We all wish there were just a few more hours of the day. One minute you sit down at your desk, and the next thing you know it’s time to go home. Even though you worked all day, you didn’t get as much done as you would like.
If this sounds even vaguely familiar, you’re probably wondering how you can get more done in less time. You see people all the time getting their work done early and can’t figure out how they do it. To help you out, here are a few keys on how you can increase your productivity to get more done in less time.
The first key to getting more done is limiting the number of distractions. We live in a world where our attention is constantly being called to other matters. Just as you sit down to work, an email pops up alerting you of a new respondent to your email marketing campaign. Or maybe a friend texts you, or you get an alert from one of your social media accounts. Now you’re focused on that, and work gets put off for a few more minutes.
The goal then is to limit these distractions. Put your phone on silent when you’re about to work. Turn off email notifications. Put some headphones on so you can’t be distracted by the noises around you.
A great thing to try is working in sprints. Some of us can’t afford to put our phones away for the entire work-day, or we’re unable to go without checking emails. Instead, you can work in sprints. Shut off everything and set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes. During that time you’ll be entirely focused on work. Once the timer goes off, you can check your email or social media accounts. This allows you to at least manage your distractions and let them in after you get some work done.
Get Yourself Organized
The next thing you should focus on is getting yourself organized. One problem a lot of us face is that when we sit down to work, we can’t find the things we need to get stuff done. You have piles of folders all over your desk, or you can’t find a working pen, or the files on your computer have no organizational structure. You end up wasting a ton of time just getting your stuff in order.
What you should do is take some time to get everything organized. There are some great ways that you can organize your desk and organize the files on your computer. Even if it takes you a few hours to do this now, you’ll make up for it by being able to get more done when you finally sit down to work.
Automate and Outsource Simple Tasks
A great way to get more done in less time is by letting someone (or something) else do the easier tasks for you. With the Internet, finding a way to do this is easier than ever before.
The first thing to look at is if any of your tasks can be automated.
There are a lot of tools available that can help you to automate simple tasks. For example, let’s say you work for an Internet Marketing Company, and your task is to track whenever someone mentions a specific company on Twitter. With social media tools, such as IFTTT, you can have all uses of a hashtag immediately uploaded to a Google spreadsheet. Now a task that used to take you hours is completely automated.
Another option is to outsource some of your tasks. There are people all over the world who are able to perform simple tasks in exchange for a small monetary compensation. If you don’t have the time to create custom forms for all of your clients, hire someone else to do it for you. You’ll be making a minimal financial investment, but saving yourself a lot of time – time you can put to better use.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The key to getting more done in less time is working smarter, not harder. You can try to learn to type faster, or how to do more tasks at the same time, but this really won’t save you much time. In fact, it’ll probably just stress you out to the point where you need to take more breaks.
Rather, find smarter ways to get things done. If there’s a certain task that takes you a long time, look for a tool online that might make it go quicker. For instance, maybe there’s an Excel formula you could use that would do all of the calculations you’ve previously been doing by hand. Or maybe you have a large amount of photos you need to edit, and a batch processor would help. If you can’t find a tool, consider delegating the work to someone else so that you can focus on bigger items.
Once you’ve found better ways to do your tasks, all that’s left is removing distractions so that you can actually get things done. Use some browser extensions to block time wasting sites, put your phone away, or work in sprints.
No one is born more productive than someone else. The most productive people are the ones who learn how to manage their time and who are able to find better ways to do things. Hopefully this guide was able to give you some ideas, and going forward you’ll be able to get more done in less time.
Short Authors bio
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries.