The majority of us may have reached the point, where we’re starting to take on board more responsibilities, which essentially demand a greater deal of time and commitment. Realising we’ve only been given the same 24 hours in a day to get everything done, it seems near-impossible.
It’s easy to fall into this cycle of just casually taking each day as it comes; whilst lacking some form of structure or plan on how to approach them. Procrastination adamantly being one of our biggest challenges therefore making it feel like you’re not using your time as effectively.
Personally speaking, I’ve found the best way to tackle this – is through understanding the importance of working efficiently and implementing new strategies in order to establish a greater level of productivity. Time is our most valuable asset and, in essence, time is limited.
Since one of my main aims this year is to work towards being more productive and efficient with my time, I created a list of tips that I’ve come across and found to be particularly useful:
1. Work efficiently
Productivity isn’t just about spending prolonged hours on a particular task. If you aren’t really working, and essentially getting much out of it, then what’s the point?
For example, if I was to spend 5 hours on a task that should’ve just taken me about 30-40 mins, it shows my inability to keep to timings and this could also affect other tasks I had planned to complete.
Furthermore, when it comes to productivity, quality is much more important than quantity. You aren’t really being productive if the quality of the finished product is sub-par. Don’t just work long hours. Work efficiently.
2. Prioritize your most important tasks first
Things may not always go to plan and it’s very common to have written down a list of things you had set out to do for the week only to find you weren’t able to complete them all. Yet, you’ve still got tons of work left to do and now you find yourself rushing certain tasks to meet deadlines. So, you need to prioritize.
3. Turn Off Notifications (Keep a distraction list to stay focused)
Sometimes, we spend huge amounts of time on things that are very counterproductive, such as spending hours obsessively checking our social media feed.
Social media will always be there, there’s always going to be something new trending but what’s not always going to be there is the limited amount of time we have. Hence why it’s vital to invest and channel your attention towards the right things.
I try my best to not get distracted by the little things going on around me to ensure I’m focused on the most important tasks at hand. At times, it will mean turning off my phone for a few hours, deleting my social media apps or turning off my notifications.
4. Foresight and planning- make a reasonable to-do list
I always place an emphasis on planning the things you need to do beforehand as it’ll give you a more structured schedule. It helps you identify the things you might need to work on or focus more on.
However, in as much as it’s good to have everything planned out, you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too much to do. To-do lists often fail because we make them way too complex or the tasks are unequal. Some tasks will take a long time, others won’t take any time at all.
This creates an unbalance in the way we distribute our time, and this can lead to our to-do list becoming a procrastination tool. Because then we do the easy stuff, and then become really distracted on the hard stuff. Make a to-do list that you can follow easily.
5. Take breaks
Trying to do 7 hours straight work with no breaks is really a recipe for disaster. Don’t play yourself! You don’t want to burn out before you’re even able to start the next task.
I take a short break about after every 2 hours by either going out for a quick walk or grabbing a quick snack – make sure you keep to the set times to have your breaks so you don’t lose that motivation or momentum you had to carry on with the rest of your tasks.
6. Set small goals for the tasks – break tasks into smaller pieces
Working on any new project or assignment can seem overwhelming to begin with. First and foremost break it down. Give yourself enough time to thoroughly understand the task at hand. Break down the task into smaller pieces and then estimate how long they’ll take you to complete.
Start early on, so this gives you more than enough time to put everything together. Work on each small task every day, that way you won’t overwhelm yourself with too much task to do at once.
7. Stop and reflect
You need to ensure you’re actually making progress and not just ticking off each task without reflecting back on what you’ve done so far. Create a progress tracker; reflect on your strengths and weaknesses or any areas you know still needs working on.
Are you still struggling with your time management or just haven’t been keeping on top of things? Find alternative methods to work on the issue, if one way doesn’t work try another one!
If you experience a slump in your usual productivity, a lack of motivation might be the culprit. Rekindle your drive by reflecting on why you truly do your work.
Be intentional about wanting to be more productive with your time. It’s not an overnight process and will take a lot of discipline and dedication!
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