Is it common for you to end a day of work with the guilty feeling that you didn’t do much and that you wasted too much of time on nothing important? After analysing how it might’ve happened you concluded that you did your best but there were too many distractions: additional tasks, mobile notifications, calls, meetings, outside noises, etc. You are not alone, nowadays, in the digital era, it’s difficult to stay focused and be productive, as everything is being programmed to grab your attention.
This article is another part of the Efficiency and Productivity series, where we want to share a few productivity secrets on how to improve the quantitative aspect of your work, fight distractions and do more in any given time. If you would like to get an insight on how to perfect the quality of your outcome and find the right work-life balance please check out our article on efficiency.
You may have encountered the term ‘productivity’ many times. We often use it to appraise the results of our work, as it is easily trackable. It can be also defined as the amount of work we’ve done in a given time. It becomes especially useful when you track easily accountable tasks (e.g. the amount of code written or the amount of data entered) and estimate the work done by other people.
Productivity isn’t about working the entire day like a machine, as this may cause unnecessary stress. It’s about being able to focus on managing to do more work than before in a given timeframe, so the rest of your time can be spent as you wish. We will try to help you raise your concentration levels, revealing secrets on how to be faster, how to avoid burnouts and to teach you how to save more time within the day.
Have you calculated how many times you’ve been distracted while working on some tasks? Distractions are everywhere, so to stay focused you should try out the following suggestions:
- Just start
You’ve probably experienced the will to procrastinate on tasks that aren’t very enjoyable. The best way to deal with them is just to begin. Start by writing that first sentence, drawing those first lines, making that call or reading that first paragraph.You’ll find yourself getting involved quickly and surprisingly you’ll be able to continue working on the task until you’ve completed it.
- Track your time
Set a timer for each of your tasks (e.g. using a tool such as Toggl or Harvest), analyze your performance and see how and where you can improve. Even the fact that you are tracking your time is enough to remain motivated and focused.
- Impose deadlines
Some people are well-organized while working, others often practice procrastination. If you associate yourself with the second group, imposing deadlines can make a positive change. Do your best to stick to the deadline and discover how focused and efficient you can be.
- Stop wasting time talking to yourself
Do you realize how much time we spend talking to our inner voice? We are trying to predict outcomes, anticipating what others might think about us or just talking bullshit before carrying out some work. This takes away energy we can spend on real activities. Stop talking, act.
- Automate your tasks
Try to automate your activities wherever it is possible. Auto pay your bills, learn keyboard shortcuts, apply filters to your emails, etc.
- Keep calls and meetings short
You may have encountered the feeling that your call or meeting is taking too long, so you should stop it. Especially as it’s a common feeling for planned (internal) company meetings. Many meetings have a tendency to be pointless.You should understand the value of a meeting and set up a reasonable amount of time: for a short follow up 10-15 min is enough, for a longer one with several participants keep it to 2 hours maximum and don’t forget to create a short agenda. Keeping the conversation to the point can save not only your time but the time of others too.
- Improve your typing and reading speed
Out there you can find many techniques that teach you how to improve your typing or thoughtful reading. You may end up saving plenty of time by investing some of it on learning.
- Take shorter showers
It sounds weird doesn’t it? If you are taking a shower for half an hour or longer, you are doing something wrong. Pay attention to what exactly you are spending your time doing. Mostly thinking, planning, dreaming, right?Sometimes, it’s nice to daydream, but if it becomes a habit, it’s better to fix it. Try to be more present and limit your shower time to 10-15 minutes. It’s better for your skin too. You will see how much less time you need to get ready or how much earlier you will go to sleep. It’s always nice to have some extra time to spend on something else you like.
- Cook your meals in bulk
All of us like eating fresh food but cooking every time we are hungry isn’t a smart solution. Always cook more so you have food left for 1-2 more meals, dishes can be frozen in tupperware or kept in the fridge for the upcoming days. Avoid cooking time-consuming dishes every day!
- Shop online
Nowadays, technology means it is easier and more pleasant to shop online. If you are still buying devices, clothes and groceries and other items in stores or supermarkets consider purchasing them online. They can be quickly delivered to your door saving you time and even money.
To sum up, we advise that you apply all of the aforementioned techniques gradually, try to be more disciplined and be patient with yourself. Nothing will happen in an instant but the sooner you begin the faster you will get your desired outcome.
Hopefully we can help you accelerate your journey in reaching the top of your productivity. If you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful please recommend it to others.
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