It’s no secret that we all could use a bit more time around the office. Admittedly, I don’t have a secret cheat code to create unlimited time. However, there are some time-management hacks that can boost your productivity and create that extra time you desire. You might have heard the expression, “a penny saved is a penny earned”. Well, this is our compilation of tried and true strategies to earn back some time at work through productivity.
1) Audit Existing Time Strategies
First things first, gather the data. Forbes suggests using websites like Rescue Time, to understand just where your time is going before getting started on strategies. Tracking where your time usually goes will give you insight into what needs to change, and also motivate you to make those pesky behavior changes. The amount of thoughtless time spent on something that wasn’t on your to-do list might be surprising.
Urgent tasks don’t necessarily equal the most important tasks. Separating these in your mind, and then putting the important tasks at the forefront of your day will help center your attention when it’s at its pique. That most important thing might be a daunting thing to tackle because there’s usually a lot of stress intertwined with it. When you get that important task done first, you can go about the rest of your day knowing the worst is behind you.
3) Plan Your Attack
Plan out your day before you even get started. “1 minute of planning saves 10 minutes of work later.” Forbes suggests a plan that is two-fold: at the end of each workday, clean your desk and create a list of tomorrow’s most important to-do’s. Then, after arriving that morning, schedule them into your plan for the day. Not only is it a great time-management practice, but it will help you decompress at the end of the day and arrive focused in the mornings.
4) Eliminate Distractions
There are plenty of articles and research that agree, multi-tasking is not humanly possible. Even though it feels like you’re getting more done, you’re actually spending twice as long to accomplish half as much. Turning off those notifications and interruptions will also help you to accomplish your tasks with your full attention and ability (one thing at a time).
5) Set a deadline
Some of our most productive moments are when we’re racing against the clock to meet a deadline. You can hack this natural inclination by giving yourself deadlines. That is, a deadline for each task, and also a deadline for when you’ll be leaving the office. Adopting this strategy is effective for beating procrastination and can make your work day more engaging and dare we say, fun!
6) Delegate Tasks
It’s simple, delegate any task that is not one of your strengths. When delegating, also keep in mind your team’s strengths and assign tasks to people who are good at them. This will save valuable company time because people generally spend less time on tasks they are good at. Doing this will also free up your time to focus on some of the more important tasks like building relationships with clients, or aligning your mission. So, don’t wait to start delegating, it’s good for your whole team.
7) Be Specific
When planning your attack and making to-do lists, the more specific you are about each task, the more focused and readily progressing toward the end-goal. So, each mother task gets subcategories to check off, keeping you on track and on pace with your efforts. This tactic will also help you group similar tasks together which also increases productivity.
8) Take Exercise Breaks
Exercise: it’s definitely a strategy to boost your overall health and wellbeing, but did you know it helps with focus? Being mindful while getting your blood pumping helps strengthen attention and renew your mind by taking that much-needed break. Exercising daily is what is considered a ‘pillar habit’ which leads to other good habits, but if that sounds like a lot, remember that a 5-minute walk is still exercise and can at the very least, boost your mood!
9) Refine Your Tools
With technology, you can automate processes or connect systems to be more efficient around the office. Quick Base has many methods for automating and integrating systems, but one example is a live spread sheet that can be updated by your whole team in real time. Switching to systems like this can save time going back to check, share, or correct old-fashioned spreadsheets.
10) Try the 2-Minute Rule
Forbes explains that the 2-minute rule goes like this: Anything that can be done in less than 2 minutes gets done right now. Apply this rule to free up mental space, and utilize those throwaway moments just before a meeting starts.
11) Use a Tabata Timer
Here’s how you can integrate those new exercise breaks you were so excited about. Studies show that chunking your tasks helps to maintain a consistent quality of focus throughout the day. So, as the day progresses, instead of slowly fatiguing, you’ll be able to use that A-quality attention in spurts! This article suggests that 90 minutes of work between 10-minute breaks is the longest interval that you should be doing straight. If maintaining attention for 90 minutes without distraction sounds like a pipe dream, start with shorter intervals first. You can always work your way up from 25 minutes of work sandwiched between 5-minute breaks. Accepting yourself where you’re at is key to adopting better habits.. which leads us into our next point…
12) Kill Your Inner Perfectionist
If you value productivity, you’ll need to kick the habit of striving for perfection. Constantly spending time returning to the same tasks to edit them is a major time-suck. Next time you notice yourself doing this, remind yourself that no one expects it to be perfect. What you produce is good enough as it is, because you’re probably doing your best anyway.
So, if you implement just one of these strategies into your new productivity regimen, the results will speak for themselves. Any time gained is new time to dedicate to your personal vision– which really adds up! Let us know in the comments below if we missed any strategies that you swear by!
Abbey is a blog writer and content creator for work-related tips and tricks at Quandarycg.com. She works out of their office nestled in the city of Denver, Colorado. Abbey enjoys spreading the vision of this forward-thinking tech company across all social media platforms. She posts new stories daily, youtube videos every Wednesday, and writes blogs –like the one you just read– weekly! If you’re interested in reading more content like this, follow along on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn!