With so many things dividing our attention, it’s no wonder that we waste so much time. You know you shouldn’t check your phone during a conversation, but you do it anyway. You can see yourself sliding down that Wikipedia hole of pointless research, but you do that too.
Being more productive starts with more conscientious time management. Having that laser focus on what is and isn’t important helps you get things done. Here are 10 tips on how to win at productivity:
01. Be vicious about your time
Money isn’t most precious resource. Time is. Record how you spend your whole day. You’ll find there’s plenty you could cut out. This isn’t anti-relaxation — down time is important — but it is about not wasting off-time. Figure out the things at work and outside of work that you value the most and limit everything else. For example, is texting a better way to spend your time than playing with your kids?
02. Set goals
This is a cliché because it’s true. Determining a reasonable number of goals is crucial to productivity. Be realistic about what you hope to accomplish each day, week, month, and year.
03. Be accountable to yourself
It’s not enough just to set goals. Taking stock regularly is important too. Analyze what the keys to failure — and success — were in each instance. Learning about how you succeed will make you more productive.
04. Exercise and eat right
The connection between staying active and being productive is well established. Just take this study fro the University of Bristol on its effects on mental acuity and time management. When you eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly, your body and brain will thank you for it. You’ll have more energy and stronger focus. One of the worst things you can do is ignore your body’s needs over the long term because you think it’s more important to work extra hours.
05. Get up early
Productive people are known for doing more before breakfast than their counterparts do all day. They go to bed early and get up early too. This doesn’t mean getting less sleep. It means getting the right amount of sleep. To ensure that you fall asleep quickly, take 10 to 15 minutes before you go to bed to plan the next day. This will help you avoid constant thoughts and worries about what will happen tomorrow.
Know exactly what your role is at work and make sure you do it well. Part of that is knowing when to pass work on to other people.
07. Set an agenda
This is especially important during meetings. Have a tight schedule and then stick to it.
08. Associate with productive people
If you’re always around complainers and negative people, they’re going to be a drag on your productivity. Instead, associate with those who you think are getting the job done.
09. Learn how to say “no”
If you’re not passionate about a project, suggest someone who is. When you’re doing work that doesn’t matter to you, you’re going to drag your feet. Securing work you’re interested in and good at is a positive step.
10. Work less
Contrary to popular opinion, working more doesn’t make you more productive. In fact, it could make you less productive, as reported by CNBC. You need to be firing on all cylinders to do your best work. When you take care of yourself and focus on what matters, you’ll be more productive at work and in life.