With the demands of juggling a career, a family, taking care of a house, and countless other activities, there is not a person in the world who doesn't wish they had more time in a day. How often do you find yourself behind with your work duties, having to take home projects to finish up? Do you often spend what should be free time catching up what you ran out of time to do? There are simple, yet very effective ways to increase how productivity.
First, track how much time you're spending on different tasks. You may be thinking to yourself, I know how much time it takes me to do this! Research has been conducted and results suggest that only 17% of people can accurately estimate how much time has passed. Start monitoring the time you spend and from there you can set limits on how much time to give any task.
Another way to increase productivity is to take breaks. This may sound counterproductive but in reality, it's one of the most effective changes you can make! Research supports that taking short breaks helps maintain concentration and a steady level or performance. On the other hand, sitting at one task for a long period of time results in decreasing productivity. Stand up, stretch, answer an email, or walk down the hall for a glass of water. Anything to give yourself a few minutes before settling back to the job at hand.
One of my favorite terms is "multitasking." I have yet to meet a person who can truly multitask! Studies have been done that show attempting to multitask and work on several activities at once actually result in less productivity and a large increase in wasted time. How well can you do a task if you are working on three at once? Commit yourself to one item at a time. You'll actually save time and complete your work at a higher quality.
When was the last time you attended a meeting and left thinking, "Wow! That was really great information"? Meetings are one of the largest single time wasters. Look at your calendar? How many meetings are already scheduled in the next few weeks? Ask if you HAVE to be in attendance at any of these meetings. More often than not, a simple summary will suffice and those conducting are willing to give it. Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if you can handle the content with a memo, email, or phone call. Save yourself and everyone else some time. If it's not imperative, don't have it!
There are countless other ways to increase your productivity and save ever important time. Try implementing one of these methods and see how it goes. With some simple changes, you may find yourself able to leave your work at work and enjoy the free time you've been missing!