Time… We could all use more of it, couldn’t we? In reality, we are stuck with the time that we have. Today I am going to tell you how to use the time we have to get more work done. The reality is you have got to be more disciplined with your time and you have got to learn to say no! You also have to make sure that you don’t get easily distracted by things that can keep you from achieving your goals. This is the key to productivity, but you have to be clear on what it is that you are trying to achieve.
So… how do we become more productive? How do we use our time wisely? A good tip I have is for you to look back on your week and ask yourself, “What did I really achieve?” Have a look and see did you accomplish the goals that you set out at the start of the week. Did you achieve them? If you didn’t, what rabbit holes did you fall down? What stopped you from achieving your goals? If you don’t work this out it is going to be very hard for you to overcome these issues, because they work habits that will help you to get more work done. Today I am going to teach you a few habits to help you along the path to higher productivity. The reality of the situation is we can’t change the past, but we can start changing our future today!
The first thing that you need to have is some sort of to-do-list system. Everything is electronic these days, so I recommend Microsoft to-do for your phone and your computer. It isn’t the greatest to-do-list software on the market, but it definitely gets the job done, and it is handy to use as it works alongside Microsoft Outlook. If you think of something on the fly, you can quickly put it into your to-do-list. If an email comes into your inbox, you can quickly flag it up for a follow-up and it automatically puts it into your to-do-list. This also makes it easy for you to manage your inbox efficiently.
If you’re not using some form of to-do-list software you are certainly losing around 20-30% of your productivity. Every morning you should look at your to-do-list and use it to prioritise your daily activities. Decide what tasks are a priority and what tasks would be nice to get done.
Once you have decided what tasks are a priority, you should then put them into your diary. The next tip is to actually use your diary. Allocate time in your diary to tasks that are important but not urgent. If you feel like you haven’t accomplished what you should have this week, or catch yourself saying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” it is because you are trapped between the urgent and important tasks. This is going to happen at some stage no matter what. Things will come up, things will have to be fixed, but you have to carve out time in your diary for these tasks to be done, you can’t just jump straight onto them and not expect a delay to your urgent tasks!
Make sure to go through your diary the night before, or the morning at the latest. You can use this time to allocate what tasks are actually important and actually put time into your diary to carry them out. If a task is in your diary and there is time to do it, you have to do it. Obviously, if something more pressing comes up you deal with that issue first, but you are not allowed to delete any task in your diary. You have to do it there has to be time there for you to complete it. Once you have completed it you can then mark it off your to-do-list, that way you know that it’s done.
Other to- do- lists
Now … If you’re out and about and you get an idea or a brainwave, or you see something on Facebook or an advert, something you could use. You can have a separate list on your device specifically for this. For example, you can have one list specifically for task and only tasks and another list for ideas and brainwaves. So… If you find yourself with nothing to do, if your to-do-list is empty it’s always good to have a list like this as a fall-back. You can even use separate to-do-lists for things like content ideas you may see. You can create a swipe file, so if you see an ad you like on Facebook or a good post or link; you can just swipe it to put it in your swipe file for later.
If you have something that will take more than an hour to complete, something that requires more than a to-do-list such as a large scale project. You can use a tool known as Trello. Trello is very good if that thing on your to-do-list can’t be finished in an hour or less, if you can finish it in this time, keep it to your to-do-list, if it is bigger take it off that list and make it a project in Trello. Allocate time in your diary to go into Trello and work on the projects. You might have teams of people working on projects in here, but you need to have time allocated to have a look and get up to speed with all current projects. Now … If there are things in Trello that can be completed in less than an hour put them on your to-do-list and the next time you’re in Trello tick them off the list in there.
Basically you should use the likes of Trello for much bigger projects. For example, these projects might involve other people, they may be tasks that are to be completed but aren’t urgent. Each weekend go into Trello, pick a task, take the smaller tasks and put them into your to-do-list for that week. You will certainly see progress on each project and they should be completed much more efficiently using this manor.
Overall there is no big secret to getting more work done, other than being well organised. The key is having discipline. You have knowledge of to-do-lists, diaries and project management, I’m sure you have heard of programs such as Trello and Microsoft teams. But it is not all about these programs and lists; it is all about having the discipline to put it into some sort of system. These programs are useless, unless you take control yourself and use your time wisely. If used correctly these tools are a huge help in improving productivity, but you have to have the discipline and positive habits to make use of these tools correctly. If you can work on becoming more organised, you will, in turn, become more efficient. You need to work at this every day and eventually, it will become a positive habit that you will not even think about. You will just do it, look at each day as the start of a 7-day cycle and you will get better results.