Do you ever go to sleep each night wishing you had done more than lounge around in your PJs all day? That’s not an uncommon feeling, but there’s a lot you can do to change the way you feel about your accomplishments at the end of the day. Here are six ways you can increase your productivity at work, at home, and in life.
- Keep your phone out of arm’s reach
Your phone is probably your biggest distraction. Even if you turn off your sound notifications, it’s tempting to want to check it every five minutes. You’ll get more done at home and at work if you don’t keep your phone beside you. At work you can put your phone in a drawer or hide it under a pile of papers. If it rings, you’ll still hear it, but if you can’t see it, it will become less of a temptation. The result is you’ll get more done.
- Make a to-do list
If you find yourself going through your day without focus, you’re probably not as productive as you’d like to be. By making a to-do list each night, you’ll wake up knowing exactly what you have to do. You won’t waste time wandering around wondering what to do. You won’t sit at your desk trying to decide which task to tackle next because it will be laid out in front of you.
- Set time limits
When you’re working on a task, it can help to set a time limit. If you are a procrastinator, this will be especially helpful. Estimate how long it should take you to finish a specific task and set a timer. If it’s a task that will take a few hours, break it down into thirty or forty-five minute chunks of work time to allow yourself short breaks. By setting time limits, you will stop wasting time and get more accomplished.
- Turn off the TV
TV can be a huge time-suck, so it’s important to be picky about what you watch. It might be relaxing to watch for hours every evening after work, but there are probably other things you’d like to do. Stop watching reruns of shows you’ve seen multiple time. Pick a show you want to watch and when it’s over, turn off the TV immediately instead of checking the listings to see what’s on next. This will allow you the time to do things you always say you want to do, but never get around to.
- Stop trying to multitask
You might be able to multitask, but it will still take you longer to accomplish things than if you don’t. If you cooking dinner and texting your friend the entire time, it might take you an extra fifteen or twenty minutes to finish. If you try to write a paper while you watch TV, it’s going to take you longer than it would if you weren’t constantly looking up to watch. Multitasking isn’t bad or impossible, it just causes you take longer to finish things. You are tricked into thinking you’re getting more done, when you’re not. Start focusing on the task at hand without anything else to distract you.
- Learn to say “no”
If you have trouble saying “no” to requests from family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors, this might be a large part of the reason you’re not productive. If you work from home, people might assume you have time to do favors for them or drive them places. You might want to help and feel guilty if you say “no,” but if you’re asked for favors too often, this will cut into your productivity. If your co-worker regularly asks you to help them with their work, but you have your own to finish, it’s important to say “no.” Others won’t respect your time if you don’t respect your time.
If you want to be more productive, it begins with changing your current habits. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it.