Time – something that for all of us is at a constant premium. There just aren’t enough hours in the day it seems to get everything done that we need to get done. Turns out there many are little ways to trick yourself into squeezing more productivity out of every hour of your day, leaving additional time for the stuff that you REALLY want to do. The following are just six of the dozens of tips experts have to offer on the subject that will surely pay off for you in the long run:
1. Plan Ahead
Many of us instinctively jump directly into our work with little forethought, believing that in doing so we will get our work done faster. The truth of the matter is, without that forethought, we find ourselves working on job B before we even started on job A. By planning ahead, you can plot out what jobs need to be done before you can do the others, thus saving time in the long run by not having to break your flow to start a new job and wasting time reminding yourself where you were at on the next job when you can finally continue.
2. Focus on What’s Important
Too often in life and at work, we get sidetracked by details and other factors that really aren’t relevant to the task at hand. By getting distracted by these things, we lose productivity. It doesn’t always have to be as something obviously counter-productive as chatting with friends over Skype when you have a report to file – even more insidious are the work related distractions that seem important but really just hamper your ability to do your job. Finding out every detail of a situation might not be important if those details do not change what needs to be done. This ties into planning ahead – figure out what you’re actually trying to accomplish, and always be moving forward towards accomplishing that goal.
3. Just Do It
Sometimes we depend unnecessarily on other people, thinking we have to consult with others before taking action. While consultation and feedback can be important, if you know what needs to be done and are being held up by not being able to arrange a formal meeting about it – then just get it done. You don’t have to always depend on others: the most productive individuals, once they realize what has to happen, just go out and make it happen. Furthermore, by taking the initiative, you show your superiors in the office that you are capable of self-starting and self-managing and that you don’t need them looking over your shoulder (taking time out of their day) to make sure you are doing what needs to be done.
4. Know When to Delegate
Although you can try to just jump into something, the reality is there are certain tasks people just aren’t good at. There is no shame in it – the reality is we live in a highly specialized society that demands one to be incredibly skilled at a few tasks to be competitive, and the ‘jacks-of-all-trades’ tend to end up being merely mediocre at everything. As such, find out what you are a specialist in, and do those tasks while finding ways to delegate other tasks to others. Even better – know who the specialists are that you can delegate things to, and ensure everybody is doing what they are best at, maximizing your team’s efficiency.
5. Set Impossible Deadlines
We all have an idea of how quickly we can do something, and this idea is generally longer than we actually need to do something. Just as a gas expands to fill its container, the time it takes to do a task ends up expanding to fill all of the allotted time. As such – give yourself a deadline you think you can’t make, and strive to meet it. When put under pressure you’d be surprised how quickly you can get your work done – as any college graduate would be able to tell you.
6. Go Home at a Fixed Time
We all know when we have to get started on something, but we never stop to think when we have to leave. Too often we consider our ‘go home’ time to be flexible rather than fixed, thus we end up spending more time after work catching up on work we were supposed to do earlier in the day – adding to the number of hours in our work week. To counter this, force yourself to go home at a certain time, by doing so you’ll push yourself to get everything done before that deadline – thus ensuring you actually leave when you are supposed to and giving you all those extra hours to spend on what you want to spend them on.
By taking the time to follow the above advice, you’d be amazed at the hours you save throughout the week, opening up the possibility for more leisure time… or better yet, more time for personal projects that can translate into greater prosperity in the future for yourself.
This article is written by Brennen Kliffmueller. He is a creative writer and marketing specialist at FindAFax. Brennen lives in Orlando, Florida and studied at Florida State University.