What did you get done yesterday? So far today? You are always busy right, but are your days productive? My guess is reading this article was not one of your objectives today or even this week. But, now that you are here, let’s make good use of your time.
Implement these 4 Time Management Hacks to Increase Productivity
Get a game plan: Identify exactly what needs to be done. Start at the end…the end of the day, that is, and outline what you need to accomplish the following day. Prioritize those activities with “must do” activities at the top of the list and “would be nice to” activities at the bottom of the list. Next, identify exactly what you want to accomplish from each activity. If you can’t identify a specific outcome that is directly related to your goals, take the activity off of your list.
Ignore the noise: Focus on the goal of one task at a time and don’t look in any direction but ahead. Isolate yourself from the interruptions. Block out time on your calendar to deal with the tasks on your To Do list. Time bound each task so you can stay on track. For example, if you have to get a proposal out, allow yourself the appropriate amount of time to complete it, but knowing you are up against the clock will force you into getting it done and probably in less time than you blocked off. You can set an alarm for a 10-minute warning that lets you know it is time to wrap it up and send it off.
Swallow the frog: We procrastinate things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable to do and the longer we contemplate doing those tasks, the more they feel like lead in our boots.
“If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” – Mark Twain
Brian Tracy wrote his book, Eat That Frog around this Mark Twain quote. By tackling the unpleasant, undesirable tasks first, you also clear the runway for your other tasks.
Getting hung up on perfection is also a form of procrastination. Focus primarily on what it will take to keep your efforts moving forward but don’t get bogged down with over-preparation. For instance, don’t get hung up on creating the perfect PowerPoint presentation. The little details often go unnoticed and bring no incremental value to the outcome. Additionally, getting hung up on little things will only stall your efforts that become the roadblocks that get in the way of all the other tasks on your list.
Extinguish the negative voices in your head: Those little voices in your head have so much influence over your actions. When you are faced with a task and your first thought is “I can’t…” “That will never work…” or “I’m afraid that…” that negative voice fills your subconscious with unproductive thoughts that get accepted as FACT and ultimately shapes your reality. Reframe your self-talk using positive language to describe possibilities that will replace the limitations you’ve invented. Take action; push through doubts and negative thoughts that reside in your head. Every time you tell yourself “no one will take my calls,” “customers won’t pay higher prices,” or any other limiting message, you will be 100% correct. Your subconscious will “talk” you out of making the prospecting calls or asking for higher prices. Acknowledge your fear or resistance to the task or your doubts about how well you will perform the task. Keep your mind focused on the positive, desirable outcome that you will benefit from.
Being busy does not equate to being productive. If you want to feel like you accomplished outcomes versus just being busy, implement these productivity hacks. It will take some time to incorporate them into your routine. Work on them each day and don’t get derailed if they are not executed precisely. Before you know it, you will feel like you got time back into your week and your “To Do” list will feel manageable again.
Let's continue the conversation. Share in the Comments section below the Time Management tips that you have found to increase your productivity.