We’re all looking for ways to get more out of our day, at work, home or life in general. Thanks to smartphones, social media and being able to access the web from just about anywhere, procrastination can creep into our day leaving our productivity levels at an all-time low.
If you want to kick being unproductive to the kerb, here are some of our top hacks for getting the most out of your day.
1. Get match fit
A healthy and active mind is a proactive mind. Ensuring that you’re scheduling regular exercise into your day is not only a great way to get fit, but will ensure your mind is ‘switching off’ work and rebooting for the tasks ahead.
2. Nourish your body
There is a lot to be said about eating nutritious food and drinking plenty of water to ensure you are staying sharp and you have enough fuel in your body to get through your day.
3. Sleep 8 hours
There is nothing better for your productivity than ensuring you have enough sleep. A good nights kip is linked to weight loss, endurance and reducing fatigue and stress in your day.
4. Create ‘to-do lists’
Jot down what you need to get done in your day/week/month/year on a to-do list, don’t jump between tasks, work in a logical and structured way. By physically crossing off items as you complete them, you can visualise how much you are getting through, providing a sense of satisfaction as you go.
5. Download time-saving apps
Consider a ‘factory reset’ on your phone, remove all the apps and only install applications on your phone, as you ‘need them’. This way you will reduce your applications, clutter and ensure you only see what ‘adds value’ to your day – not detract.
6. Manage your calendar
Periodically check your calendar to ensure that you’ve completed all the tasks, prepared for meetings and taken the time to plan what you need to do and when. A good calendar leads to an organised and efficient person, team and business – and that’s the aim of the game after all!
7. Tackle the big or important tasks first, then the smaller ones later
Look up ‘Steven Covey’s rocks in a jar on YouTube’ – its an oldie, but a goodie. It shows how people more often than not fill their days (jars) with all the small things (tiny rocks), but then when they try to fit in the important or large tasks (big rocks) there is no time or capacity (space in the jar) to fit them all in. The moral of the story is, if you put the big rocks in the jar first, then fit the smaller rocks in around them – everything fits in the jar (day).
8. Set an agenda
Meetings working to an agenda save time. They are planned, everything important gets addressed and timelines are met. Meetings without an agenda can often descend into chaos and nothing gets achieved. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
9. Work within timelines
Setting timelines in meetings, phone calls, tasks or just about anything will limit the amount of ‘fluff’ in your day and ensure you are productive. That is not to advocate rushing through things, just don’t spend too much time talking about it and not enough time doing it.
10. Park it
We have all been in a conference, meeting or conversation that is taking up too much time and seems to not be getting anywhere. This is where the idea of ‘park’ comes into play. When conversations drag on, agree to ‘park them in the interest of time’, to be addressed at a later time.
11. Delegate and outsource
You are only one person, there are billions of others in the world, some of whom you can surely trust to our source or delegate work to. Efficiency and scalability can be gained through trusting others to complete work for you.
12. Embrace automation
Creating a ‘set and forget’ automation is one of the best ways of undertaking tasks that used to be arduous or repetitive. These include bulk marketing emails, communications even setting ‘recurring meetings’ all automated at predetermined times/dates so you can think about the things that matter.
13. Understand your limitations
You are only one person, make sure you work within what your skills, capabilities and available time allow – the rest delegate, outsource or simply say no.
14. Get a project management tool
Project management tools have come along way in not only organising your major projects, but also the little tasks. Cloud-based programs such as Basecamp and Wrike allow teams and individuals to be more accountable and work more collaboratively.
15. Replicate tasks
Don’t reinvent the wheel if you’re undertaking a task that in some or all parts is a replication of something you have done before. Be it a plan, budget, guide, flyer or agenda – if you are going to undertake a talk on a regular basis, create a template to save time, money and stress.
16. Get socially sorted
Social media is the ultimate time waster, and social media management could save you hours of scrolling aimlessly on your friend’s feeds. Set up a tool like Hootsuite for your business social media posts and don’t log into your personal pages for one whole day or week – see how much time you regain!
17. Log off online news websites
If you spend your time online checking out the news and tabloids, try to avoid the temptation to log on and waste your time reading news you can check out when your workday is over. The news sites are notoriously plastered with irrelevant stories and you could be spending your time being more productive.
18. Set specific times to take calls and emails
Emails and calls take up large parts of our day, so why not set a key time in your day to answer them. Whether it’s 9am – 10am, 1pm – 2pm and 4.30 – 5pm for calls and emails then leave the rest of the day for phone calls to run off to voicemail and an auto reply on your email so you can get your important tasks done.
19. Say no more
Understanding that you ‘can’ say no is one of the most important self-discoveries that most people can have. If you don’t have time, can’t make a deadline or simply don’t want to do something, you need to speak up or suffer the consequences.
20. Give yourself 5
There are 24 hours in a day; surely you can give yourself 5 minutes of them between tasks. Creating a ‘third space’ or a bridge between tasks allows you to clear your headspace, reset and focus on what’s next.
Whether you aim to try all these time hacks or a just a few by using the time hacks above you can boost your productivity so you can spend more time doing the things you love.