We all know that feeling of being busy all the time. You know how it is—no matter whether we have 10 or 10,000 things to do—when your superior or coworker asks for a favor at work, it’s hard to say no (not impossible).
The truth is that most of us have found comfort in being busy. It’s tempting to be the “busiest person” in the office. It feels like success. But here’s the thing: You’ve misunderstood the meaning of SUCCESS. Being more successful at work is also a matter of being productive with your time rather than just being busy.
That means the busier you are, the more productive time you will need to squeeze out of your day. And you’re definitely thinking it’s easier said than done.
Luckily, there are ways to streamline days and get more productive at work, even for a truly, overwhelmingly busy person like you.
Does it always seem like you’re falling behind your schedule? Are you constantly feeling like you will never catch up with the tasks that need to get done? If so, then here are a few productivity tips that might help you catch up and get everything done.
Let’s dive right in.
Focus on MITs first
There is a lot of otherness between “doing things right” and “doing the right things”. Doing things right is about being efficient while doing the right thing is being effective, but both are needed equally and urgently for peak productivity. You have got to identify the most important tasks on your list, making sure that the way you get things done is the best way possible. Don’t go all lickety-split to get everything done—work on high-value tasks first and let the other go if possible (delegate them).
Master the skill of deep work
We all have a few to-dos that could easily be knocked out—if anything, you’re taking too much time to get them done is because they’re just dull. At the same time, you have also got to-dos that are especially interesting and super difficult. These are the kind of to-dos that you can’t put at risk by multitasking or any other distraction. You need to invest serious time and effort to check off these to-dos from your list. This is where deep work practice comes in. Wondering what is deep work? Well, it’s the ability to focus without distraction on a demanding task to produce better results in less time. Master deep work and you’ll get extraordinarily productive at work.
Spend less time on email
When it comes to being productive, email is certainly one of the biggest elephants in the room. On average, people spend 28% of the workday reading and answering every email as it comes in. Have you ever tried SaneBox? It’s an email management software that identifies important messages, hides distractions, banishes annoying senders, reminds you to followup and even has Do Not Disturb that lets you weed out unimportant messages and focus more on the important stuff. Want to get more efficient with your day? Spend less time on email and start using SaneBox.
Try to pare down decisions
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits … I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
– Barack Obama
Let’s just say that there is one more thing that you could learn from Barack Obama i.e. how to choose the right decision to make. The point is—not every decision-making opportunity you face needs your attention. In fact, most decisions aren’t that important and can be conveniently outsourced or eliminated.
Use “The Eisenhower Matrix” to set priorities
Doing something efficiently that should not be done at all is the biggest productivity killer. When you’re trying to get more productive at work, it’s easy to get caught up in tasks that seem important, but aren’t. This is why it’s important to prioritize every to-do on your list. The Eisenhower Matrix makes it easier for you to figure out what you should work on and what you should ignore. The matrix results in four quadrants and here’s how they work:
- Quadrant 1—Do it now!—this includes tasks that are both urgent and important. You need to get these tasks completed as soon as possible.
- Quadrant 2—Take a rain check, do later!—this includes tasks that are important, but you don’t need to work on them immediately.
- Quadrant 3—Delegate, pass it on!—this includes tasks that are not important for you to answer it. You can delegate them to someone else.
- Quadrant 4—Trash it!—this includes tasks that are simply a waste of your time. You should identify and eliminate all of your quadrant 4 tasks as soon as possible so that you can get some time for your quadrant 2 tasks.
Time every task and activity
You’re probably doing your tasks as effectively as you could, but still, you feel like you don’t have enough time to get all the tasks done. That’s because you’re not managing your time properly. You’re giving yourself too much time to spend on a single task while you need to do the exact opposite. You should give yourself the minimum time you think you need to get a task completed effectively. Using a time tracking software like ProofHub helps a lot in this case. It allows you to keep track of every minute you spend working on your task so that you can’t start procrastinating or spend more time than needed.
Have a bit of music in the background
Have a bit of music in the background can help you enhance your focus and concentration. In fact, there are studies that indicate how people who work while listening to different types of music are happier and have increased the quality of their work. Looking for lasting workplace productivity? Find the right tune.
There you have it.
With these simple workplace productivity tips, you can stop procrastinating over how to survive a busy day and use the time that you have to get more tasks done.
Being busy isn’t necessarily a sign of success—being productive is.
Quick question: Which productivity tip are you going to practice first?
About The Author: Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub – a simple project management tool and a powerful Asana alternative. This Asana alternative not only simplifies project management but also aims to increase team productivity with quick team collaboration. Vartika likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.