You can start using these simple tricks, habits, and ideas to improve productivity starting today.
- Truly understand what results you are striving for. Set and write down goals, post them everywhere (mirrors, office desk, computer, by the toilet…wherever).
- Use Work Bursts. Work in 90-minute bursts 3-4 times a day. During this time you focus only on one task until that task is complete, then move to the next task and so on. Imagine what you could do with 4.5-6 hours of uninterrupted time?
- Work on the most important things during your 90-minute work bursts. Work on the miscellaneous stuff during the other times. If you do the bursts right, you’ll have about 2-3 spare hours in an 8-hour workday.
- Check your email 2-3 times a day only. Check it at 9:30 (after your first work burst) then at 11:30 (after your second work burst) and at 3 or 4 (after your third work burst).
- Take 5-10 minute work breaks after your bursts to walk around, get coffee, or chat. Use these breaks to refresh and reset your mind, not to check your email. That’s covered above.
- Speaking of coffee, start working immediately when you arrive at work. Don’t prepare your first cup at work. Have it in hand and ready when you arrive.
- Resist distraction. Turn off the things that distract you like your phone, facebook alerts, email, etc. Anything that distracts you. Do this during your work bursts.
- Try the magic wand. If you could pull out a magic wand and get just one thing done today, what would it be? Start your day by thinking about this. Whatever comes to mind will likely be your top priority. Even if it seems trivial (like calling the dentist), once it’s done, you can move to the real top priority item.
What About Meetings?
I’m sure when you read this list, it sounds like it would be great on an ideal day. But many of you will have 2-3 meetings in a day and that eats up a lot of time. Especially since many of those meetings will have an after-meeting that lasts 30-minutes. Am I right?
That’s why the goals and work bursts are the keys to all of this. If those goals are always in front of you or you are being reminded, you can then step into the 90-minute time re-focused and ready to be massively productive.
How about you? What are some work tricks you use to stay productive? Let me know in the comments below.