Do you ever feel like you have a million things to do all the time and no time to do it all in? This is a feeling I know all too well. Check one thing off my ‘to-do’ list and three take its place. Somebody make it stop! As aggravating as it may be, being busy is somewhat inevitable. We live in a fast-pace world where everyone is constantly moving from one task to another. The best way to combat the insanity? By increasing our day-to-day productivity. By increasing our productivity levels, we can get more tasks done in less time.
1. Get Up Earlier
I know, I know. Not everyone is a morning person. But you know what they say – “The early bird gets the worm”. Imagine what you could accomplish if you got up just one hour earlier. You could get a workout in, clean your house, or prep a healthy lunch for that day. That extra hour gives you a little more time to work. And if mornings aren’t your favorite, drink a little java and pump up the jams. You’ll be awake in no time.
2. Take Work Breaks
As counterproductive as it may seem, taking small work breaks can improve your concentration and efficiency. Research has shown that mental “breaks” boost your performance levels. Here’s a tip: set a timer to go off every 30 minutes. When the alarm sounds, take a five minute work break to do as you please. Get up and walk around (especially if you’re trying to get those steps in), stretch, scroll on social media, or watch a YouTube video. Then get back to work! The mental break will give you the small boost you need to make it through the next half an hour.
3. Make Some Lists
Every morning while you’re drinking your coffee or eating breakfast, make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish that day. Put stars next to the items that are of highest importance. Each time you complete a task, check it off of your list. At the end of the day, revisit your list. Anything that you didn’t accomplish that day gets moved to tomorrow’s list. In my experience, making lists declutters the mess of thoughts going through my head. Once I get pen to paper, my t0-dos become more clear and I get more stuff done!
4. Adopt the “Two-Minute Rule”
The “two-minute rule” is a concept thought up by entrepreneur Steve Olenski. Here’s the deal: if a task takes two minutes or less, do it ASAP. Olenski proposes that completing the task immediately takes up less of your time than putting it off until later. This is something that I have been practicing for several weeks now – and it really works! It also prevents me from forgetting to complete the task at a later date.
5. Get Rid of (or Hide) Distractions
*Buzz-buzz* Anyone else get super distracted by their cell phones while working? Between Facebook, Instagram, texting, and Buzzfeed, it’s a wonder how I get any work done at all! I sound like a movie theatre when I say this, but silence your cell phone! Better yet, put it in your drawer or in your bag. Out of sight, out of mind.
6. Invest in a Nice Planner
If you’re someone who has trouble staying on task, it might be helpful to plan out your day hour-by-hour. When you’ll eat, workout, write a paper, study, do paperwork, clean, etc. A planner can help you with this! This one has quarter hourly times from 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from inc.com