As the New Year approaches, one of my goals is to get more done in my life, business and home. I really want to be productive. I seriously want to block time wasters from my life. And so, I’ve been researching how to get more done in less time (and still take care of my kids, husband and business –without burning out). I came up with these recommendations. I hope you find them useful.
Use the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle. This essentially means keeping all the things you want to do simple and straight-to-the-point. Don’t over-complicate things in a bid to impress. Just after waking up and your usual morning routine, write down three tasks to be executed that day. There’s no need for a long to-do list that will make you lose interest in the tasks, just identify the three most important tasks, commit to them and when you have extra time, do the less important tasks.
Your inside will feed your outside. The better you are inside, in mind and spirit, the more productive (and powerful) you will be throughout the day, week, month and year! Awesome! This was an eye-opener for me as I never really took sleeping well serious but my research showed I have to sleep 8 hours daily to be productive the next day! Even though it would be hard for me to do (I’m a night owl – I prefer to work at night), I’ve decided to commit to doing this and see how it goes. Still talking about your inside feeding your outside, what you listen to very early in the morning will affect your mood throughout the day. Some people wake up and straight off, they switch on the radio to listen to news of suicide bomb attacks, plane crashes, etc. Others wake up and straight to their phones or tablet; this is not good for the inside. What is good for the inside is a bit of quiet, meditation, if possible. Bible study, highly recommended; to prepare you for the challenges of the day.
Wake Up Earlier than Usual. If you wake up 20 minutes earlier than you usually do, in three days, you would have one extra hour to do something productive.I really have no problem doing this, even when I sleep late because I have to get my kids ready for school every morning. On a serious note, try this out; you’d be amazed at the results.
Sleep Early. Sleeping by 10pm is ideal if you truly want to be productive the next day. When I talk about sleeping here, I mean totally going off all the technological devices you own and keeping them far from your bed. Getting quality sleep is crucial to your overall productivity.
Exercise if You Can, especially in the Morning. A ten minutes exercise will do you a lot of good, so, find time to do it (even if it means hiding in the bathroom to be able to focus). Simple deep breathing and brisk walking exercises around the house are enough, if you can’t commit to a full-fledged training at the gym.
Get to the Office One Hour Early. You’ll no doubt get a lot done this way as the office will be virtually empty by the time you get there, so, you can focus and get more done, before your colleagues start arriving.
Avoid interruptions. When you have important projects to be executed, leave your phone on voice mail or put it on silent mode. If you have exclusive access to your office, simply close the door. To ward off interruptions, you might place a sign with the inscription "Busy: Please Come Back Later." If you are unavoidably interrupted (may be, by the boss), try to keep the interruption short by remaining task-oriented.
Learn How and When to Say No. Once you’ve put down the three most important tasks of the day, learn to say no to any task that will not help you achieve your aim for the day. If you feel a task you’re being asked to do is better done by a colleague, don’t hesitate to say so, instead of wanting to impress by saying yes. Instead of impress, you’re rather expiring (by staying unproductive and aimless).
Learn to take breaks. Those of us who stare at the screen for long periods need to get away for a while, maybe an hour. We sure will come back refreshed and with a clear mind. I tried this a while back and I must say I came back to the office bubbling with ideas. Taking a nap might also be ideal and research has even proved that doing this can increase our level of productivity greatly.
Schedule time to make phone calls and return e-mail. I used to be guilty of checking my mail every hour but I’ve since gotten over it. I’ve since come to the realization that it can be a real time-waster and productivity-killer. Now, I schedule time to check mails and return phone calls. It’s the same situation with social media. In the past, I used to have my accounts opened and notifications streaming in by the second but one day, I decided to stop and it’s been a huge productive move for me. After all, I don’t make money by engaging the social media. I make money by creating products and writing articles of this nature, which I can then use the social media to market and if I feel I’m not up to it, I can outsource my social media marketing so it doesn’t eat into my productive time.
Limit the time spent on watching TV and films. These are both not productive in any way and the less I can do of them the better. For starters, I’ve never been a TV person because I feel it requires too much concentration. I like to do other things alongside it but it requires full concentration, so, I’ve always opted for radio above it, but now that this recommendation is coming, I guess I’ll leave it totally out of my life, except it’s on a family night out or something.
Identity time wasters and get rid of them. Sit down and critically analyze yourself and how you spend your time. If you notice any time-wasting activities, don’t hesitate to get them out before they destroy your productivity. Yet another thing to do is to get a notepad handy and document your current routine. If you’re honest, you would notice holes that have to be plugged.
Learn to delegate or outsource. If there are tasks that others can do better than you, please delegate or outsource it to them. There’s no point operating as if you can carry the whole world on your shoulders! Everybody needs help at one point or the other and if you need it, get it! Simple. I really need to get into the hang of things as regards these two because I really need help with many things around the home. I’m seriously working on getting a help. In tandem with this is the issue of automation. I’m working seriously on automating stuff that I do frequently by having a template designed to free up more time for me.
Stick to your plan. If you’ve come up with a plan for getting your projects through, please stick to your plan, while avoiding procrastination like a plague. Appreciate your approach and the fact that it has brought you so far (and can still take you further, if you work hard at it).
There you have it, 14 ways to become productive and get more done in less time. Apply these tips and watch your productivity soar to dizzying heights!