You can be more productive at work and be rewarded with more leisure-time and, of course, more money.
Here are some proven secrets of making the most of the 24 hours we all have.
Be a clock watcher
Track and limit the time you’re spending on tasks. Then see if you can cut it down. One way to do this is to have all the notes and reference you need at hand before you start. While working double-check facts and spellings. It will save you time fact-checking later and will make for greater efficiency.
Take regular breaks
This might sound counter-productive. But taking short breaks specially during a long drawn-out task actually helps to improve your concentration and maintain a constant level of performance. Just working steadily without a break usually results in a decline in performance.
Utilize small windows of time
A lot of time gets wasted during the day – waiting, commuting and so on. Have a folder at hand with things you can do in a few minutes and tackle them during this time.
Avoid those time-guzzling meetings
Meetings take up a lot of time and many of them end up being non-productive. Try to accomplish the same objectives through a phone call or via email. If you like the social aspect of meetings, get together over coffee once in a while.
Quit multi-tasking. You may have a long list of jobs to do but commit to a single task before moving on to the next. There’s an old nursery rhyme that still makes sense: “One thing at a time and that done well/Is a very good rule as many can tell.” And, oh, the joy of crossing off a job from your list!
Just don’t let any interruptions come in the way. Work time is work time and people around you, even if you work from home, will respect that. Unless it’s a dire emergency, don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked.
Take exercise breaks
This may also sound counter-productive but it isn’t. Your brain is still ticking while you are giving your body the exercise it needs.
Get 7-8 hours of sleep regardless
You don’t have to work long hours. You have to work smart. By denying yourself sleep, you are endangering your health. And haven’t you noticed that your efficiency levels actually drop if you don’t get that refreshing, renewing amount of sleep every night. 7-8 hours is the minimum.
Resist the allure of emails and notifications
An email just came in? You got a message on your phone? When you are working, you are working. Resist the temptation of looking at that email or notification –save it for later and keep your mind focused on your work.
Be proactive, not reactive
Don’t wait to be reminded about that task you have undertaken. Allot the requisite time for it and do it when you have time to spare. A deadline helps you focus but always chasing a deadline and reacting to urgent calls and reminders is not productive. And it’s injurious to your health.
Make your office space inviting
Working from a cluttered space where you have to sweep papers off your desk is not conducive to happy working which also equates with greater productivity. De-clutter your office space. In fact, make it a top priority on your to-do list. Then see how you can jazz up your office space –with plants, pictures, quotations to spur you on. Even a very small space can be attractive and inviting—just use your imagination. Make sure you have a comfortable chair for your desk and at least another one for lounging. You should want to get to your work every day.
You can either put in more and more hours and end up being less productive. Or work smart by using some of these efficiency tips to be more productive and have a lot more free time. Which one would you choose?