Listen. We see the headlines; we watch the news. At times, it seems that no two people can agree on anything … ever. Because from politics, to what shows to watch, to the color of the dress,’ down to which soda team you’re on – or do you call it ‘pop’ – life has simply become divisive.
But – and we don’t mean to brag – we think we’ve found the one tie that binds us all. As in every single adult on the planet. Seriously.
Want to know what it is?
We are all impossibly, maddeningly, overwhelmingly busy. And it’s not like we haven’t discussed this before. It’s just that it’s the start of a new year, a time when everything feels rife with boundless opportunities and possibilities – like finally cracking the code of productivity so every day doesn’t feel like you’re barely treading water.
So in an effort to support your #newyearnewme, here are some tips on how to be more productive in 2019:
Analyze. Really take the time to think about what stands in the way of you getting as much work done as you need to. Are you rested? Are your colleagues too chatty? Does every ding, ping and buzz of your phone elicit a Pavlovian response from you? Do you multi-, multi-, multitask? Scrutinize your day to identify what stands between you and T.C.B.-ing – and look for solutions.
Prioritize. Just as we suggested for organizing your email, the same principles apply to your to-do lists. Separate your action items into three categories: today, this week, this month/quarter. Virtually everything you need to accomplish falls into one of those three categories, and knowing the correct order of events will help alleviate the stress of piling everything on yourself at once.
Monotask. Somehow, somewhere, multitasking’ was exalted on high, right up there with ‘busyness.’ But many would be surprised to learn – ourselves included – that multitasking is, in fact, counterproductive. We’ll give you a second to swallow that one because it kind of blew our minds, too. Instead, pick one task and see it through to completion – while doing nothing else.
Discipline. Sitting at a desk for hours isn’t easy. But there could be extenuating factors that, if improved upon, could help you become more focused and disciplined. Do you take frequent– arguably too many – breaks? Are you eating – or not eating – the right foods to fuel you? Does social media call to you throughout the day with her captivating siren song of pings, beeps and whistles? If so, find what works – and what helps you work – and do only those things.
PRO TIP: If your fingers’ social media muscle memory is too much to override, consider leveraging some programs like SelfControl, Freedom, StayFocusd, and Anti-Social, which block access to the sticky, slippery wormhole parts of the internet for specified periods.
Schedule. Email occupies 23 percent of our workday as we are likely to check it 36 times an hour. Crazy, right? So as we’ve mentioned before, try to …
- Schedule specific blocks of time throughout the day for checking your email, whether it’s once an hour for 10 minutes or a handful of times per day.
- Close your email as alerts, beeps and pop-ups from incoming messages are disruptive.
- Mark your calendar to ‘busy’ during those times. If you want to take that one step further, you can set an out-of-office reply for those designated times such as this:
“Due to high workload, I am currently checking and responding to email twice daily at 12n ET and 4 p.m. ET. If you require urgent assistance that can’t wait, please call me at 555-555-5555.”
See? That wasn’t so bad, was it? In fact, we’d argue that most of those are relatively small tweaks and adjustments that can yield big results by way of increased productivity. Who knows – maybe these minor changes can even – GASP! – earn you a little ‘free’ time. We know, we know. Free time is the stuff of legends but an adult can dream, right?
If you want to take your productivity to the next level, maybe it’s time to start delegating. See what you can delegate to save 15 hours THIS WEEK!