These productivity tips range from small adjustments to larger changes in the way you do things for your business. Keep in mind that increasing productivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so you may have to do some trial and error before you find what works best for you and your work style.
1. Never Check Email First Thing in the Morning
Who doesn’t grab their phone first thing when they wake up? It’s tempting to spend the first hour or so after you wake up leisurely replying to emails and checking in on things, but that might not be the best use of your time. It might be a hard habit to break but instead, try and devote the first hour of your day to a high-priority task that requires uninterrupted focus—one that, when you finish, you’ll feel like you’ve really accomplished something. This will help set the tone for the rest of the day too to get you in the mindset of getting work done.
2. Limit Mobile Notifications
This one goes hand in hand with the tip above. Picking up your phone is an easy distraction that can lead to minutes if not hours of wasted time.
Turning the notifications off for those particularly tempting apps can aid in keeping you on task once you’re working on something. Most devices have a “do not disturb” mode you can turn on to stop notifications from coming through until you turn it off. Consider utilizing these tools built right into your device to help you increase productivity.
Bonus: If you find yourself distracted by personal social media on your desktop, you can also block websites from your view with certain extensions for your web browser as well.
3. Do Less But Do It More Strategically
There’s a principle that says 80% of your results come from 20% of your work (Pareto’s Law). It was established by Vilfredo Pareto, an economist, who noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He started noticing the same thing in other parts of his life as well and established the principle.
This applies to the work you do for your business as well. If you choose the right things to focus on, then 80% of the results you get could come from just 20% of the solid work you’re doing. Focusing on that most important 20% can go a long way in getting you the results you want.
4. Schedule Less Time Than Necessary
When it comes to things like travel, you want to make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time, and overbudget. But for tasks for your business, it can sometimes be helpful to give yourself less time than you think you’ll need. That’s thanks to Parkinson’s Law that says that work will expand to fit the time you’ve made available for it.
Simply, if you schedule an hour for something, you’re more likely to fill that entire hour, even if you don’t necessarily need the full hour to complete your work. Giving yourself less time, on the other hand, will force you to get the work done at that time, so you can move on to the next task more quickly.
5. Schedule Your Unscheduled Time
Back-to-back meetings and deadlines might sound efficient, but you need buffer time to recharge your brain and deal with phone calls, emergencies, and the unforeseen. Aim to leave one-third of your day unscheduled. You’ll find this is the time of the day where you actually get the most done.
6. Procrastinate Productively
Unless you’ve unlocked some secret most other people haven’t, you probably find yourself procrastinating at least a little throughout the day…or a lot. Procrastination isn’t all bad though, you can use that time to tidy up, finish some of the smaller tasks on your to-do list (hello 80%), or even take a quick break. Sometimes going for a short walk or completing a small task like tidying up can go a long way in reinvigorating your productivity. You can also use this time to think about why you’re putting off the task.
Some people (looking at you, perfectionists of the world) will try and put off tasks because they’d rather not do it instead of doing it poorly. Other people simply love the thrill of finish a task just in time. Either way, it is not the most effective way to get things done, so try a break your procrastination habit by procrastinating productively.
7. Ignore Everything I Just Recommended
Just kidding! But you do know what works best for you. Recognize your own rhythm, and work with it as best you can. We’re all different, and the better you can get to know your work style, the more likely you’ll be able to identify the tips for productivity that really make a difference, and establish a great work-life balance
Choosing Which Productivity Tips to Implement
Don’t try to do all of these immediately and at once. Try changing or adding just one of these productivity tips and hacks at first to try and make your days more efficient. The point isn’t to simply change your habits, just to help you find what works for you