Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with long to-do lists, tons of unread emails, numerous calls and meetings, and million of other requests pulling us in every direction. How do you stay focused and get more done in less time? Here are a few of the best productivity tips I've picked up from successful people.
1.Write down and focus on 2 to 3 top priorities for the day.
These are items that you absolutely have to get done today. Ask yourself, “What do I need to get done to make this a good day or move forward toward my goals?” Think about and write down these priorities first thing in the morning and remind yourself of them throughout the day.
Pick tasks that you can complete in less than a few hours each. If it is a larger project, break it down into smaller pieces. The task may not even take much time, but it has to be important to you: for example, calling your mom to wish her happy birthday or sending a personal thank you card to your best client.
2.Plan your day and set aside uninterrupted work time.
Prioritize and allocate an uninterrupted stretch of time during your most productive period of the day. During that time, focus on more difficult, important tasks first as you’ll have the most energy, concentration, and willpower to tackle them. Low priority and easier tasks can be done at other times of the day when you’re not at your peak capacity.
If possible (although some jobs do require you to be reachable at all times and respond readily), turn your phone off, close your office door, and check email only at certain intervals. Motivational speaker Brendon Burchard calls an email inbox a collection of other people’s agendas. To gain better control of your day, you should try to respond to voicemails and emails at your own schedule.
There will be other lower priority tasks that you need to get done or people with whom you need to follow up. Write them down so you can check them off as you go about your day. According to Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer it’s okay not to finish to-do lists. All low priority tasks are not meant to be completed, and if you did, it means you’re not filling up your day with higher priority tasks.
3.Plan for down time.
Being busy doesn't mean you’re being productive, and in fact, it can hurt productivity if you get burnt out or if your tiredness impairs your performance and willpower. Schedule down time to recuperate, exercise, take a nap, go for a walk, meditate, etc. By giving your body or mind a chance to rest, you will have more energy to tackle harder tasks or accomplish more later or the next day.