Another day at work and the clock already says 11:30. You’ve been at the office for 2 and a half hours and managed to accomplish, well, not much. Sound familiar? Every now and then, we all struggle to stay focused at work, but if you find yourself regularly falling victim to lazy days at work, we’re here to help!
It can be hard to get anything done with all the distractions in today’s fast-paced, tech-laden world, but these 20 tips will help you accomplish more in less time. Before you know it, you may even be able to spend less time at the office!
Think you’re already pretty good at getting things done? Just like every business needs a great website, we bet anyone who reads this can benefit from at least one of these tips.
- Start each morning by writing down the 3 main tasks you want to achieve that day. This will help you stay focused throughout the day and when the end of the day rolls around, you’ll be able to easily judge how successful you were.
- Get the yucky stuff out of the way. While it’s tempting to put off the work that you least enjoy doing, you’ll be more productive if you do it first. Get the “worst” part of your work done first thing in the morning. Then, you’ll feel free to move on to the things you love!
- Find your time to shine! Each one of us has a time of day when we are most productive. Plan your work schedule in a way that lets you focus on the toughest tasks when you’re at your sharpest. If you know that you always lag in the post-lunch lull, leave that time for easy, mindless tasks.
- Don’t try to be perfect! It may seem counterintuitive, but perfectionism is very time consuming. It’s better to get something done – good enough – and move on to the next task on your list. If you have time at the end of the day, you can always come back and improve on what you did earlier.
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – and don’t be ashamed to take the easy route. Building a website? Use a website builder like Wix. If there’s someone in your office who’s a pro at something, ask them to do it. Don’t spend hours (or days) on something that you – or someone else – can do much more quickly.
- Disconnect. From chat and texts to Instagram, Facebook or your Pinterest account, turn it all off. These distractions slowly but surely eat up hours of your work day.
- Quit multitasking. While you may think you can successfully manage 8 different tasks at once, the truth is, you can’t. Focus on only one thing at a time and you’ll get it done more quickly. Plus, you’ll probably do a better job. According to Harvard Business Review, focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points.
- Sign out of your email. That’s right! Rather than keeping your Inbox open all the time and running to instantly read every new email you receive, set aside 2 or 3 times a day to read and respond to all of your emails. For example, first thing in the morning, right before lunch and at the end of the day. While responding to emails is important, there’s virtually no email that can’t wait a few hours.
- Become acquainted with the 2-minute rule. It’s simple. If you can do it in two minutes or less, just do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t schedule it. Just do it right away.
- Just say no to meetings. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive).Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It can be tempting to complete work tasks well into the night, especially if all you need to do your job is an Internet connection. The truth is, however, that you’ll be far more productive during the work day if you’re well rested.
- Take a break! Before your eyes glaze over on the screen, get up, stretch your legs and pour yourself a nice cup of tea. Even a 5 minute break can do wonders to rejuvenate your energy and your thinking skills.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings. The average employee wastes 31 hours a month in meetings, and it’s easy to fall into the meeting trap. But often, there are more efficient ways to get things done. Before planning a meeting, consider if there’s another way. Could you accomplish the same thing in an email? Or by picking up a good old fashioned telephone?
- Set (and stick to!) your own deadlines. Regardless of what your supervisor said, to manage your own time well you want to set deadlines for your own projects. Determine what tasks you want to complete by the end of each day, each week and each month. Then…
- Write it down! Writing things down is a great to hold yourself accountable. Mark in your calendar the deadlines you’ve set for yourself and check to make sure you’re sticking to them. To take it up a notch – try sharing your goals with the world. How?
- By starting a blog! While a blog might not be the right platform for sharing your daily calendar, it can be a great place to hold yourself accountable to long term goals. If you’re working on a large project that you want to complete within a few months, publishing your aspirations in a blog can help make it real. And by making it public, you’re much more likely to stick to your plan!
- Practice saying no. Sure, you can’t say no to your boss all day long and expect to keep your job. But being honest about what you can and cannot handle will help set realistic expectations – and keep your workload manageable. If you can’t have something done by 5pm, just say so.
- Get the blood flowing! Whether it’s a brisk walk, a morning run or an evening Zumba class, exercise is a great way to increase your productivity and your mood.
- Clean up the clutter! An organized work environment will help you stay focused. Go through those papers on your desk, toss out the old coffee cups and keep a clean work space.
- FINALLY: Love what you do. While you will likely never find a job that is 100% enjoyable 100% of the time, the more you love you work the more effective you are likely to be.
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