Productivity is closely linked to time management: good time management is one of the best ways to be productive and stay on track.
Essentially productivity = efficiency. It’s the measure of how much output you’re getting from the work you’re putting in. It’s about working smarter, not harder: finding ways of working that will allow you to achieve everything you need to without running yourself ragged. While in the last five years the internet has been flooded with endless ‘hacks’ to increase your productivity and fit more into your day, really productivity is more about using your time wisely than squeezing in as much as humanly possible to your day.
Want to get more done? Here are Evolution’s top productivity tips.P
Being busy does not equal being productive.
Notice the difference between being busy and being productive. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the tasks on your list that seem urgent: think spending hours working through emails that need replies, but not actually getting anything proactive done. Work out what your priorities are, and stick to them. Are you spending most of your day on those priorities, or are you getting sidetracked by time-consuming but less important jobs?
Start your day with a plan.
It’s easy to sit at your desk, feel overwhelmed by everything you’ve got to do, and spend the rest of the day moving from task to task firefighting. Get round this by starting each day with 15 minutes dedicated to reviewing your to-do list for the day, making a plan for what you’ll tackle first, and sticking to it.
If you’ve given yourself a list of twenty urgent tasks, each of them taking about an hour, there’s no way you’ll get all of them done in time. Work out how much time you’ve got, what really needs to be done today, and what can wait until tomorrow.
Start with the trickiest task
This tip is a regular in most productivity experts’ arsenal. Whether you call it ‘slaying your dragons early’ or ‘swallowing the frog first’, getting the task you’re least looking forward to frees your attention up to focus on everything else you need to get done.
Get rid of distractions.
Find out what distracts you the most, and then find a way to eliminate that distraction. It might be your phone constantly pinging with messages, emails and app notifications: turn it on silent or to Do Not Disturb mode while you’re working. If you find constantly checking your emails distracts you, allocate certain times of day (say, once in the morning, once after lunch and once in the evening) to checking emails, and don’t check them outside that time.
Do you spend hours doing your accounts each month, taking time away from what you really need to be doing? Consider outsourcing your accounting to someone who can keep it up to date for you on a monthly basis. If you run a business, don’t try to do everything: which of your responsibilities could you delegate to someone else.
If you want to really improve your productivity, try our Time Management Toolkit. It’ll give you the tools you need to make real changes to the way you work, and make better use of your time as a result.