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- Divide up your to-do list
In order to achieve maximum productivity in all aspects of your life, it’s important to first divide before you start to conquer. Create separate lists for tasks related to your work responsibilities, social life, and other commitments or involvements that require your time. Being able to focus on different things you need to get done based on what facet of your life it applies to can help you stay focused on what is most important and combine tasks between lists (i.e. Pick up a prescription at the pharmacy when you have to drop off something for work at the post office next door)
2. Prioritize your to-do list
After dividing up all the tasks you need to do into categories, it’s time to examine and figure out which are the most important and urgent. A great way to manage a prioritized to-do list is to cover up everything on the list except the first thing with a post-it note, and move that note down the list with each thing you cross off. This helps to stay on task and avoid getting overwhelmed by having to stare at a long list.
3. Set allocated social media time
Get rid of the Facebook app. Sign out of your twitter on your computer. Log out of Instagram and stay off of LinkedIn while you’re working. Having a set time each day to check social media (during a lunch break, on your public transport commute home) is a great way to eliminate distractions and be productive while working. You must be strict with yourself and not make any exceptions, or else you can easily get sucked into the black hole of the Internet, wasting absurd amounts of time not getting anything done.
4. Set timers to complete specific tasks
Have an overflowing email inbox that you could spend the entire work day reading through and responding tom messages? Give yourself a time limit with a timer you can see visually and respond to as many as you can in the allotted time frame. This will train you to go straight to the most important messages first, unsubscribe to junk mailing lists, and keep your messages concise and clear. Just make sure you give all messages a quick proofread before hitting send.
5. Use organization apps
Nowadays there is an app for literally everything. In our technology based society, it’s to your advantage to use ones that can help you accomplish all the things you need to do. Evernote, Asana, and slack are just a few to get you started. Even just using the list building apps such as reminders in your phone can work wonders and motivate you to tap each thing to check it off.
6. Wake up earlier
One of the most common habits across the board for highly successful people (think Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington) setting an early wake-up alarm is key to being productive. For all the none morning people of the world, this is a harsh truth. The more things you can set yourself to accomplish before lunch time, the better. This is because we tend to fade in the afternoon, and people are more likely to procrastinate and leave something until the following day if they haven’t finished it by 4pm.
7. Structure your day
Having an agenda is an important start to getting your days organized, but breaking it down further can help to increase productivity dramatically. Instead of using a planner just to write down important dates, deadlines, and appointments, go a step further and break down each day into chunks of time. Need an hour to go to the gym? See where you can work that in, maybe you’ll have to get up earlier. Need to spend an hour replying to emails? Write it down. By having this division of time you can better allocate your hours and accomplish more things, and also not feel guilty about having personal time during the day if it fits in with your structure.
8. Create a productivity playlist
For a lot of people, having soothing or slightly upbeat background music can be very helpful to motivate them to get things done. There are lots of playlists and song compilations on SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify and pandora that you can choose from, and many are several hours long. This can also be combined with tip #4
9. Silence your phone or leave it out of sight during peak work time
Out of sight, out of mind. We all spend a ridiculous amount of time surfing through notifications on our phone, and a quick message from a friend can turn into an hour-long conversation of texting back and forth. When you’re at work or sitting at home focused on something, stay focused. Leave your phone on silent and where you cannot see it, to avoid being distracted. It can be difficult at first but after awhile it becomes a normal aspect of your work day.
10. Eat a healthy breakfast and drink lots of water in the morning
It’s advice that we’ve heard time and time again because it is incredibly true. Having energy and proper hydration in the morning is vital to jump-start your day and dig right into your to-do list. Feeling sluggish and sleepy will lead to an unproductive and slow starting morning. You don’t have to feast if you don’t like eating a lot in the early hours, but pack high-protein snacks or foods that you can eat later in the day, and drink plenty of water to get rehydrated after sleeping. This can make a world of difference in your energy level.
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