Every dedicated professional should aim to increase their productivity and efficiency skills.
Being able to work efficiently along with managing time takes a significant amount of practice and diligence. However, there are some proven simple ways that can make managing your tasks feel less intimidating and more organized throughout the day. It is important to note that everyone tends to have their own management techniques for what works for them, and therefore should try out multiple approaches to see which one they like best.
Using the Pomodoro Strategy:
In 2006, the Pomodoro Technique became one of the simplest ways to work efficiently. Written by Francesco Cirilio, the technique was fully explained through psychology behind the brain and a way of easing shorter attention spans. To start, you must set a timer for 25 minutes, work on one single task until the timer rings, put a check next to the task you finished, and take a 5 minute break. Repeat these steps a couple of times and follow up with a 15 minute break. While it may seem simple, it is proven to increase the amount of time dedicated to a single task without any quick checks on your email or other distractions. In Chris Winfield’s case study, he found that he was able to achieve 40 hours of work within 16.7 hours utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. It was shown that true work is only done in 10% of the workday due to disruptive and unorganized work styles.
Setting Small Objectives:
Rather than hoping to achieve large goals within a day, consider organizing small bitesize goals, milestones, or checkpoints throughout the day. Approaching larger goals can cause you to feel overwhelmed and confused on where to start. Using bitesize milestones to track your progress will allow you to feel like you are making progress regardless of how small it might be. Pushing yourself to respond to four emails today rather than clearing your inbox by the end of the week will make the goal seem more attainable even though it will accumulate to the same goal.
Creating a Morning & Night Routine:
Developing a habit for a continuous morning and night routine allows you to feel more productive throughout the rest of your day. When you plan to check all of your emails, update your action items for the day, and organize your time, it allows for a clearer mind that can help make the day more approachable. Finding a time of the day where you feel most productive– whether it’s in the morning or at night– will allow you to manage your energy at smarter, more productive times. Before ending the workday, easy ways to unwind could be by reviewing your to-do list, ticking off with smiley faces all those tasks you have completed and planning out what to do for the next day. This allows for you to feel good from what you have achieved rather than a focus on what you have not achieved. It also ensures you are more structured in your work and more productive over time when it is repeated as a routine or habit.
Doing the Important Work:
Making sure to prioritize your energy for important work is a strong way to feel more motivated throughout the day. When you are tackling the more important tasks first in your to-do list, the more miniscule tasks will feel much easier to finish. In the best seller, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People ”, the author Steven Covey develops a matrix that divides daily tasks into four separate categories: urgent and important, not urgent but important, urgent but unimportant, and not urgent and not important. By focusing on doing the important and most urgent work first, tackling the other parts of the matrix will lead to a clearer mind and greater outputs in less time.
When working, it is extremely easy to get distracted by a phone notification or simply from a wandering mind. According to Cross River Therapy, the average human attention span is 8.25 seconds. Little distractions quickly take away time from our work and causes us to feel even more stressed throughout the rest of the day, however it can also significantly be reduced through strategies like app limits, improving your focus and self-discipline, or turning off mail notifications.
To wrap up this content piece and help you take smarter action, start by picking one or maybe two actions. Maybe this could be an action to implement something new that the article taught you, or maybe it was a reminder of something you knew, but either you forgot about it, or simply are not using it as often and consistently as you should to optimise the impact on how well you use your time.
Whatever you start with, choose wisely, and fight temptation to rush into the next task or meeting. A little bit of time regularly, to make better decisions, is proven to go a long way.
Need a bit more help, or have a question? Get in touch, I love to help and meet new people. You are welcome to contact me through my personal website: https://darylwoodhouse.com/ anytime.
You also have free access to my highly rated eBook ‘4 Life Work Effect Pillars to Smarter Hybrid Working’ here, which includes more than 50 easy to action best practices that you, and your colleagues can choose from at your leisure on the way to enjoying less stress, improved life work balance, and greater performance results.
Know someone else who might benefit from reading this? You could make a big difference to their life, career, or organisation by forwarding this to them. It is good to help others – we can all do more of it with just a few seconds or minutes of our time!
CEO | Executive Coach | L&D, Productivity, and Change Leader
Access my latest eBook here with practical tips for getting the best from hybrid working.
Daryl Woodhouse, aka ‘The Smarter Work Pro helps organisations to optimise ROI whilst enabling individuals and teams to achieve more and live happier.