Many successful people have developed methods that allow them to get as much as 90% of their work done before they take their lunch break. That doesn’t mean they are up before dawn or that they lock themselves in an office every morning to get things accomplished. They have simply found ways to streamline their tasks and get more done in a shorter period.
1. Do All Your Writing in the Morning
There are studies that say writing helps focus your brain and increase your productivity. That’s why many time-management experts suggest writing things down in order to remember them. If writing reports, memos, or contracts is part of your daily routine, consider doing all your writing in the morning. Your quality of writing will improve, and you’ll find that the rest of your day flows much better as well.
2. Set an Alarm to Take Breaks
It may seem counterproductive to take a break in order to be more productive, but the fact is that stopping periodically is the best way to recharge and create better focus for the task at hand. Set an alarm, either on a clock in your office, on your watch, or on your cell phone, for the same time each day. When the alarm goes off, stop, stretch, walk around the office, or go get a cup of coffee. Limit your break to only five or 10 minutes to avoid getting distracted, but even that short break will improve your attention span.
3. Plan Your Day the Night Before
Every night, before you go to bed, list all the tasks you want to do the next day and what time you plan to work on them. Be sure to allow adequate time for each task, and don’t overload the schedule if at all possible. As you finish a task the next day, cross it off to give yourself a feeling of accomplishment. If you don’t complete a task, make it the first item on your list for the next day and do nothing else until it is done.
4. Don’t Linger Over Decisions
When you are faced with a decision during the course of a normal workday, make it within 60 seconds and then don’t second-guess it. The majority of the time, your initial reaction to a problem that must be solved is the correct response, but we tend to overthink decisions until no decision is made, or it takes much longer than necessary to reach one.
5. Use the 80/20 Rule
Research has shown that only 20% of what you do each day produces 80% of the results. Therefore, eliminating the tasks that don’t matter can increase your productivity. For your next project, break it down into steps, removing tasks that won’t be productive until you end up with the minimal tasks required to get the project completed. More than likely, you will eliminate 80% of the tasks but achieve much more productivity from your team.
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