We’ve all been there. We start the day fresh and motivated with a cup of coffee and an ambitious to-do list ready to take on the world. Before you know it, it’s 2 o’clock. While you have found a new brownie recipe on Pinterest, caught the latest tweets, posted your weekend pictures to Instagram and taken a quiz on Facebook to determine which Hogwarts house you belong to, you to-do list hasn’t been touched.
Staying productive at work (or at home) can be a challenge. Even with the best intentions, we can get sidetracked, distracted, and our valuable time is stolen out of our day leaving us more stressed and ultimately discouraged.
Here are some tips from some of the most successful executives on how to remain productive, get rid of time thieves and take back control over your day.
If you can delegate unnecessary tasks, do it. Trust your colleagues enough to help you do small parts to complete a big job. People are not going to volunteer so you have to feel ask for help when you need it.
Only attend necessary meetings
Time is the most important currency in your life, don’t waste it in unnecessary meetings. If your boss wants to have a one-on-one meeting, that’s important. If the newsletter design subcommittee is having a meeting on layout design, they can send you notes afterward with any important details.
Create to-do lists
Whether you want to use a white board, an app or a post-it note, make a to-do list everyday. I like to make my to-do lists at the end of the day, so when I start my morning I know what comes first. This may seem simple, but knowing what you’re trying to accomplish is half the battle, so write it down everyday.
Stop working through lunch, it’s less productive than you think. Instead, take short breaks every couple of hours as well as a full lunch hour. Combine this with your to-do list, every time you complete one item on your list, get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes before starting the next task.
Social media is for after hours, so disconnect when you’re at work. Period.
Create designated e-mail time
Sometimes it seems like our entire day is sucked up in responding to emails. If you’re constantly checking your email it makes it hard to move forward on other things. Set aside 15-30 minutes at the beginning and end of your day to respond to emails and that’s it. Encourage your team to communicate urgent information through phone calls.
Sleep and get up early
Benjamin Franklin knew what he was talking about, early to be and early to rise seems to make a big difference in productivity. Don’t stay up late watching TV or playing Xbox, productivity is nearly impossible if you’re only half-awake.
Above all, stop multitasking
It’s been proven that effective multitasking is not humanly possible. Your brain may delude itself into thinking that it the capacity to multitask, but in reality, it is only working extra hard to handle multiple thoughts and switch back and forth. Your ability to focus on one task at a time will prove to be substantially more productive than trying to multitask.
Give these tips and tricks a try this week and you might surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.