We live in a world where having access to the Internet at all times is commonplace. Almost every single person has immediate access to all of the information they could ever need, right at their fingertips. These advances in technology, namely unified communications solutions, mean that theoretically, we could work from anywhere efficiently and easily.
With this in mind, it’s very easy to get distracted by requests and smaller tasks. So instead of being a slave to these great new technologies, try to learn to use them to your advantage.
Don’t get weighed down, consider the following 24 ways that you could increase your productivity:
- Set goals. Decide what you need to get done today, and focus on that single-mindedly. It might help to write down what you plan to get done during your day and tick them off as you complete them. This will not only help to keep you on track but also give you a sense of satisfaction as you see items checked off.
- Say no. If a task isn’t important, don’t waste time on it. It’s easy to become weighed down under a pile of minor tasks which will stop you from hitting your goals for the day. Delete it from your to-do list for the day or delegate the job to someone else.
- Get something done every morning. Pick a short, small task, and make sure you get it done first thing. This will help you to build momentum so that you can take on other tasks.
- Turn off your phone. Technology is only useful if it’s empowering you. If you’re out with an important client, or even if you’re in the office working to a tight deadline, go off the radar for a while. It’ll help you concentrate on the task in hand rather than checking to see if you’ve got a message or being interrupted by calls, which are likely to break your thought flow.
- Try time boxing. Give yourself half an hour to get as much done as possible. Clear lots of small tasks to boost your morale.
- Start early. If people are always coming in to your office and distracting you, head to the office an hour or two early and start work before they are there. You’ll probably find that you’re more productive in that hour or two than you are for the rest of the day.
- Schedule e-mail checks. If you aren’t expecting an important email, close your e-mail client. Check it at the start of each hour and give yourself a set period of time to respond to mails. Then close your client again.
- Take frequent breaks. Don’t burn yourself out. Take breaks throughout the day to keep your mind alert. If you’re starting to feel sluggish, step outside for a minute or two and get some fresh air. When you return to your desk, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go.
- Look after your health. If you’re sick, stay away from the office until you get better. Not only will this stop you from spreading your illness, but if you’re under the weather, the work that you do is unlikely to be to your normal high standards.
- Use out-of-the-office notifications. Your IT guys paid for a great unified communications solution, so use it to make sure that people know if you’re going to be unreachable. This will stop people from e-mailing, calling and messaging you for a response when you’re out of the office or busy.
- Use agendas. People can work more effectively if they know what their responsibilities are.
- Visualize success. Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking.
- Fill the gaps. Use the time you’re stuck waiting in line, or waiting for the kettle to boil, to read articles, catch up with Twitter, et cetera.
- Instinct. Trust your instincts.
- Delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself. You’re part of a team so help each other out.
- Use the right tools. Invest in some good tools; they’ll make your life a lot easier.
- Stop being a perfectionist. Sometimes, good enough really is OK. It’s certainly better than not finishing the job at all because you were focused on making everything perfect. You could spend hours perfecting something and it won’t be any better than it was before.
- Get a hobby. Having something to take your mind off work will make work go more smoothly.
- Variety. If you have lots to do, break related tasks up so you don’t get bored.
- Build good habits. It takes 30 days to make something a habit. Work on changing one bad habit at a time for best results.
- Set small goals. If a task is too daunting, break it up.
- Shut out distractions. Tell people when you have something important to do, and shut yourself in the office with no distractions until you get that task done.
- Make yourself accountable. Once you’ve committed publicly to a deadline, you’ll have more motivation to get the task done. The more people that know you’ve got a deadline to hit, the more likely it is that you’ll strive to get everything done on time.
- Take your laptop with you. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done on the plane, on the train, or in a hotel room.
This article was written by Wayne on behalf of Insignia, providers of crisis communication training.
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