Struggling with getting things done? You’re not alone. Using our time ineffectively is a recurring problem for many of us. Here are some hacks that will help you boost your productivity and stop wasting time on things that don’t really matter.
Your hard work and efforts are worthless when you’re not steering towards the right course. Being productive means far more than doing things quickly. We must, in the first place, put our attention on the right tasks and prioritize the right problems. The 2017 Project Management Institute Survey shows that the primary cause of failure in most projects is lack of clearly defined objectives and milestones to measure progress. So, identify what your goals are and stay very focused. For instance, if your goal is to grow daily visitors of your website, then, focus on growth! Don’t get caught up in building fancy features or polishing tiny details that will not drive more traffic.
When you’re setting your project plan, always bear in mind the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 Rule) – 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your activities. In other words, most of what we do has little effect on our lives. But a vital few can produce an outsized impact. From this perspective, we can cut 80% of our tasks that are unimportant to our objectives. As Steve Job succinctly puts it, “Innovation is saying no to a thousand things”. Be goal-driven and learn how to say no.
With the right goals in mind, we must also find ways to measure progress and keep track of our milestones. Here, productivity apps come in handy. To-do lists and project management applications are powerful tools that can help us work smarter both as a team and as individuals.
When you have tons of tasks ahead, to-do list managements can help us keep track of upcoming tasks and avoid making mistakes. There are myriads of to-do list management apps out there, but Wunderlist, Any.do, and Todoist stand out as the top ones. With these apps, you can set deadlines and reminders for your tasks, divide tasks into subtasks, add notes, upload files and delegate work to teams. They can also be integrated with Slack, Google Calendar, and Dropbox, making them versatile tools to keep track of your projects. All their main features are free of charge.
If you want more functionality to manage complex tasks, project management applications are what you should look for. Trello and Asana are the best ones in the market that are free for their core functions. These tools provide a superior real-time collaboration experience through their project boards, helping the team oversee the workflows and stay on top of things. It’s time to ditch excel and give these apps a try!
Have you ever spent a whole evening just to finish a 10-minute task? If yes, you’ve experienced the Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion. When we think we have all the time in the world, our mind will add unnecessary steps and details, and so the work drags on. However, when you’re under pressure or in a rush, your mind will be astonishingly effective in distinguishing what is and is not important. Your productivity will skyrocket.
Given that work is elastic in its demands on time, why don’t we hack into the psychological force behind Parkinson’s Law to our benefit? By setting artificial deadlines, we can restrict how long we allow things to take. However, this may not work for everyone. Deep down, we all know these deadline are fake. As a result, they’re too easy to ignore; work will build up once again. We need to do more than that – we need to make artificial deadline “real”.
Every day, there are dozens of things that you can’t push back. When you schedule a meeting, you can’t push that back. When events like these happen, there are usually small blocks of time in between. Try sandwiching in tasks that will usually take longer! By doing so, you can elevate the pressure of being late and the unpleasantness of leaving task incomplete to boast your productivity.
If you’re intrigued by quantifying your productivity, you should try RescueTime – an analytic application that demonstrates how you spend your time with your computers and smartphones. It is free for its basic features. If you spend hours doing unimportant things, they will all be shown in the report. If you’re embarrassed by how unwise you are in allocating your time, you won’t want to make these mistakes again.
When you’re busy hustling for the whole day, it can be quite difficult to keep your mind sharp. Mindfulness is a popular form of meditation that can help you improve, focus, reduce stress, and enhance wellbeing. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington practiced mindfulness avidly. They credited mindfulness for helping them become more successful.