Productivity is all about getting a lot of work done in less time. When you are productive, you have a set of tried and tested habits that you can always rely on to work at your optimum levels. Big workloads will no longer overwhelm you, and your boss asking you to use Hubstaff or another time tracker tool doesn’t frighten you. On the contrary, it empowers and motivates you.
8 Planning Tips towards your Most Productive Week Yet!
Just devoting 30 minutes to a few hours once a week to planning can make a world of difference.
1. Determine your most productive time of day
Some people are at their efficient best in the mornings, some in the evenings, and some others in the afternoon. If you don’t know already, find out which category you fit into. This will help you organize your tasks better according to your most and least productive times of day.
2. Choose Friday or Sunday to do your weekly planning and stick to it
Set aside some time on Friday or Sunday (whichever day you prefer) to do your planning. When making the plan, begin by listing tasks for each day that would help you achieve major (big picture) goals. Ideally, there should be no more than 3 to 4 of these. In addition, prioritize pressing or urgent tasks. Less important tasks would go lower down the list.
The next step is to plan time for each task for which a time-tracker tool such as Time Doctor, Hubstaff, TSheets, Wrike and Zoho Projects would be helpful.
3. Stay Focused
Distractions can make it difficult to get back to where you stopped before the flow was interrupted. To begin with, make sure you’re seated comfortably at your desk. Then, make it a point to stay focused especially when you’re engaged on a top priority task. Keep away from Netflix or social media, responding to unimportant emails, or any other pointless browsing. If possible, let people know you don’t want to be disturbed till you finish an important task(s).
4. Remember, Multitasking is not always a Good Idea
It may be tempting to do two or three tasks simultaneously with a view that you’ll be able to work faster and better. However, this may be purely an illusion. According to a recent post from Harvard Business Review, multitasking can cause a productivity drop of up to 40 percent and even a 10 point drop in IQ. So, make it a rule of law with you to concentrate on only one task at a time.
5. Don’t Get into the Habit of Coming Back to a Single Task
It is common for people to look at a task, get discouraged or de-motivated by the nature or size of it, and to come back to it later only to further postpone acting upon it. If this is you, the time to kick the habit is now!
Rather than put tasks on hold, get into the habit of tackling them as they come. This should especially be the case if those tasks can be dealt with in just a few minutes. If they require longer time, it is worth scheduling them to later. You wouldn’t want to disturb the smooth flow of your work.
6. Go After the Tiger before Tackling the Horse
When scheduling your tasks for the week, try to create a balance between:
- Getting top priority and high-value tasks done as early in the workday as possible and
- Doing the most difficult or challenging tasks in your most productive hours.
Follow the plan exactly as you scheduled it.
7. Delegate or automate low priority tasks
If it is feasible, delegate or outsource low-priority tasks to others so that you can concentrate on the bigger tasks at hand that will help you achieve key business goals. You can also consider automating them.
8. Keep Time for the Unexpected and For Breaks
Refrain from over–planning and over-scheduling because you may end up frequently running behind schedule. Sometimes meetings may take longer than expected, or an unexpected project may come in that needs immediate attention.
To be on the safe side, if there is any event expected to last more than an hour, give it an allowance of an extra 10 to 15 minutes on your schedule. Additionally, set aside time for breaks which you definitely need, in order to recover and re-energize yourself. Use that free time to really unwind, with some music, meditation or even maybe a short walk if your workplace permits it.
After one week of using your scheduling system is over, reflect on it. Let your mind and heart rejoice over the sense of satisfaction of having accomplished so much. At the same time, if you think you could have done the scheduling better, by all means modify it.
If any task needs a follow-up, mark it accordingly, in your schedule for the coming week. Through trial and error, it won’t be long before you have a schedule that works for you, helping you accomplish more than you initially thought possible.