Tuesday, 1 August 2017

10 Ways to Maximise Productivity

By Ellie Constantinou

Someone sold us the idea that in order to be productive, we just have to work harder. The reality is, we just need to work (and live!) smarter. The key to increased productivity is organising and prioritising, so we’ve got 10 steps you can take to make the most out of your precious time:

Learn to say “No”. There isn’t time for everything or everyone! If you’re one of those people that wants to help everyone and can’t say no to helping your friends when they need it, you’ll probably find that you’re spending more time being productive with other people’s tasks rather than your own. This isn't to say don't ever help anyone again, but rather that you should treat your time as your most valuable asset and share it wisely.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It might be the case that you’ve started to write to-do lists and ended up with pages of tasks that you couldn't possibly complete in one day. That’s okay! Just because not everything got ticked off doesn't mean that you didn't accomplish anything. What’s important is to organise your to-do list in order of importance to ensure that you’re getting the most important things done. Anything that hasn't been completed today can just be moved over into tomorrow’s list.

Maintain a routine, Another simple solution but it works wonders! This can include making sure you get the same amount of sleep every night and then getting up and out of bed at the same time everyday, even if you don't have anywhere to be. Keeping a routine allows you to remain focused on your plans for the day and highlights the habits or tasks that waste time throughout the day, allowing you to be most productive.

Wake up an hour earlier. It sounds horrible but once it becomes a habit, it’s so worth it. Waking up an hour earlier than you need to everyday gives you 60 whole minutes to do things that you normally wouldn't have time for. This could be a workout or visit to the gym, the chance to read a book or anything else that would normally take time out of your working day. It might even be that you can get more work done in this hour, because everyone else is asleep!

Save things for later. It’s so easy to get distracted by things that are easily classed as productive. For example, you might read an article for an essay and then get distracted by another article or website that’s mentioned. Next thing you know, you’ve read five articles and forgotten what the first one was about, as well as wasted an hour of your time. Instead, bookmark links or use the ‘Add to Reading List’ option on your iPhone to save links for later. If you’re taking our advice from the point above and waking up an hour earlier everyday, this would be the perfect time to catch up on the links you’ve saved!

Take days off. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is to do nothing at all. It’s so easy to burn out, especially when you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and are constantly on the go. That’s why it’s important to take days out for yourself and your mental wellbeing, where work and responsibilities are put on hold. This might be a morning off, where you don't respond to any emails or phone calls, or a whole day off consisting of some well deserved retail therapy.

Plan your day. This might seem like the most simple thing to do but research has shown that planning your day either the night before or as soon as you wake up makes you more likely to effectively distribute your time and energy. By knowing exactly what you have to do and when, you’re more likely to stick to your plan and tick everything off your list, without wasting time on unnecessary tasks.

Take advantage of all your time. We waste a lot of time, more than we realise. For example, the time it takes us to commute to work or university or the time we spend waiting for the doctor/dentist. This time could be used for meaningful tasks that you might not otherwise have time for, for example reading a book or catching up on emails. Much more productive than aimlessly staring into space or playing games on your phone.

Prioritise progress over perfection. Sometimes it’s enough to just complete a task, without it being perfect or up to the highest possible standard. Perfection isn't necessary but progress is. It’s far more productive to complete tasks and tick them off your list than to spend hours agonising over the smaller details of a task that won't make too much of a difference to the bigger picture.

Stop getting distracted. Stopping whatever you’re doing to check your emails every few minutes or opening up Instagram just to mindlessly scroll through it means it’s going to take you twice as long to do the task you’re trying to complete. Every time you change from one task to another, your brain needs a moment to readjust and refocus on your original task. Staying focused on one thing at a time allows you to work with no distractions and get the task completed much quicker and even to a better standard.


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