One of the best feelings is returning home to free time after experiencing a productive workday. On days like these you somehow manage to cross off every item on your to-do list with time to spare. A home-cooked meal, TV time, and a good night's sleep are all yours tonight. Wouldn't it be great if every day could be like this?
Despite a variety of tasks competing for their attention and the call of constant distractions, some people accomplish such productivity every day of their lives. Here are some tips from these incredibly busy yet productive people on how you, too, can attain more productive workdays.
1 Have a Single Purpose Focus
"Pick one thing and do that one thing – and only that one thing – better than anyone else ever could." – Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com
For many of us, what eats away most of our workdays is the time we waste trying to focus simultaneously on multiple projects. For example, would it have taken you five hours to file last week's report if you hadn't been answering emails in the meantime?
2 Ruthlessly Block Out Distractions
"I concentrate on concentrating." – Martina Navratilova, tennis legend
While the internet can be essential in completing our work, it can also be a giant time suck. (I'll admit, I'm addicted to my RSS feeds) When all else fails, manually block distractions from interrupting your work groove.
3 Set a Strict Time Limit on Meetings
"By [giving people half of the time they ask for a meeting or appointment], I am able to cram a number of things in the day and move people in and out more effectively." – Gary E. McCullough, CEO of Career Education Corp.
For those of us who work in offices, we can attest to the fact that meetings often go on for far longer than necessary. By setting strict time limits for meetings we'd be able to cut the crap from our workdays and use more time to create.
4 Set Up Productivity Rituals
"Force yourself to prioritize so that you know that you will finish at least that one critical task during the period of the day when you have the most energy and the fewest distractions." – Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project
We humans are creatures of habit, so setting up rituals that dictate how we do our work is a great way to make productivity come naturally. For example, I used to start my mornings by lazily eating breakfast while reading a book. With my mind thus intrigued by whatever gem I was reading at the time, I often produced half-assed work so I could get back to my book sooner. To fix this, I've gotten into the habit of waiting until I've created my first article of the day before I eat breakfast. This mentally prepares me to function well first thing in the morning and to build momentum to work efficiently for the rest of the day. And now I put off my reading until after I finish my work.
5 Get Up Earlier
"A line in a William Blake poem inspired me to think differently about my day: 'Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.' This has made a huge difference in my life." – Steve Murphy, CEO of publishing company Rodale
They don't say the early bird gets the worm for no reason. Getting out of bed even an hour earlier each day can allow you to accomplish much more.
How do you make your workdays as productive as can be? Share your tips in the comments section.