Deep, deep down everyone wants to be more productive. The thought of accomplishing more while not feeling like your working more is an attractive prospect. But, increased productivity is a skill that takes months, if not years, to develop and sustain. But, every change in lifestyle has to start somewhere. Try implementing these 5 quick productivity tips to become more efficient and get more work done throughout the day.
Productivity Tip #1: Use Multiple Monitors
If you’re not using more than one monitor, i want you to get up, go to best buy and buy one right this instant. Forget the cost, just buy one today. Using multiple monitors will pay dividends over the years by increasing how much work you can actually accomplish.
The power of the click, reduce how many you make each day and I promise you’ll be a winner. For example, when I was helping to develop a telephone sales operation a few years back, our team was averaging 5 minutes a call and we were making around 40-50 of them every single day. When we started looking into optimizing our workflow for each call, we noticed a few things. Each call required going through multiple clicks (salesforce, linkedin, google drive, back to salesforce, starting/ending the call, etc). Well, we realized that a lot of time was wasted going through that entire process for each call. So, we made it easier for our time. By decreasing the number of clicks they needed to make from 20 to 15, we were able to increase efficiency and increase the number of calls they made per day from 50 to 80. And, as anyone who has done cold lead generation before can tell you, the name of the game is pure numbers. Reach out to more people and you’ll hear back from more people.
So how does this tie into having multiple monitors? Well, you’ll have to click less. If you need to analyze an excel document while typing up a report, it’s much easier to use two monitors and have them both up at once instead of working on one monitor and having to constantly switch back and forth. Switching tabs back and forth breaks your concentration, physical motion of typing and just ends up wasting a lot of time.
Productivity Tip #2: Do Work in 90 Minute Sprints
It’s hard staying focused when you’re working 9-12 hour days 5 times a week. At some point, on some random day, you’re going to feel tired when its crucial you stay focused and deliver your project on time. These are the moments we want to avoid at all costs. Being able to work through these down times is what can make or break your productivity levels at weeks end. That’s why I recommend, and personally implement, a strategy of working for 90 straight minutes and taking 10-15 minute break to recharge. Productivity isn’t about an hour or two of high level efficiency. Rather, it’s about a sustained effort over long periods of time that eventually lead to increased levels of work output. With that longer timeframe in mind, it’s crucial to take short, frequent breaks to ensure consistent productivity.
Battling these moments of drowsiness during the middle of the day are the worst. One tactic I use to help is using my 10-15 minute break after a 90 minute sprint to do a quick exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a few pushups, pullups or just going for a walk around the office. Get up, get your blood moving and shake off any drowsiness you’re feeling.
Productivity Tip #3: Work off Lists
One of the worst things you can do to your productivity levels is taking time throughout the day to figure out what you need to work on next. Those 5-10 minutes spent figuring out what task is the next highest level priority adds up and can result in wasting hours throughout the day. Spend the first 30 minutes of your day prioritizing your tasks and knock them out one by one. If you run out before the day is over, great! That’s when you can spend some time finding what needs your attention next. But, up til that point, you should be working your way down a list efficiently and productively.
Productivity Tip #4: Use Chrome Web Apps
One of the best way to stay organized is by using different tools and applications. Well, Google made it extremely easy for you, even more so if you have a Chromebook like myself. Organizing your workflow around a core group of apps that encompass all your daily tasks can help prioritize what needs to get done first and save you from wasting time. Not every aspect of your day needs to revolve around these apps, but checking them periodically throughout the day can keep you focused on what needs to get done and when.
Here are my top 3 apps I personally use throughout the day
Wunderlust – Create tasks and knock them off one by one
Evernote – Another great reminder/tasks tool
Google Calendar – Even if you’re not scheduling meetings, stay on top of your day to day schedule.
Productivity Tip #5: Turn off your phone and email
Sounds simple right, but you would be surprised by how much time you waste by having your phone out in front of you. To be honest, I’m guilty of this as well. I use to prop my iPhone up against my monitor so I could see when I got a notification. Sure, my job revolved around being on calls with clients and other members of my team, but seeing Facebook or texts from friends definitely were a distraction.
The only thing worse than your phone is your email. Email is truly the ultimate time waster and killer of productivity. Think about it for a second. Does it really matter if you respond to an email within a matter of minutes? Most people send emails not expecting an immediate response. In fact, people are more likely to ping you via gchat or instant messenger if they need you immediately. If it’s not urgent, email is always the go to form of communication. So, why break your focus and respond? To combat this time waster, check your email a few times a day and only when you find an appropriate break in your workflow where it isn’t a distraction from a higher priority task.
Increased productivity is an art. It’s a skill that takes time and effort to develop. However, if you slowly implement changes to increase your productivity, it will add up over the long run and eventually become ingrained in your work habits. At that point, it’ll be second nature and you’ll have no problem blasting through a 12 hour workday, every single day while performing at a high level.
Have some productivity tips yourself? What do you do to stay productive throughout the day?Leave a comment and let me know.