Maximize Your Productivity

There is one thing all highly successful business people do to stay organized and focused throughout the day: They all follow a work routine. When you have a lot of tasks on your to-do list, you may feel overwhelmed, and find it a struggle even to get started. But having a routine provides structure to your day and allows you to get more done in less time.

As Stephen Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Throughout your day-to-day activities, try to make note of how long different tasks take and how productive you are during that time. If it feels like time is passing quickly and you accomplish a lot in a short period of time, you are likely using some of your biggest strengths.

Here are some ways to find out how productive you are during the day:

1. Keep track of your time.

Start tracking time on the tasks you spend already. By understanding how much time something takes, and when you seem to be getting tasks done faster, this will give you a hint on what time of the day you are most productive.

You can use this free time tracking app to help start tracking your time on your everyday tasks. This app lets you (and your team) track work hours across projects. The goal here isn’t “Big Brother” rather identify how you (and team members) are investing your time — are you spending time on low-value or high-value activities? Equipped with this awareness, you have the power to say no to low-value activities or delegate them and refocus your time to where it matters most.

2. Know your circadian rhythm.

Now you think about the time of day that you feel the most energy and concentration. Cue the circadian rhythm. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a typical circadian rhythm has an energy drop between 2am and 4am and in the early afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm.

If you’re already managing your body’s energy levels then the drop won’t be that significant. Between 1pm and 3pm may not be the best times to do your most active work. This could be a great time to schedule shallow work, like checking emails.

3. Work in 90-minute cycles.

This is the concept of deep work and making time for it. Our most successful, focused work occurs in 90-minute increments, and that we should try to limit our breaks until after those time blocks are up. Establishing one, two, three, or four different 90-minute blocks of deep work during your day will depend on the type of work you do, your energy levels, and what your other job responsibilities are.

It’ll help to make a list of when you feel the most focused, and consider what characteristics motivate you during those times. On the other hand, if you notice that time drags on during certain tasks, think about what makes you feel less motivated so that you can either avoid those situations or actively try to focus and grow those skills.

4. Batch your tasks together.

Many employees claim to be good at multitasking, but that’s a myth. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that productivity decreased by 40 percent when people tried to do two or more things at once.

Instead of trying to get a lot of different tasks done at once, group your similar tasks together and get those done in one chunk of time. For example, that could mean making all of your phone calls during a designated hour or creating all your content at once.

Batching your work will allow you to better focus on the task at hand and make you more productive during your time blocks.

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5. Follow the 52-17 rule.

We’re not robots! We all need to take frequent breaks throughout the day in order to stay fresh and operate at a high capacity. This is why so many people have embraced the Pomodoro Technique.

However, after tracking the habits of their top 10 percent most productive users, DeskTime found that the ideal average for success is 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest. Even if you don’t work for 52 minutes exactly, the idea is that you need breaks to recharge, refocus, and avoid burnout.

What are some of the things you’re doing daily to maximize your productivity? Feel free to reach out to us on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and let us know, we’d love to hear about it.

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