There is one thing all very successful business people do to stay organized and concentrated throughout the day. They all follow a work routine (schedule).
When you have a lot of assignments on your to-do list, you may feel confused, and find it hard even to get started. But having a routine gives structure to your day and allows you to get more done in less time.
Stephen Covey mentioned in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” “The key isn’t to prioritize what is on your agenda but to plan your priorities.”
More than 40 % of the time at work is spent unproductively, according to a study by Atlassian, but following and having a routine and putting a few strategies in place to coordinate your day can change that figure dramatically.
Here are fourteen strategies for improving your schedule and enhancing your productivity.
Technology can be an advantage or a curse depending on how you prefer to use it. While social media is excellent for communicating with friends, it can also seriously destroy your productivity. But, by utilizing the same technology, you can get more satisfied by using time management tools that help you progress with your time management skills. Thanks to the tools, you can block unnecessary sites or make it easier to complete tasks that usually took longer to achieve.
For instance, if you are the easily confused kind, you can use the app Leechblock. This app is an add-on that stops you from spending your time by way of restricting your use of time-wasting websites. Using Leechblock, you can block yourself from reaching social media, email or your other websites when working on your computer.
2. SCHEDULE OUT EVERY DAY
It is harder to find out the optimal schedule for your work routine than you might think. What many people don’t realize is that each day is a regular balancing act between your energy level and different demands. There’re emails you have to send, meetings you have to attend, and hordes of other tasks that may adversely influence your overall day’s productivity.
Sometimes it gets rather sad. There are times when you have absolute freedom to set your hours. At other times, you find out yourself forced into a rigorous schedule. Also, while you сould obtain much in your early hours, other people you need to partner and communicate with to finish tasks might prefer to work at night.
There is no one perfect formula. It is all about what works best suits the individual. In fact, the most productive people that the world has ever known to use remarkably different scheduling techniques. The techniques each have used much depends on their personalities, their circumstances, the task at hand.
A great example is a politician Winston Churchill who broke up his day with dedicated regular whiskey, naps and worked late into the night.
If you are a parent with an 8 – 5 work, you need to form a solid routine that favors you. For instance, you might be likely to get more accomplished by scheduling out every hour of your day, and guaranteeing that everything has its place in the schedule.
3. FOCUS ON THREE BIG TASKS A DAY
It is simple to get caught up in the necessary day-to-day emergencies, but it is essential to remember your big tasks. One of the useful ways I do this is by concentrating on getting three big tasks done every day. Write these tasks at the top of your do-to-list and schedule your day around them. This helps me to avoid working on small tasks and concentrate on more needle-moving work.
Avoid distractions and do not let anyone interrupt you while you are working on these three things. According to Atlassian, employees spend over 2 hours every day recovering from distress.
4. EAT THE FROG FIRST
Tim Ferriss wrote in his book, “Being busy is most often used as a form for avoiding the few critically necessary but uncomfortable actions.”
We’ll do anything we can to avoid doing the thing we scare the most. But the tasks we dislike most are usually the most significant. Instead of bothering about that task all day, it is better to “eat the frog” first.
If you eat a frog first (do your worst task before anything else) then the remaining of your tasks will seem easy in contrast. You will be able to better concentrate on them because you will not be thinking about that dreaded task.
5. KEEP YOUR WORKING SPACE CLEAN
Do you have a habit of keeping your desk dirty? If you find yourself returning more mess than you remember leaving, then that could be preventing your ability to get work done. In my point of view, cleanliness equals productivity, and a dirty workspace equals unproductivity.
While you could give a lot of reasons, keeping piles of things does not mean you are organized in the classic sense. It could restrict your space to do the work, and you could get very little done. Or even possibly, none, at the end of the workday.
For example, for you to get enough time in your day, you may choose to have a clean start every morning. You can clean the room and make your bed before you leave. Having a clean place to return after a hard day at work will help keep you productive and concentrated throughout the day. It is similar to having a personal sanctuary that keeps renewing you better when you return from work.
6. SCHEDULE TIME IN BLOCKS
If you are jumping from one thing to another thing, it can feel like you are busy, but the truth is you are not getting much done. One of the ways to be more productive is to take one of your big tasks and schedule out a part of your day to concentrate on it.
