Time management can be difficult – especially when it feels like you have more work to do than there are hours in the day. Luckily, there are some simple productivity and time management skills you can start using right now that will help you become more efficient than ever before, leaving you with more time to relax, sit back and enjoy a healthy work/life balance. Why choose between quality or quantity when you can have both?
Here are Fear Naught’s top 10 simple ways to maximise your productivity at work:
Set a timer
For maximum efficiency, set yourself a time limit and aim to have a certain task completed within it. Many people find themselves using every second they’re given to finish what they’re working on, with little change in overall quality. The same task could take three hours or 30 minutes, depending on how long you have to complete it.
To avoid this, take matters into your own hands. Set a timer and get to work. At worst, you don’t complete it within the limit but make a significant dent in your workload. At best, you’ve just completed something in a fraction of the time it would normally take you.
Prioritise your tasks
This is a great practise regardless of your workload, but is especially effective when you’re feeling overwhelmed. By highlighting your top three most urgent tasks, you can make sure you’re doing the most important things first without being distracted by those smaller, less pressing issues.
There’s a lot of free software designed to help you organise your tasks better. The team at Scotty’s Little Soldiers and Fear Naught use a great tool called Microsoft Planner.
Do the toughest stuff first
Of your top three priorities, focus on the most difficult one first. This makes a huge difference to improving time management and increasing productivity, as you’re tackling the task that requires the most energy when you have the most energy to give.
Afterwards, you can focus on the tasks you find less taxing and more enjoyable, and in the process avoid the dreaded late-day slog.
Don’t wait for inspiration
“Amateurs wait for inspiration… the rest of us just get to work.” – Stephen King.
Starting can be difficult, but there’s no point waiting for a mood that may never strike. Once you start working, you’ll find yourself naturally easing into the right mindset. You may even fall into a rhythm that lasts for hours.
Yes, you read that right. Depending on the kind of work, not everyone is able to do this, but if you’re able to stick to one thing at the time, do it. Research suggests that multitasking is not as productive as you’ve been led to believe, and that focusing on one task at a time improves both the quality and speed at which you complete it. Maximise productivity by not spreading yourself too thin.
Learn to say ‘no’
The best way to improve your work/life balance is just do less work, right? Well, sort of. Take a moment to look at your schedule and assess what you can realistically fit in. Let someone know if there’s anything you don’t think you’ll be able to complete on time. Even if it causes some immediate issues, it’s better than leading people to expect something you can’t deliver.
The positive benefits of exercise on concentration and performance are well documented. If you want to start the day feeling alert, focused and energised, go for a run or consider a morning workout. To ensure this continues throughout the day, experts recommend getting outside and taking a short walk at lunch.
Find your most productive hours
Maximise productivity by assessing your work rhythm and adjusting accordingly. Most people do their best work in the morning and after lunch, so you could consider using these periods to focus onthe more difficult tasks for that day. Listen to your body and follow its lead.
Wake up early
Early risers have more productive mornings and many highly successful people, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, American media giant Oprah Winfrey and the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, attribute their success, at least in part, to waking up early.
Even if you don’t want to start work earlier, it gives you a chance to exercise, get ready at your own pace, relax with a book or watch an episode of TV before the working day – all things that are guaranteed to make you happier and more productive when it’s time to knuckle down.
Keep your workspace organised
Time management is space management. To ensure you maximise your productivity at work, you need to know where everything is. The same applies to digital spaces – excel documents, spreadsheets and your desktop. If these things are messy, you’ll waste time finding what you need when you could be getting on with something important. A clean, organised working environment will help to motivate and inspire you, but there are plenty more benefits of having an organised workspace.
Fear Naught is owned and operated by Scotty's Little Soldiers and 100% of our profits allow us to support bereaved military children and young people around the UK through an effective combination of practical, emotional and educational support. Scotty's support young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. We offer a range of services designed to connect our members and create a community of bereaved military children built around mutual support.