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Productivity = Getting More From Your Limited Time

Do you get bored because you have so much time on your hands that you just don’t know what to do with yourself? Not likely.

If you are like most of us, you get to the end of the day wondering how the time went by so fast and you still have important items on your to do list! After all, there are only so many hours in a day. I used to think about writing my congressman to pass a bill to increase that from 24 to 36 so that I could squeeze it all in…

That isn’t to say that you might not already be productive. You probably get a lot done pretty regularly, but in spite of that you could probably increase that productivity. And let’s face it, being more productive means YOU end up with more time to use to pursue activities that you enjoy. More ME time, or more quality time with your family.

And it won’t hurt your career path either!

How to Increase Your Productivity

1. Try using a timer.

At the beginning of a task, pause to decide how long the task should take. Set a timer for that amount of time, and get to work! Why would using a timer help productivity?

• No clock watching necessary, you will know when the stopping point arrives.

• If you know there is an expectation to finish in a certain amount of time, chances are you won’t allow distractions to interfere. You want to meet or beat that timer! It is far easier to set distractions to the side until the task is done. This can be very effective at helping you to focus.

2. Don’t be a Perfectionist.

Tasks were not created equally – they do not all require the same level of accuracy. While there are those who might spend 10 minutes getting a stamp placed perfectly on the envelope corner, most of us just slap it on and put it in the mailbox without worrying about whether it will reach the target location.

• Are you aware that you are spending too much time on smaller and/or less critical tasks? Be sure to determine before you begin how good it needs to be.

• Consider the 80/20 rule on larger projects to avoid spending 80% of your time on less important aspects of your work.

3. Make a to-do list at the end of the day before and prioritize.

This practices makes you plan ahead what you need to do. When you do it the day before, you are more aware of what still needs to be done, based upon your stopping point. Your mind is already engaged, where waiting until the next day can get you off to a slow start. Prioritizing that list will work even better.

• There are usually 3 important tasks that are more important than all the other items on the list combined.

• Check off each task as you go for a sense of accomplishment!

4. Beware Email and Facebook.

It is amazing how many rabbit holes you can go down just by making a “quick” check of your email or Facebook. You can lose a lot of time! Leave that for short, scheduled reviews 2-3 times throughout the day.

5. Focus on one task at a time.

Research tells us that you will get much more done by focusing on one thing at a time rather than bouncing around from item to item.

Use your time more effectively at work, and you will end up with more time to enjoy life! And using an offshoot of Number 5 above, don’t try to implement all of these suggestions at once. Pick one item at a time and practice for a week until it feels comfortable, then move on to the next. You will be amazed at how much your productivity soars.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our staff writers come from various backgrounds in the neuroscience, personal development, brain science and psychology fields. Many started out as contributors!

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