WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 18 March 20195 Ultra-Effective Ways to Work Smarter, not Harder
I’m a huge productivity geek. But, while there are a million productivity tips and tricks out there that I could share with you, I believe your time is better spent focusing on the few things that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. So, instead of making a giant list of mediocre tips, I’m only going to share two tips with you today--the two tips that have made the biggest difference in my life. If you want to get more done in less time, this is how you do it.
This is crucial because no matter how efficient you are with your time, no matter how many items you cross off your to-do list, if you’re not crossing off the most important items, then you’re wasting your time regardless. Don’t fall prey to the trap of thinking that you’re being productive just because you’re crossing off a million tiny tasks off your to-do list... tasks like "take out the trash" or "call Mom." In fact, tasks this small--tasks that take less than 2 minutes--shouldn’t even be on your to-do list in the first place (see Part 1 of the 2-minute rule).
Anytime you sit down to start doing some work, make sure you take some time to prioritize the most important tasks first. Take care of anything that is urgent, but then schedule time for the things that are actually important (though they may not be urgent) as well. If you haven’t heard of the Eisenhower Box which highlights the difference (between urgent vs. important), check out this article.
We all hate the pressure of deadlines, but they are a necessary evil. Without deadlines, we’d never get anything done. But, the key to being really effective with your time is to not rely on the deadlines that other people (i.e. professors, bosses, etc.) give you. Instead, create your own deadlines. The more specific you can get, the better. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often find yourself spending way too much time on a single task, and then not having enough time to get to the other tasks on your to-do list. This happens when you don’t give yourself a time-constraint. The way you avoid this is by blocking off chunks of time on your calendar dedicated solely to completing each task on your to-do list. Then, when you actually sit down to do your work, set an alarm. This is such a simple thing to do, yet it’s one of the most powerful productivity tips I know of. Remember...
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” - Cyril Northcote Parkinson
Use this knowledge to your advantage. Do not work for indefinite amounts of time. The more time you have, the more time you waste.
What do you think? What’re your best productivity tips?