Seven ways to level up your productivity
“Work smart and not hard” – the age-old adage still remains relevant in today’s work scenario where we have increased priorities and lead busier lives. With office work, kids, household chores, distractions and much more consuming your mind and time even as you work from home, working smart is key to sailing smoothly.
Here are seven efficient ways of managing work so that you can still make time to do what you like.
1. Mark your “Most Important Task”
When you feel burdened with a burgeoning task list, the trick is to mark the top three tasks for the day, right in the morning, and focus on getting them done first. Then, move on to the next tasks one by one. This entails spending your most productive hours on doing the most important tasks which form 80% of your total work for that day. Once you start ticking the boxes on your list, you will feel much relaxed and happy.
How can you do it? Apply the “80/20 Rule”- also known as the Pareto principle (named after the eminent economist Vilfredo Pareto), according to which 80% of results often come from only 20% of resources. For example, 20% of employees contribute to 80% of a company’s growth or 20% of a company’s products represent 80% of its total sales. On a personal level, the principle helps you manage your time by focusing on the most important tasks as mentioned above. So, you can derive majority of your work-related output by putting in minimum required time on crucial tasks.
2. Work on shorter personal deadlines
Delaying the things till the last minute by procrastinating doesn’t make you smarter. Try working it out the Parkinson’s Law way! It states that if you want to make a task urgent, allot shorter timelines to it. This way you can focus and finish the task at hand much quicker and save time and effort.
How can you do it? Reward yourself upon completing the work in time. This will inspire you to do things faster next time too.
3. Keep mental fatigue away
Take frequent short breaks to keep your mind fresh and not get fatigued sooner. You can benefit from an interesting technique called the “Pomodoro Technique” and make the brain work productively. The technique involves working in 30-minute cycles of 25-minutes of toil and mandatory five-minute breaks thereafter. You can extend the break up to 10 minutes on every fourth cycle.
How can you do it? Set a timer for every 25 minutes and make concerted efforts to complete the task within the set deadline. Enjoy a five-minute break before returning to take on the next task.
4. Multitasking? Think again!
No matter how good you might consider yourself at multitasking, take heed. Your brain is not designed to take on multiple tasks at the same time. If you are doing so, it can leave you struggling and focusing on none. Train your brain to stop multitasking and mastering one task at a time.
How can you do it? When perplexed with multiple things to do at once, take a deep breath and evaluate which task is urgent and needs your immediate attention.
5. Schedule it right
Even when you are working from home, try to follow a set schedule so that you can divide your time between personal and professional things effectively. Try to follow office work hours (if you can) and handle things the way you do at the office. Limit distractions and allocate a dedicated workspace for you to concentrate on work when you need to.
How can you do it? Try using free online calendar management tools such as TIMIFY which will help you organise your stuff in a compact manner.
6. It’s not the hours that count but the results
You can improve your productivity either by achieving the same results within a shorter time frame, accomplishing more tasks within the same time or getting more done within a shorter time span. The moment you start focusing on the number of hours spent working, productivity takes a dip. So, take steps to achieve your goals and you’ll be there in no time!
How can you do it? Try productivity booster apps such as Flora (Android and iOS) and Flipd (App Store) to track how long you’ve spent on your tasks and know how to optimise your time.
7. Use automation
When you automate things, you make quicker decisions and get more tasks done effectively. Being proactive in decision-making lets you ‘do’ urgent tasks first and put the rest on auto-mode.
After all, it’s about organising your tasks and managing them well using the right tools and techniques, which help enhance your productivity.
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