Are you drowning in work? Do you consistently end your day with things on your to-do list that you wanted to get done but never got to? Has your productivity in your day job been reduced to the point that you regularly work nights and weekends? Let me ask: if someone gives you yet another project to work on now, will you scream?
My friend, I’m here to tell you that this lifestyle is not sustainable. Consider these 10 tips which might help give some immediate relief and help you ride those waves of work.
- Check messages only twice a day: People spend 28% of the day on interruptions and recovery time (roughly $650 billion a year in the US). To get some of that 28% back, limit the frequency of checking messages. This includes email, voicemail, and tweets (for you twitter users). If it’s urgent, they’ll call.
- Put first things first: Of all the things on your to-do list, there’s likely just a select few that are truly important. Remember, urgent does not always equal important. I highly recommend the story about the big rocks to illustrate this point.
- Use one master to-do list: Post-it notes were supposed to help people keep track of things, but a lot of time can be wasted trying to get info that’s on stickies scattered everywhere. Use the same device to consistently capture what needs to get done. It can be on paper or stored electronically, but it needs to be consistent.
- Focus on tasks that you’re good at: If you want to work fast, do the tasks that you do well. These tasks are in line with your strengths. Seems simple enough, but surprisingly this tip is often ignored.
- Say “no” more often: Less is more. Don’t waste your time on things that suck your time and energy but give no value.
- Delegate: OK, so you’re faced with a task that you’re not good at, but you can’t say no to it. Find someone who is good at it and delegate it.
- Procrastinate on purpose: It goes by many different names. Proactive procrastination, creative rescheduling, structured procrastination. The main objective is that you’re not doing nothing, but instead you’re simply doing something else.
- Batch process your jobs: You can increase your productivity ten-fold if you batch process your small jobs and do them all at once.
- Only worry about things you can control: Why waste time and energy worrying about something outside of your sphere of influence? Worry less, because you’re more productive when you have a positive attitude.
- Get enough rest: Allow yourself more sleep. Take additional breaks. Take a vacation. If you allow yourself proper rest, you’ll find you can do more in less time.