Are you tired of the latest productivity hack? Yeah, me too. I’ve read through all the ‘How to Increase Your Productivity’ articles, and honestly, they’re overwhelming. No one needs fifty ways to increase productivity. It’s too much. To save you time, I’ve narrowed it down to seven simple things you can do today to increase your productivity.
Multitasking doesn’t work. Period. It’s impossible for your brain can’t focus on two things at once. Multitasking is inefficient and ineffective and will only result in you spending more time to get the tasks done than if you focused on each task one at a time.
Speaking of focusing, make sure you take regular breaks when you’re working. It sounds counterintuitive, but giving yourself a five-minute brain break every so often will increase your productivity. Get up, walk around, grab another cup of coffee, and then get back to work. Your concentration will thank you.
Do similar things at the same time. It’s that simple. For example, how many times do you check your email a day? Ten? Fifteen? Why not make it three? Once in the morning, once around lunchtime, and once in the evening. Time is wasted when you stop and start every time an email comes through. A few other examples of tasks you can easily batch: phone calls, scheduling social media posts for the week, or meetings (i.e. scheduling multiple meetings in the morning so you can focus on completing work in the afternoons).
Follow the 1-3-5 Rule
At the start of every day or week, write down one big task or project you want to accomplish, three medium tasks, and five small tasks. The act of writing down your to-do list will hold you accountable, and breaking your to-do list up into smaller tasks will make it seem more manageable.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool that utilizes intervals of work and rest time to accomplish tasks. Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on getting as much work done as you can in that time frame. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break. This 30-minute increment is a Pomodoro. After you’ve completed four Pomodoros, take a longer 15-20 minute break. Lather, rinse and repeat until your to-do list is done.
There are numerous time management and team management applications that help you organize your projects, team members, and time. If technology is your things, give these a try:
- Asana: Organize your teams, tasks, and workflow all in one place.
- Click-Up: This communication and collaboration tool makes working with your teammates and clients a breeze.
- Evernote: This app is perfect for note-taking, task management, and organizing all in one place.
- Slack: Make working with others easier by utilizing a communication platform to keep it all straight.
- Freedom: This tool allows you to block websites and apps so you can minimize distractions.
Perhaps the most straightforward tool to increase your productivity that’s easier said than done is to say no. That’s it. Stop overloading your to-do list with projects and tasks that aren’t moving the needle forward. Be intentional about what you commit to and what you spend your time on. Saying no might be difficult at first, but your future self will thank you.