To help you improve your productivity and reach your annual goals, here are 10 tips for getting more done and getting it done better
1. Start planning now
At the end of your work day, take some time to plan for tomorrow. Preparing and planning your workload gives you more control over the pace and execution of your duties. Ideally, you should block off a daily time slot in your schedule.
2. Read your emails at scheduled times
Incoming emails are a distraction. Rather than reading them as they come in, set aside time for them: one hour in the morning and two one-hour periods in the afternoon. If an email is truly urgent, the sender will no doubt follow up with a phone call. You should also sort your emails. Not everything needs to be dealt with immediately, so we recommend grouping your emails by category (clients, colleagues, solicitations, etc.). That way you can distinguish between what needs to be addressed quickly and what can wait.
3. Prioritize your tasks to move toward your day’s goal
Say goodbye to lists with countless tasks that distract from what’s essential: achieving your goal for the day, the one that will give you a leg up on the competition. To do this, anything that gets you closer to your daily goal needs to be a priority.
Don’t forget the Eisenhower Matrix1, which, with its two axes (importance and urgency) and four resulting quadrants, will help you prioritize and delegate your tasks:
a. What is important and urgent (to be done as a priority)
b. What is important but not urgent (to be planned or delegated quickly)
c. What is urgent, but not important (to be delegated)
d. What is urgent and not important (to be postponed or eliminated)
4. Clear your head to make room for new ideas
Stop jumping from thing to thing and get some fresh air. Go outside for a walk. You will clear your head to make way for new and better ideas.
5. Know how to stop to better delegate
Many people wrongly think that ditching a difficult task means failure. The real questions you need to ask yourself are: is this task really within my purview? Should I delegate? Is it worth the effort I’m putting into it? By concentrating your efforts on what you are good at, you save time and will see a better return on your investment.
6. Stop talking and listen
Put your schedule aside if you have to and take the time to listen attentively to what your team and your partners have to say. How? By asking open questions and giving people enough time to answer. You will be surprised to see the solutions that emerge from these discussions.
7. Make a “not-to-do” list
Strange, right? But by taking time every day to visualize the things you shouldn’t do and that prevent you from achieving maximum productivity, good habits will gradually take hold.
8. Use the phone to... make calls
Every day, you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, probably more than you are willing to admit. Think of the barrage of notifications coming to your phone. When these virtual notices come, your concentration suffers. To deal with this technological distraction, use your phone for its primary function: calling!
9. Yes, routine is necessary
With a bit of will and by making the monotonous aspects of your work part of your daily routine, what you don’t like or aren’t motivated to do will seem much easier. Why not enjoy a nice cup of coffee or put on background music you enjoy while doing them?
10. Think sprints rather than marathons
Intense periods during which your concentration is at its best are clearly more profitable than long sessions where your attention is not fully focussed. It’s a fact.
With effective work periods, clear objectives and moments of rest, your efficiency, and, in turn, your productivity will increase tenfold. Thanks to these 10 tips, your year 2017 will no doubt be the most prolific of your career.
- The Eisenhower Matrix: “ Prioriser l’importance sur l’urgence ”, by Mathieu Laferrière, blogger.
- Productivity at work: “ Le pour et le contre des six heures de travail par jour ”, by Isabelle Massé, journalist for La Presse.