10 Productivity Techniques That Will Help You Get More Done In Less Time
Productivity isn’t always about doing more—it’s about optimizing your time. When you use your time effectively, you’re left with more time for balance and whatever else you enjoy in life. Read our list of 10 productivity hacks to help you make the most of your time.
- Break Down Goals
- Start With a Big Task First
- Group Alike Tasks
- Timed Blocks of Work (Pomodoro)
- Eat Brain Food
- Reduce Screen Time
- Learn How to Say No
- Schedule Time for Emails
- Manage Notifications
- Block Distracting Websites
1. Break Down Goals
Having big goals can be overwhelming, as it’s hard to know where to begin. And sometimes the goal seems so big you don’t know how you’ll ever achieve it. It feels demoralizing, and when you can’t see an end in sight, you’re more likely to procrastinate.
Break up your big goals into small, actionable steps, and give yourself a small reward when you complete a step. Consistent accomplishments will motivate you to keep going.
2. Start With a Big Task First
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
That famous quote can be applied to how to schedule your workday. Don’t put off your big tasks. The longer you put off a big task, the more space it will take up in your brain. Spare yourself the stress that can come with procrastination and take on the big task first. That way, once you’ve completed it, you’ll feel accomplished for the rest of the day no matter what happens.
3. Group Alike Tasks
Do you rapidly jump between different types of tasks? When we force our brains to move from task to task, we hinder our productivity. Our brains need time to adjust and switch gears. Writing a blog is much different than checking your email or making a call. Our brains work best when they can focus on one type of task at a time.
Consider which tasks require the same kind of brainpower. If you have calls to make, set aside time to make a few calls in a row instead of spreading them throughout the day. Group other alike tasks such as writing, planning, scheduling, etc. so that your brain can stay in the zone.
4. Timed Blocks of Work (Pomodoro)
Taking breaks from work is important. When we bury ourselves in work and refuse to come up for air, we burn ourselves out. Our brains and bodies need rest. The Pomodoro Technique prevents burnout by segmenting work into productive blocks of time, with timed breaks in between each block.
The Pomodoro method or other similar timers will help you allocate specific time for work and specific time for breaks. That means there’s no checking a quick status update during your work session and there’s no completing more work once it’s time to rest.
5. Eat Brain Food
A car can’t get anywhere without fuel, and neither can your body. But which foods provide your brain with the best fuel to encourage optimal productivity?
Refined carbs and excess sugar actually hinder your brain’s ability to function. Enhance your productivity with foods that boost your focus, such as foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon or avocados. And when reaching for a beverage, make that beverage either water, tea, or coffee.
☕️ Learn more about foods that will increase your productivity: 4 of the Worst Foods For Your Brain And What to Eat Instead.
6. Take Digital Breaks
How often do you check your phone each day? How about each week? Sure, you may need your computer screen for work, but what about all that extra screen time spent on your phone? Get out of the habit of looking at your phone every moment by keeping your phone out of the bedroom. You don’t need your phone before bed, and you don’t need to look at it first thing in the morning. You’ll get your day off to a better start without the distraction. Implement this strategy for break times too. During your lunch break, instead of turning to your phone to scroll through the news, allow yourself a small digital break.
7. Learn How to Say No
For many people, saying no is very difficult. Despite having our own goals for the day, we set them aside when a friend or co-worker asks for our help or invites us out for a drink. But when we say yes to everything, it leaves very little room for our own productivity, and you may find the productive day you had planned for yourself has fallen by the wayside.
We’re not suggesting you become a grinch and stop making time for friends and family, or that you should automatically reject every request from your co-workers. But permitting yourself to say no now and again will help you manage your time.
Consider your own goals and where you want to devote your energy. It’s okay to say no.
8. Schedule Time for Emails
Jumping between tasks is a major hindrance on our productivity, as our brains can’t switch gears as quickly as we'd like them to. Leaving an important task to check your email every ten or fifteen minutes will make that task take all the longer.
You may receive several important emails in a day, and it’s important to make time to respond to them. But don’t let those emails interrupt all of your other work. Dedicate specific times of the day to deal with your emails, and only your emails. They can wait longer than you think.
9. Manage Notifications
How many times in a day are you distracted by a notification, whether it be on your computer, phone, or other smart devices? It could be anything from a text to an unsolicited Facebook request from a distant cousin inviting you to play Candy Crush for the umpteenth time.
It takes over 20 minutes to get your brain back on task after a distraction, so interruptions are no joke. Manage your notifications on every device. It can be a frustrating process, but one that’s well worthwhile if you want to optimize your productivity.
10. Block Distracting Websites
Of course, we all know it’s not just other people’s notifications that have the power to distract us. We do it to ourselves too. How many times have you become bored with a task and switched over to Instagram to see what your friends or even strangers are up to?
Don’t fight the battle for productivity alone. Block distracting websites with a website blocker that allows you to customize when you’re allowed to access which applications. Make your computer an impenetrable fortress of focused productivity.
Focus blocks distracting websites and applications to help you establish productive bursts of work. We aim to make Focus a powerful, multifaceted ally in your pursuit of productivity. Get started with a free 7-day trial of Focus!
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