Modern life can seem like a never-ending rat race. Like Alice in Wonderland, it can often seem that you’re running in place just to keep up. Bosses are breathing down your neck, clients are asking for updates on their impossibly tight deadlines, and you’d like to get even a little ahead on your to-do list but it just seems to be growing and growing with no end in sight.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can work more efficiently. Buckle down and check out these 7 ways to boost your productivity and start finally getting ahead on your work in no time!
1) Schedule Your Day
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but many people actually don’t do it. Just having a to-do list isn’t enough- you’ll jump from task to task throughout the day and will end up being less productive than you normally would be. Schedule everything, even your lunch. It will help you focus on the task at hand, and it will make prioritizing come far more naturally.
And while we’re on the subject…
You know what’s important. Other people don’t. If someone else tells you they need something and it’s urgent, don’t take them at face value. Unless it’s a true emergency, you know in your gut what you need to get done and what can wait. Prioritize your own tasks first and foremost and get them done before you allow others to put their own work on your already considerably large mountain.
3) Learn To Say No
It doesn’t feel good to say no, not to your co-workers- and especially not to your bosses! But if your plate is already full, you have to say no until you can clear it. If the person insisting is a manager or your boss, and they won’t let you say no, you have to have a conversation with them and explain that you’re overworked and that they have a capacity issue on their hands.
4) Tune Out
Chances are you’ve always got your email open and are constantly responding to work chats or quick emails. But if you’ve got something important to do or you’ve got to turbo through some tasks- turn it all off. Put on an autoresponder, turn off your phone, and dedicate the time the task needs. You’ll get more done if you’re not constantly being taken out of your productivity zone by the bleeps and bloops of incoming messages.
5) Stop Multi-Tasking
You may think that you’re really good at multi-tasking, but it’s overwhelmingly likely that you’re not. Studies have shown that very few people are truly good at multitasking, and for most people multitasking actually severely degrades their productivity. Unless you’re one of those multitasking wunderkinds, set a timer and work on one task and one task only for a set period of time, scheduling breaks in-between your focus sessions. You’ll be surprised how much more efficient you’ll be!
6) Stay Positive
Resist the urge to complain about your situation. Complaining about your workload can create a really addictive rush of self-pity and emotion, but it ends up being a negative feedback loop that only hurts your productivity and makes you focus on how much work you have to do at the expense of actually doing it.
Instead of looking at how much you have to do, look at what you’ve done and stay be positive. Don’t look at how much you have to do today- look at how much you’ve already done. The positive feedback will help you stay motivated and productive!
7) Take Breaks
This one might seem counterproductive- after all, how can breaks help you get more work done? Actually, however, brief breaks have been proven to re-energize you and actually make you more efficient- your productivity will nosedive the longer you stare at a computer screen, not to mention the headaches that can follow.
Try to take at least 5 minutes every hour to stretch, walk- do anything but look at your computer screen. It may feel like wasted time, but it’s not. In fact, it’s more like a time investment- that five minutes will definitely help you out more in the long run when you return to your task fresh and re-energized!