To-Do lists, Day Timers, scheduling apps… we all have our devices that we believe help make us productive and keep us on track. But do all these gadgets and lists really help us get more done in less time?
If you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water, and your desktop looks like an inbox, I have some worthwhile productivity tips and suggestions that can truly help you increase your efficiency – and the best part is, they won’t cost you a thing.
Tip #1 – Your Mind Works Best in Blocks of Time.
There’s nothing new to the concept of devoting specific amounts of time to specific tasks, however, what most “how to get more done” and productivity books fail to mention, is that you also need to schedule in time for things outside of work – such as family time and time with the kids.
You should also prioritize these blocks of time, so that you know exactly what should get done, and in what order.
Tip #2 – Morning Momentum is More than Just a Cup of Coffee.
It will take more than Starbucks to get you going in the morning. To help with that, schedule a task that when finished, will propel you forward for the rest of the day. This kind of morning momentum helps everything else get off to a faster and more thorough start.
Tip #3 – Analyze Your Surroundings and Sleep Patterns.
Speaking of coffee, you won’t get much done if you didn’t have a good, sound sleep the night before, or if your work area is cluttered and disorganized. You want to make work “flow” in a way that’s natural to you.
There’s no set standard for the “best office setup for maximum productivity”, so create a space that feels right and that gives you plenty of light, fresh air, and most importantly – quiet.
With regards to sleeping, you’ll want to ensure that your bedroom is a sanctuary. That generally means no TV. This has a naturally good effect on your waistline too, since you will resist the urge to snack mindlessly while watching reruns.
Tip #4 – Stick to Your Schedule in a Way that Works for You.
This is perhaps the most important tip of all – stick to your schedule – ruthlessly. Make sure that your family, friends and associates know not to disturb or bother you while you’re working. Enforce this rule like no other.
Forget the myth that you can have a fun, flexible workday – because failing to plan will set you up so that you plan to fail. This isn’t to say, however, that you should be unforgivingly rigid about your plans. But only you know the times of day that your body’s natural cycle works best.
For instance, you’re either a morning person, or you’re not. Find the rhythm that works best for your unique situation, lifestyle and goals – and then get out there and do it. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Please share your opinion about these productivity tips or share your own by leaving a comment below.
I like the blocks of time idea but I find that I need a block to get ready and a block to do.
How do you handle the get ready to (say write a section) is it in the block?
Do you have sucess with the overnight question approach
I find I get less sleep
I devote a block of time first thing in the morning to go over what I want to accomplish in the day.
Scheduling everything is the best way to organize and maximize time but strictly sticking to it is a whole lot different story. Very helpful point of view about productivity and scheduling. Thanks a lot.
Yes stinking to it is the hardest part but is the most crucial – the trick is to create a “doable” and logical schedule so you don’t sabotage yourself from the beginning
Most of the time keeping yourself on track with your schedule and your priorities is the most challenging part. I agree with you that you also need to schedule a quality time with your family. I’m always trying to balance work and family and I think I’m doing great for the last 10 years. Thanks for sharing Alex.
I’m good at setting schedules but not much on keeping them. I like the way you termed it “stick to your schedule – ruthlessly” and I’m just about to do that now. Great post. Thank you so much.
Look up the free “Pomodoro” software on google.
It is a free software that allows you to a) organize your work into blocks of 25 min. and b) time it for you.
It even includes a pdf about the whole system and how to make the best use of it. Pretty cool.
Thanks for the Tip
I just checked out their site at it looks interesting.
Will definitely try it out.