Whether it’s with work, school, a project, errands, or just life in general, productivity is the key to getting things done. Most of the time though, that third cup of coffee or extra energy drink probably aren’t enough to keep our productivity going steady or at its best level. The good news? We’ve got 11 easy ways to be more productive - and some of them are even easier than making a pot of coffee or grabbing an energy drink.
1 - Create a Reasonable To-Do List
To-do lists are great ways to organize your thoughts and tasks for any given day or project. According to Workzone, “To-do lists often fail because we make them way too complex or the tasks are unequal.” So, how do you overcome a complex or unequal to-do list? Make it reasonable! Start by only putting what’s absolutely necessary on your to-do list. Don’t overload it.
2 - Triage Your Projects or To-Do List Items
Triage is a word that means assigning degrees of urgency to something. So, when it comes to your projects, tasks, and your to-do list, what’s most important? What needs to be done first or fastest? Put these projects or tasks first on your list, then move down. What’s the next most important or time sensitive? Put these tasks further down on your list, and so on. Organize your to-do list by level of importance, so you know what you should be prioritizing.
For an even more in-depth and quality to do list, you can also...
3 - Group Similar Tasks Together
By constantly starting and stopping different tasks, it’s easy to break your concentration and productivity. A great way to avoid a lot of starting, stopping and switching between different tasks (and therefore being less productive) is to group similar tasks together. For example, got three social media posts you need to get out? Don’t just post one and move on to another task then switch back to posting on social media. Post all three things and then move on to your next important task.
4 - Less Multitasking!
Wait, what? Yes, you read that right! In order to optimize your productivity, it really helps to cut down on multitasking, or, in other words - focus on one task at a time. Just like stopping and starting different tasks can break your concentration and productivity, so can trying to focus on too many things at once. Don’t spread yourself too thin! Dedicate your energy and concentration to one task at a time to ensure it gets done well and when you need it to be. Your brain will thank you for it, and your quality of work and productivity will rise.
5 - Tackle Your Important Tasks Early in the Day
No matter what time you start your day, tackling your important tasks or projects earlier in the day is a great way to get things done well and quickly. Typically, you’ve got more energy and concentration at the start of your day as opposed to the middle or the end of it. Therefore, you may end up being more productive earlier in the day while your mind is still fresh.
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6 - Figure Out Your Peak Times for Getting Things Done
While it works for most to get their important tasks done earlier in their day because their brain is fresh and their energy levels are higher, it may be easier for you to figure out your peak times for getting things done. Take this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article, for example: “Sallie Krawcheck, chief executive of Ellevest and former Wall Street executive, has written, ‘I’m never more productive than at 4 a.m.’” Don’t think this means you need to suddenly become a super-early bird, though! The point is, Sallie Krawcheck knows when her most productive times of the day are, and she utilizes them. For you it may be shortly after you wake up, or maybe before you go to bed. Whatever your peak time for productivity is, use that time to get your things done!
7 - Say Bye to Distractions
Distractions can come from just about anywhere - your phone, your television, clutter in your workspace, email pop-ups, other people… the list goes on. Perhaps one of the best ways to be more productive is to get rid of distractions. This may mean moving into a more quiet workspace, turning off your phone, using a blocking app, putting on noise cancelling headphones, or just leaving the TV off. Whatever distractions may be coming your way, try to get away from them as best as you can, at least while you’re trying to get things done.
8 - Create a Better Workspace
Sometimes, our workspaces can make or break our productivity - seriously. Your physical environment can actually affect your work and productivity! Most often, people find that optimal workspaces are those that are less cluttered, more clean, and personalized. Your workspace may be at work, school, or at home, but no matter where it is, try to create a better workspace for optimal productivity. You’ll be more likely to focus on your tasks and optimize your time when you don’t have a distracting, unorganized space, or when you don’t have to search around forever for *that* important object.
Start by throwing unneeded objects away, then by giving everything a designated space. Next, break out the cleaner and get that workspace spic and span! For more tips on organizing and optimizing your workspace, check out this article.
9 - Take Breaks
We get it, we’ve been telling you to focus on your tasks and get things done throughout this whole article. Don’t get confused though - taking breaks is really important! Give your brain and body a chance to refresh and recharge every so often so you can go back to completing your tasks and objects with that new energy and freshness. Take a bathroom break, take a walk, grab a snack or drink, look at some cute animal photos... whatever you need to do to recharge.
Being More Productive? No Problem.
Learning how to be more productive? Easy! Just follow these 9 tips:
- Create a reasonable to-do list
- Triage your projects or to-do list
- Group similar tasks together
- Focus on one task at a time
- Tackle your important tasks early in the day
- Figure out your peak times for productivity
- Cut out distractions
- Create a better workspace
- Take breaks
See, you didn’t even need another coffee or energy drink anyway!