Getting more done is not always a matter of just working harder or working longer, but working smarter. There are strategies you can use to accomplish more, ways of approaching and organizing your work flow to achieve greater efficiency. Here are a few.
1. Look at things only once.
When you have a task to do, take care of it now. Don’t save it for later or allow it to just float in limbo. These are time wasters. When there is something you have to do, do it, hand it off, or forget about it. Do not return to it later.
2. Take care of the tough stuff first
These are the big, hairy tasks that you are dreading. Get them out of the way. If you put them off, they simply weigh on your mind because you know you will have to face them sooner or later. If you take care of them immediately, you free yourself up to tackle the more appealing things on your to-do list.
3. Don’t fall victim to the urgent
During the day, there are tasks that pop up that just have to be done right away, or so it may seem. There is no time to waste – they are urgent. They may be urgent, but are they important? Often these tasks that appear so urgent get in the way of focusing on the things that truly matter.
If you find this happening to you, hand off these tasks or, if they are unimportant, forget about them so that you can focus on the things that are truly important.
4. Schedule your email.
If you want to get more done, you cannot be continually checking email throughout the day. This goes back to the one-look-only rule. To follow this rule, you need to schedule a specific time when you review your email, and then look at it only at that time.
For really important emails, such as for certain customers or vendors, set alerts.
5. Saying no
If you are always helping out other people with work, you will never be able to increase your own productivity. You need to decline requests politely but firmly – giving a definite refusal, not just saying probably not or I don’t think I can help.
Research has shown that people who have trouble saying no suffer more stress and burnout than others.