When you have a million things to do and are jumping from task to task, do you notice that you don’t get much done? There is a secret to being more productive. Being productive means, you are getting things accomplished not just being busy. If you try to work on too many tasks at the same time and bounce around, then you will likely not finish what you needed to do. Why? You are not focused. When you finally get back to your project, you have to figure out where you left off and you end up wasting a ton of time.
Here is my secret to being more productive in less time.
Each day make a list of the most important things you need to accomplish. Try to keep the “must do list” to under five items. Next, you need to prioritize these tasks. You may have a million other little to do’s but you will need to focus on these important tasks first.
The key is to work on task #1 until it’s done before you move on to the next one. This can be challenging if you are used to multitasking or easily get distracted. It requires discipline and focus, which is not always easy. If you make a conscious effort to stay on the task, you are trying to complete and move to the next one you will be pleasantly surprised. At the end of the day when you have finished five big projects or tasks that have been dragging on for months. An excellent way to keep you on track for a project without allowing distractions is to set a timer. You determine how much time you need for the task and set the timer. Then when its up you can check emails or anything else that requires your attention. The goal is to plan your day and make a conscious effort to stick to it.
Not everything goes as planned so if something unexpected comes up like a problem you need to solve right away, it’s ok to stop and focus on what needs immediate attention. As an entrepreneur, you have to be flexible to adapt to ever-changing situations. Once the problem is handled, get back to tackling your list. Just be cautious that you don’t allow every little email or message from your team to become an emergency that derails you.
Studies show that it could take almost 25 minutes to get back into the zone after an interruption.
These minor distractions can disrupt your focus in a major way and add up to hours of lost time per day. That’s why committing to your list is so important. Focusing my day in this way has completely changed how I work. I used to try to do 30 things in a day, and I’d be totally stressed out and feeling like I was constantly catching up. I now plan my day by my calendar and prioritize my tasks for the day right there. Things get moved sometimes but everything on my calendar for the day gets done. This includes personal errands as well as my kid’s activities. That way I know how much time I have. I set aside chunks of time to complete projects. When I am working on a project, I try not to allow distractions. Then when I am done, I check emails, Facebook, Slack, etc. so I can stay up to date with clients and my team.
An added benefit to working on a list is that you will be more relaxed and creative. You can be more productive when you are relaxed because you don’t waste precious energy on being stressed out over what you are not getting done. It is rewarding to see how much more you can accomplish. Once you finish the first task, you will have the momentum to move on to the next with the challenge, to complete all five for the day. Of course, if you do, you can move on to other projects, but this system ensures you accomplish some major to-do’s in much less time by eliminating distractions.
I hope you try this tip and report back to me with how much more productive you have become.
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