From time to time, it happens that we start to seriously ponder what it is that we’re doing wrong, or what we could change to get things done faster and better. Well, Bright Sidefound some answers, which we think turned out to be really quite useful. Take a look.
1. Write down everything you need to do. Don’t try to keep everything in your head. Write it all down in a notebook or in a planning app. The less thoughts there are in your mind about all the uncompleted plans you have, the more you’ll be able to focus on one specific problem or task at a time, and the better you’ll be able to deal with it.
2. Do the most important things you need to do first. This is really just common sense. But for some reason we often do minor, less challenging things first, putting off the most important business for later. Try this method: get up in the morning, carry out your morning routine, and then spend 2-3 hours doing the most important things you have to do. And remember, the most important things are those which bring you closer to your central goals.
3. Make a to-do list for the day in the evening before. Don’t postpone this till the morning! This may seem like a simple point, but it’s quite an effective idea: it stops you from getting stuck doing unimportant things, helps you focus on what’s essential, and to get better at prioritising.
4. Stop using paper Keep all your notes in electronic form. This will save you time, and provided you’ve got everything organised properly, will guarantee that you have fast access to the right information.
5. Use the file-syncing services. Almost all devices have them nowadays. Think how much time you waste just because you don’t have all the right files to hand all at once.
6. Use mind mapping. What’s this? It’s a whole new paradigm of thinking. Using such a system increases your productivity tenfold. By creating mental maps, you will be able to memorise information better and more effectively generate new ideas.
7. Learn to save even seconds while working on the computer. Because those seconds turn into minutes and then hours. Here’s a simple example. How do most people use a computer? A mouse (or a touchpad) + keyboard. For the majority of actions we use the cursor, and the keyboard is used for typing. Few people know that for almost all actions there are special combinations of keys (hot keys) provided as part of the operating system and by individual programs. Using these keys has proved to be much more effective than constantly using the cursor. It’s not necessary to know all the hot keys, just start with a few ones and you’ll notice how your work on the computer becomes more effective.
8. Learn touch typing. It’s time to go ahead and get to grips with this. There are plenty of programs and online services teaching this technique. If your work is connected with a computer you will save many minutes, or even hours, on a daily basis.
9. Aspire towards single-tasking. Don’t try to do everything at once. Choose a task, get rid of all the distractions (your colleagues, social networks, Skype, ICQ, an e-mail, the internet in general) and accomplish this task as fast as possible, focusing all of your attention on it.
10. Get up early. This is a very old, but very wise, piece of advice which helps millions of people all over the world to succeed every day.
11. Go in for sport, or at least get some exercise every day. It’ll help you to keep fit, which means that your mind and spirit will work more effectively.
12. Exclude all none-real tasks from your to-do list. Let your work plan consist only of things which you can do straight away. For instance, ’start a new project’ is not something you can do immediately — it’s too vague. It’s a long-term project. But ’determine your project goals within two months’ is more like a specific goal you can get started on straight away. Things will be much better if there are only specific tasks in your list.
13. For each task, designate the time that you can allot to it. There is even a special technique here with a funny name which you can use: the Pomodoro Technique.
14. Ignore things that are unimportant. You can’t even imagine how much extra time you’ll find just by ignoring everything that can be justifiably ignored.
15. Be proactive. Don’t react, and determine for yourself what to do and what to leave.
16. Save files exactly in the places where they should be. Of course, you’ll have to think of an effective system of file storage which works for you. But this will simplify searching and processing data in the future.
17. Change the kinds of activities you do. The longer you do the same things, the lower your productivity is. Change the situation and the kind of activity you’re engaged in several times a day. It’ll help you to maintain your interest in what you’re doing, a sense of freshness, and your creative flow of ideas.
And the most important thing: don’t forget why you are doing what it is that you are doing. Don’t forget to live! What’s the point of having higher productivity if you don’t have enough time for your real (that is, personal) life — for movies, books, friends, family, relationships, travelling, going for romantic walks, and all the rest of it? Keep your focus on your intellectual, spiritual and material goals, and avoid an imbalance between them.