they’re set up to be paid automatically.
15. Be flexible
Problems arise and the unexpected happens. Be flexible with your plans so that you can adapt to the situation without having a meltdown if it all goes wrong!