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Try these ten productivity tips and hacks to help you focus and complete your to-do list.
1. Use the Pomodoro Technique and Timer
The Pomodoro technique is a well-known approach to working more efficiently. Every ‘Pomodoro’ consists of 25 minutes of work, then 5 minutes of rest. Once you restart, work on a different thing, and repeat 3-4 times. After your 3rd or 4th, take a longer break.
The idea is to break your workday down into manageable chunks. You can time yourself on your phone, download a Pomodoro timer app, or use a Pomodoro timer website.
2. Work When You’re Most Productive
Not all of us are designed to work between the hours of 9 to 5. Some of us are early birds, and others of us are night owls. For a week, make a note of the times you feel like you have lots of energy and the times you feel tired. After a week, you will have enough data to know what hours you work best. As best you can, schedule your work for those hours. In your tired hours, take breaks, or schedule less intensive work, such as administrative tasks.
3. Batch Tasks Together
Switching between different types of tasks is more difficult than working long hours on one thing. Try to structure your days so that you don’t need to keep switching your brain into different modes. Have a day where you do just calls and organizing. Do social media on another. Spend one day on creating videos and the next on updating the blog, and so on.
4. Use an Organizational To-Do System That Works for You
There are many tools that can organize your workday. This makes prioritizing your work much easier. For me, a bullet journal works well. Trello organization boards work for a lot of people. Wunderlist is a great app for people who like checking to-do lists. And sometimes, using good old pen and paper works best.
5. Prioritize and Learn to Say No
You know what you’re best at, and what you struggle to get done. Saying yes to everything just overwhelms you and your priorities. Then, you’ll get nothing done. Learn when to say no to certain tasks, and recommend alternatives. Outsourcing to the right people will save you so much time in the long run.
6. Block Distractions
Resisting the temptation to check Facebook or the news is difficult. There are plenty of apps that can help you stay focussed on your work. RescueTime tracks where you spend your time throughout the day. Apps such as SelfControl allow you to block certain sites for a period of time. And away from your screen, you can design your home office to be more conducive to work from.
7. Check E-Mail at Preset Times of the Day
Check email no more than twice a day, if possible. The time spent checking emails and messages adds up throughout the day. It’s difficult but learn to close them down when you need to do focused bursts of work. You generally don’t need to be replying to messages seconds after they come in.
8. Hydrate and Eat Healthy Snacks
Fighting the urge to load up on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks is difficult. In the moment, they make us feel like we have more energy. But when the sugar crash comes, you’ll feel even worse. Try not to keep them in your house. Instead, opt for refrigerated water, hot teas, and healthier snacks such as nuts and fruit.
9. Take Scheduled Breaks
Few of us can work at our highest level for hours on end. Our days ebb and flow. When you’re feeling tired, take a break. You can go further once you know when your tired hours in the day are. Purposefully schedule breaks in at these times to refresh. This is much better than staring at your screen and getting no work done.
10. Have an Accountability Partner
So many people freelance and work remotely. On Facebook and Slack, there are many freelancer communities. Connect with someone online, or ask a friend or family member. Schedule calls daily, or weekly, and use that time to set yourself deadlines for work. Not wanting to let down the other person will drive you on.
Staying productive is difficult, but these ten tips and hacks should go a long way to improving your productivity. Download the apps, try the techniques, and see what works best for you. Everyone is different, but everyone can be productive.
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