How to Get More Done in Less Time
How productive are you at work? Efficiency is a tough thing to measure but making the most of the hours you spend at work will not only impress your boss and promote your career, but boost job satisfaction and reduce stress as well. Here are our top tips for getting more done in less time.
Prioritize. Start the day by taking 5-10 minutes to consider the big picture. What are your biggest priorities for the day, and the week? Taking a few minutes to "find your center" and get focused on your goals will help you stay on track throughout the day and make resisting distractions, like surfing the Internet, easier to avoid.
Clear clutter. A cluttered desk makes for a cluttered mind, so resist using the top of your desk for storage and reserve it for items you're actively working on. Clear off any paperwork, supplies, or stacks of business you don't use on a daily basis and file them away so they're easy to access when you need them but out of sight when you don't.
Keep a running to-do list. Prioritize your to-do list from the most important to the least important tasks, and keep it updated throughout the day so you can move smoothly from task to task and not waste time in between (or risk getting distracted) figuring out what to do next.
Stay hydrated. Fight fatigue and maintain sharp focus and clear thinking by drinking water throughout the day. Avoid drinking too many sugary coffees or sodas, as they can cause an afternoon crash and slow you down considerably.
Know when to take a break. No matter how busy you are, you can't keep up your best work if you don't take time to recharge. Schedule several 10-minute increments into your day to stand up and stretch, go for a walk around the block, or just take some deep breaths and look out the window for a few minutes. When you get back to work you'll feel refreshed and more focused.
Minimize interruptions. Resist checking e-mail continuously throughout the day and turn off instant notifications. Instead, read and deal with e-mails in batches at two or three designated times during the day. Avoid time-consuming distractions like surfing the Internet or gossiping at the water cooler and, when you really need to get something done, ignore or turn off the phone's ringer and let it go to voicemail.
Never leave a mess. At the end of each day review your progress and update your to-do list, leave notes of your last thoughts or actions on ongoing projects, clear up any clutter you created during the day, and generally set up your space so you'll be able to easily pick up tomorrow where you left off today.