1. Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks. Instead of writing something like “launch marketing plan”, I will suggest you break it down to smaller more manageable bits. Break down your goals to milestones, then break down your milestones to tasks. then start working on them from the back (i.e. from smaller manageable tasks you have set.
2. Don’t multi-task. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks several times in a day has been found to negatively affect productivity and even lead to lack of analytical skills.
3. Actively eliminate distractions. Lock your door, put a sign up, turn off your phone, laptop, tablet, Blackberry and anything that can take your attention from what is essential within a particular time frame. Well what about emergencies you may ask, well, whoever or whatever needs your attention for an emergency will know how to find you so no need to worry. Go to a quiet area and focus on completing one task at a time.
4. Schedule your email. Pick two or three times during the day when you’re going to use your email. Checking your email constantly throughout the day creates a ton of noise and kills your productivity. Unless your job in your organisation is to respond to emails, focus on doing your priority tasks first and get to your emails at a later time.
5. Consider making phone calls instead. Email isn’t meant for conversations. You don’t need to reply more than twice to an email unless it is absolutely essential (and of course if it is from your boss who needs to know). Pick up the phone instead.
6. Work on your own terms. Don’t let something else set your day. Most people go right to their emails and start reacting to them right away. You may be able to respond to all the emails but you would not have accomplished anything. Before you start your day, do whatever gets you fired up (I recommend starting off with a glass of water, a good breakfast of cereal with fruits and then write out your goals for the day).
7. Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals. Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That’s why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.) So take a break: Get up, go for a walk, have a snack, do something completely different to recharge. And yes, that means you need an extra hour for breaks, not including lunch, so with these strategies you should become more productive and not even need to be at work longer than usual.
P.S. I am not a master of being productive; am also working on becoming more productive and I thought these 7 ways could work. Let me know if you have a better way. Also, share with me on how these suggestions worked for you.