In a world of constant multitasking, finding ways to be more productive and get things done is crucial. Many people are in search of the easy way out, trying to get rich quick or become “insta-famous,” but really it comes back to doing the basics.
When you are in school, you can’t just go straight to Calculus without taking Algebra and Geometry first. They build on each other, and you wouldn’t understand Calculus without the prerequisites. Also, learning math takes lots of practice, including homework that helps you practice to prepare for tests.
Becoming more productive works the same way. You just need to practice better habits, and over time you will become a productivity superstar!
1. Make a list of your tasks and prioritize them
Becoming clear on your goals is the first part of increasing your productivity. A study done by Dominican University in California said that “42% of people are more likely to accomplish their goals and tasks by just writing them down.” When planning out your day, decide what to focus on and then focus on it.
One good habit to get into is preparing for your day the night before or first thing in the morning and deciding what is most critical to get done. Focus only on one task at a time until it’s complete. Multitasking, although sometimes necessary, has actually been found to decrease productivity.
One way I prioritize my tasks is by making a list. I put each item on the list into letter categories A,B,C,D, and so on based on their importance. After I prioritize by letter, I rank each task in the A’s with a number priority as well, and then do that for B, C, and the remaining letters. Then I know exactly where to start. I work on task A1 until complete, and then move to A2, A3, and so on until all the A’s are taken care of. For more information on this process, check out: https://servetolead.org/daniel-r-murphy-the-abcd-to-do-list/
2. Give yourself deadlines
I don’t know about you, but when I have a deadline or due date, it not only helps with prioritizing but also pushes me to make sure I get the task done in a timely manner. I tend to work well under pressure, so I normally work on things closer to their due date, while others may work on the item a little bit each day until the due date. Deadlines keep us all accountable, so even if you don’t have a deadline from your boss, give yourself a deadline for the task.
3. Design your environment for success
I work so much better when my desk and work area is clean. A messy desk is an unnecessary distraction that can keep you from getting your work done. But there can be digital clutter or mess as well. In that vein, I’ve found it helpful to set specific times to check my email. Although email is important, it’s also distracting from the work that you are trying to get done, so check it first thing in the morning, once in the afternoon, and before you leave, or whatever schedule lets you get to your emails in a timely manner without letting them keep you from getting your sh*t done.
4. Work smarter
There are so many tools out there today that can help you work more efficiently.
Buffer can help you schedule your social media posts for all platforms in one place.
Grammarly can help with spell checks, grammar and formatting outside of Microsoft Word, so for your website or social media posts and articles, it can give you that extra sense of protection that you won’t be accidentally posting a misspelled word.
Slack is a great way to communicate with your team or employees without bombarding them with a ton of emails. For everything from short status updates on projects to just simply wishing someone happy birthday, Slack is great for company-wide communication.
Evernote, Microsoft OneNote and Google Docs are note-taking tools that allow multiple people to view and edit a document at the same time. Plus, since these products are cloud-based, you can access, edit, write or collaborate on the document from anywhere.
5. Time management
I am a personal believer in working hard, not long. Working long hours actually takes away from my productivity, and studies have shown that “the human brain works more effectively in shorter, focused bursts of time with planned breaks and relaxation.” The brain wasn’t built for the extended amount of focus that we put it through today. The Pomodoro Cycle is one way you can break your day up, but there are many methods (90 minutes, 52-17 method, etc.) so try different ones out and see what works best for you.
For example, in school you didn’t do 8 hours of math a day. You did about 1 hour each day, so that way your brain could focus on the math intensely for those 60 minutes. This type of rhythm allows us to recharge so the quality of our work is elevated and prevents us from getting burned out. Check out this article on different work methods with breaks that you can try.
So there they are - the secrets I use to get my sh*t done. Whether it’s work related tasks, mom chores, or housework, the same concepts apply. If you practice these habits and make them a part of your routine, you should see a marked increase in your productivity over time.
If you have too much on your plate, sometimes the best way to be productive is to delegate. Maybe you run a company and don’t have time to handle all your marketing. If that’s the case, outsourcing is a great way to get the job done at a fraction of the cost. At Jennasis, we pride ourselves on handling all aspects of your business marketing, so please check out our website or give us a call to find out more. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to chat with you!
Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 4 years of experience marketing in the technology field and a passion to learn more every day. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.