Throughout the United States, 62 percent of employees admit to wasting between 30 and 60 minutes of company time every day.
Sixteen percent waste two hours per day, and 10 percent waste between three and five (or more) hours every day.
Clearly, the U.S. has a productivity problem.
Do you want to change things around and start being part of the solution?
If you’re having a hard time clearing your to-do list, keep reading. Listed below are nine tips that will help you be more productive.
1. Write Your To-Do List the Night Before
How much time do you waste each day figuring out what tasks you need to accomplish?
If you write your to-do list the night before, you can hit the ground running right when you get to work.
Take just ten minutes before you head to bed to write down the tasks you need to accomplish the next day.
If you need to work on leaving work at work, you can also try writing the next day’s to-do list before you leave the office for the day.
That way, you can decompress on the drive home and have an easier time enjoying your evening.
2. Do the Hardest Task First
When you address your to-do list in the morning, figure out which task is going to be the most challenging or time-consuming. Then, do that task first. Some people refer to this as “eating the frog.”
If you knock out the hardest task on your to-do list first, everything you do during the day will feel easier.
You’ll also feel more empowered to address other tasks on your to-do list — after all, if you’ve already done the hardest thing, what can’t you handle?
3. Eliminate Distractions
Don’t be a slave to text message and email alerts. Mute them or turn your phone off while you’re working.
You may feel compelled to respond to every text and email that comes your way during the day. But, this is a total drain on your productivity.
Try scheduling specific times throughout the day to check your texts and emails.
If you’re worried that your coworkers will be bothered if they can’t get a hold of you at all times of the day, let them know that you’ll only be checking messages at certain times.
That way, they’ll know when they can expect a response and will be less inclined to badger you.
4. Batch Your Work
If you have control over the types of tasks you do throughout the day, try planning your schedule so that you address similar tasks all at once.
For example, maybe you’ll respond to all emails and text messages between 8 am and 9 am. Then, maybe you’ll move on and deal with administrative tasks from 9 am to 10 am.
When you batch your work in this way, it’s easy for you to stay focused and avoid the wasted time that accrues when you’re constantly switching from task to task.
5. Sip on an Energizing Beverage
There’s nothing wrong with relying on a little caffeine to get you through the day.
While drinking cup after cup of coffee isn’t ideal (it can make you jittery and lead to a crash), a little caffeine can help give you the energy you need to handle your most challenging tasks.
Not into coffee? You might want to try a nootropic beverage from a company like ThoughtFoods instead.
Nootropics help to improve energy and ability to focus, so you’ll be more productive and won’t have to worry about a caffeine crash.
6. Take Exercise Breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but regular breaks can actually help you get more done. This is especially true if your breaks include some kind of exercise.
Breaking up your workday with brief periods of exercise can help you improve your productivity and focus.
You’ll also feel more energized and less stressed if you move more often. This is because exercise helps your body to produce endorphins, feel-good chemicals associated with a positive mood.
7. Know Yourself
This isn’t possible for everyone. But, if you are in a position where you can plan your own schedule, try to plan it around the times of day when you are most productive.
If you’re more productive in the morning, start work earlier in the day. More productive at night? Sleep in and start your workday a bit later.
It’s okay if your schedule doesn’t look like a traditional 9-5 job. As long as you’re doing what you need to do to be more productive, it doesn’t matter when you choose to get things done.
8. Take a Deep Breath (or Two)
When you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, your first instinct might be to simply put your head down and work harder to try and get through it.
In reality, though, this can actually make you less productive and cause you to feel more fatigued during the day.
When feelings of stress arise, pause for a moment and take some deep breaths.
A simple meditation practice like this helps to send fresh, oxygenated blood to your brain (helping you feel energized and focused). It also gives you some time to get your bearings and put things in perspective.
9. Don’t be Afraid to Say No
Finally, know when to say, “no.” You don’t have to be Superman or Superwoman, and you don’t have to do everything alone.
It’s okay to tell a co-worker or boss that you can’t handle a specific task. It’s also okay to assign a specific task to someone else who has the bandwidth to handle it.
It can be hard to turn down people’s requests at first. But, as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it will get.
And, your colleagues will respect you all the more for setting and sticking to your boundaries.
Looking for More Tips to be More Productive?
As you can see, there are lots of these things you can do to be more productive during the workday.
From batching your work to taking breaks to clear your head, implementing even just a few of these tips can be very helpful.
Do you need more help to increase your productivity?
Check out this article to learn how changing your workspace setup can help you get more done and have more time to do the things you love.