You may be doing most things right to get the best of your week but results of your hard work may not so impressive. Maybe it’s your focus and planning that need a tune up. Or better still, you need to build a better and smarter plan to get more things done each day. After all, a perfect plan is one of the keys to being productive. Harness your productivity with these ideas.
1. Dedicate time each week to prioritizing big picture goals for the coming week, month, and quarter.
2. Use reminders to notify you of upcoming tasks due throughout the day.
3. Change your default hour long meeting to just 20 minutes and make sure anyone requesting your time knows you’ll be leaving early.
4. Follow strict daily routines. Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.
5. Stay in the moment. If you feel overwhelmed (like pretty much everyone), it might not be because you have so much to do, but rather that you are trying to do too much at the same time, says Douglas Merrill founder of ZestFinance.
6. Ignore your email. This probably sounds a lot easier than it is as most people tend to check theirs every 5–10 minutes. But if you add up all of the minutes that it takes to continually check your inbox and then reply, it’s easy to see why it’s such a time waster.
7. Deal with something only once. Do it now. Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter.
8. Write a stop doing list. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.
9. Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything — which is the end of your elite productivity.
10. It pays to say no. Don’t be so available to everyone. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.
11. Multitasking doesn’t work. Researchers believe that the human brain only has so much processing capacity — so in trying to carry out several different tasks at once, you’re creating a bottleneck, rather than maximizing your efficiency.
12. Keep meetings lean. Meetings can be vital for discussing goals and establishing a forward vision. Left unchecked, they become bloated affairs, eating up hours (or in extreme cases, even days ) of your time without anything important being decided.
13. Use task tracking apps like Todoist, Wunderlist, or Asana to get generic tasks done throughout the day when you have a few free minutes.
14. Make it a priority to get everything done that you put on your list done each day. Be religious about not procrastinating.
15. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going.
16. Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within “Your Picasso Zone”.
17. In order to make the best use of your time in your business, your day should be made up of a series of goals that have specific milestones.
18. Use your calendar as a “real time” diary of whom you call and what you do in time slots throughout the day. Makes it easier to remember in the future.
19. Use your smartphone technology to dictate reminders, events, and tasks that need to be done as you think about them throughout the day.
20. If you’ve got a particularly large project that seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller and more manageable chunks. Then tackle each one at a time. Keep a list and feel the sense of achievement when you tick off one of those smaller tasks.
21. Take the first 30 minutes or less of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
22. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results?
23. Set a time frame and deadline for your most important projects, and be realistic about the length of time they will take.
24. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
25. It’s important to organize your day around your body’s natural rhythms, says Carson Tate, founder and managing partner of management consultancy, Working Simply. Tackle complex tasks when your energy’s at its highest level.
26. The brain also learns and executes complex tasks by lumping together similar items. Tate suggests leveraging this ability by scheduling similar tasks back-to-back. For example, you may make all of your phone calls one after another, or draft and send emails at one time.
27. A good dose of fresh air and daylight, away from the unnatural environment of an office, is good for the soul. Particularly if your office environment is stuffy and dark and relies on air conditioning.
28. It’s critical to take breaks and let your brain rest. Take a walk or socialize for a bit to refresh for new tasks. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.
The author is the founder at Alltopstartups (where he shares startup resources) and the curator at Postanly (a free weekly newsletter that delivers the most insightful long form posts from top publishers).