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10 Tips for Making the Most Productive Use of Your Time

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 2

1. Use the 80/20 Principle. The 80/20 Principle is simple. Most of the productive work, 80%, in any given situation is made from 20 % of the effort. This means that most likely, you're wasting most of your time on unimportant tasks, and you don't even realize it. This is when you need to sit down and analyze what exactly are the most valuable things that you need to be doing, and spend more of your time doing those things.

2. Use a calendar. Make your calendar work for you, and check it as often as you need to, but at least monthly, weekly, and daily. Use it only for time and day sensitive appointments and tasks. Don't clutter it up.

3. Make a daily to-do list. Every day, check your calendar, suspended files, and weekly schedule for things that need to be done. If you have some free time, you can add a few non-essential, but still important, tasks to the list. Crossing off things as you go can keep you on track, as well as create motivation to complete the list.

4. Bring work with you. Have work on hand that can easily be done on the go. These materials can be anything that doesn't take a lot of concentration to do, such as work-related reading material, forms you need to fill out and similar work.

5. Bring reading materials with you. Books, magazine, and other pleasure or self-improvement reading material can be stored in your purse or car for those moments when you have free time when you're out and about.

6. Keep a list of 5-minute tasks. Keep an on-going list of non-crucial tasks that can be done in a few minutes or less. These can be work-related or home related. When you get a few free minutes, look through your list and see if there's anything you can get done and cross off the list, depending on where you are, and what resources you have. The important part about this tip is that the list contain tasks that are relatively unimportant, and don't have a deadline. The reason for the list is so that EVENTUALLY these things will get done, if you try to do one or two a day.

7. Process your in-basket daily. This might seem counter-productive, but it's not. Going through your in-basket every day will keep a back-log from developing, and keep essential tasks from being hidden in a pile, and forgotten. Do it daily, and you'll only have that day's input to process. Make sure you include things such as notes you've written to yourself during the day, email, and voice mail.

8. Prioritize. Prioritizing your activities is essential to being productive. Your top priorities, especially time-sensitive details, need to be foremost in your mind when you're deciding what to do at any given time. Make sure these priorities are understood when creating daily and weekly to-do lists. Color code or otherwise note the priorities that need to be done, and do these things as soon as possible.

9. Schedule in downtime. Giving yourself regular breaks to unwind and get your head clear will create room to work more effectively when it's time to get down to the things you need to do. You're not going to be productive at all if you burn out.

10. Do the worst things first. This is my motto. It's simple, it rhymes, it's easy to remember. The theory here is that if the task is unpleasant, often times it is something that has to be done, and you're procrastinating about doing it. Most people don't need a lot of prompting to do fun things. But making a dentist appointment, or firing an employee, or calling someone you don't like but have to are things that take a strong stomach to get through. Do these things first, before you have time to talk yourself out of it. Plus, it relieves stress by getting the unpleasantness out of the way, instead of worrying about it all day, and you will be able to concentrate more effectively on other work.


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Comments

Jan 18, 2011 1:24pm
thegarbbean
All good advice, thank you!
Dec 6, 2011 3:23am
AuroraWindsor
I love the 80/20 principle. It really works.
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