Leadership mentor Michael Hyatt wrote on his blog, “Your mind can concentrate deeply for a limited amount of time. Dedicate it to your most critical thinking.”
Performance and productivity are at their top during continuous 90-minute intervals, according to a study from Florida State University, so schedule your time in 90-minute pieces. During that part of the time, do not work on any other task, and avoid all confusions. Let your team members be informed that you will be busy then, so you can concentrate without getting interrupted.
7. AVOID PROCRASTINATING
Sometimes, it is hard to kick procrastination to the curb. Even the most productive people may find out themselves fighting the menace off at times. Procrastination slows you down, destroying your productivity.
The point is, when you have a lot on your plate, you can manage to push something to the side. However, by pushing it to the side, it only means that some task will get lost in the mix. And, if you were running a project, it means that accidents will occur that will not be sorted out before the work is due.
To keep productive, you have to find out the ways of slaying that dragon of procrastination.
8. BATCH TASKS TOGETHER
Many employees demand to be good at multitasking, but that is a myth. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that productivity decreased by 40 % when people tried to do two or several things at once.
Instead of trying to finish a lot of tasks done at once, group your similar tasks and get those finished at the same time. For instance, that could mean making all of your phone calls during a chosen hour or organizing all your content at once.
Batching your work will let you to better concentrate on the task at hand and make you more productive during your time blocks.
9. DON’T FORGET TO EAT
Have you ever tried to get concentrated when you are hungry? Haha, tell me about it. As entrepreneurs, we try to be working on so many things with limited time, and sometimes we forget to eat or drink. We do not even realize how thirsty or hungry we are until it is too late. Make sure you do not go hungry by having easy to prepare meals or ready-made meals. Another way is having healthy (or not so healthy) snacks in your office or close by so you can grab it when needed. I always have water around as well because I am the worst person when I am dehydrated.
10. DON’T EAT LUNCH AT YOUR DESK
Did you know that 62 % of Americans eat lunch at their desk? While I’m not American, I’m ashamed to admit that I most unquestionably fell into this category of people. Admittedly I was more productive by working and eating at the same time. Multitasking, right? Wrong.
Research has shown that the easy act of eating our lunch anywhere but at our desks leads to us being better able to manage workplace stress and also gives us high energy for the afternoon. Real estate company CBRE has even gone so far as to prevent desk lunches in their Toronto office.
11. TURN OFF FACEBOOK
Facebook among many other social media can be a huge time waster! Stay away from it at all costs. Put your phone on silent and get it out of your reach, close the tab, or whatever it takes. It may first lead to a simple update check, and then you may find out yourself on your phone every 15 minutes, and that destroys productivity! You need to stay concentrated and not get interrupted every few minutes – it is as simple as that. This also refers to any other distractions such as your emails, cell phone, etc.
12. TAKE BREAKS
No one is very productive 24/7. It is essential to take breaks throughout the day to give your brain a rest. That way, you can come back ready and refreshed to get more accomplished.
13. PARK ON A DOWNHILL SLOPE
There’s an excellent opportunity that when you have sat down to start or even proceed work on a project, you have felt confused, not knowing what to do first. Sometimes, it is just hard to get started.
Even writers such as Ernest Hemingway aren’t free to this issue. To flow in the morning and find motivation, Hemingway tried to end his writing sessions mid-sentence. It helped for a smooth start the next day because he could quickly finish the sentence and keep on going.
Hemingway’s method is the writing equivalent of parking on a downhill slope. It tricks our sometimes lazy brain into starting because it is starting from a simple base.
14. HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
I currently do not do this in the usual way, but because I work with two assistants, it helps me to stay on task and be as productive as them. If you do not work with someone, you can still have an accountability partner. The reason why this works is that when we commit, we do not want others to recognize we failed at it. So I advise finding someone where you value their judgment of you and ask them to hold you accountable. You might even desire to share your task list with them every day, so they know what you are up to and what you have achieved.
If you cannot find anyone close to you to hold you accountable, you can try to use Facebook groups to find an online accountability partner – where you would hold each other accountable so that it will be mutually helpful.
Ferris wrote in his book “In The 4-Hour Workweek”, “Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive. Interest, capacity, and mental strength all wax and wane. Plan accordingly.”
How do you maintain your productivity throughout the day? What are your best strategies to keep your day more productive?