Do you often find yourself wishing you were more productive? You start your day optimistic that you'd complete four important projects, but you end up completing just one.
You wonder where the time went. You're disappointed with yourself. You know you could do better.
You know you need to be efficient because you have a better chance of getting more out of your life. But how do you boost your efficiency?
1. Get off to a fast start – Whether you're at work or at home, be mentally and physically prepared to work and get your hands dirty.
For example, visualize yourself driving to your office. When you get to your office, what's it going to be like? Think about it, include details.
Are there three huge stacks of paperwork piled on your desk? Which pending projects will you tackle first? If you started a project a couple of days ago and never finished it, start there. It might just take you two or three hours of work to complete it.
Basically, you want to condition your mind to what lies ahead before you get there physically. When you're faced with work, you're already mentally prepared to tackle what needs to be done.
2. Get into an anticipating mind frame – If you think about what will happen, you can prepare yourself for any challenge. That way when it happens it’s smooth sailing.
Let's say you need to do the laundry but the kids are going to be home from school any time now. You anticipate that they'll be hungry when they get home so you take out the fruit salad you made yesterday and get the juice boxes out. You set them on the counter, ready for your kids to snack on.
3. Have a method to keep track of your tasks and stick to it – You can get more things done if you find a method that works for you — whether it's writing things in your calendar, keeping a small notebook in your purse at all times, using your smartphone to make your to-do list, and so on.
It's a good idea to have a way of checking off items on your list. This way you know exactly how many tasks are left for you to do and which ones they are. You don’t have to worry about remembering them all, which can be another time waster.
I, myself have been more productive and saved time by making notes of the things I need to do. With so many things on your mind, it just makes things easier.
Why not try two or three methods until you find the method that works for you? Just because creating a to-do list by talking into her smartphone works great for your sister doesn't mean the same method will work for you. You'll want to find and stick with the method that helps you get more tasks completed.
4. Minimize the interruptions – You can be polite in letting people know you don't have time to chat. A simple, "I'm sorry, but I can't chat right now, but I'd love to have a chat with you over lunch if you’d like?" If you make this a habit, others around you will know not to interrupt you when you're working.
5. Keep your meetings short – If you have control over how long meetings go at the office, aim for 30 minutes and not a minute more.
Be prepared when you go into a meeting as well. Have a written agenda. This way you can quickly go over your points.
6. Be ready to praise your efforts every day – Perhaps you've been working on a huge project for weeks and you've finally completed it. Or maybe you managed to cook a wonderful meal for your family and friends. Whatever it is, it's important that you recognize your hard work. You need to realize that you are getting things done. Appreciate your efforts and the results.
7. Give yourself enough personal time in the morning – Do you need one hour to get showered, eat breakfast, and prepare your to-do list for the day? If you do, try getting up early enough that you'd actually have that full hour. Respecting your own needs translates to you being prepared emotionally to get things done.
You may still find yourself feeling like you could get more things done. But the good news is that there are many ways you can boost your efficiency and productivity.
Just going through the tips we shared may have inspired you to develop your own methods of getting more done every day. And that's awesome! In any case, you have nothing to lose by trying out some of the tips here. And if they work for you, then you have to stick to them.
All it really takes from you is to put some effort. Pretty soon, you'll notice that you're getting a lot more accomplished every day.