Five Productivity Hacks You Can Use Now – By Travis Glenn

by Sara Szado on May 4, 2016

If you’re like most people, you have more work to do than time to do it. In order to complete those tasks, and still have time to enjoy life outside of work, we have to improve our efficiency.

Here are some quick tips to increase productivity.

1. Prioritization
Before you crack open your email or start on your first task, take a moment to think about what you need to get done today. For most of us, that shouldn’t equate to a huge to-do list. What are the three most important things that you absolutely must get done? Write that down and stick it somewhere that is easily visible at your workstation. The must-do list trumps your to-do list.

2. Minimizing distractions
Once you have your must-do list completed, consider anything else a distraction. Avoid these distractions at all costs. Find what gets you in the zone – classical music can be effective; video game soundtrack music has also been shown to work well. White noise sites like provide a lot of great sound options, and combinations, such as coffee shop, airport, wind blowing, fire crackling, and more.

3. Set boundaries
This goes hand in hand with minimizing distractions. If you are constantly stopping mid-task to respond to someone, it significantly increases the time it takes you to finish what you’re doing. Sometimes these intrusions are unavoidable, but if you, politely and professionally, set boundaries, you’ll find that most will respect that. Remember, you know your priorities. Make sure you’re focusing on your must-do list, instead of someone else’s.

4. Take breaks
Some people confuse clocking long hours at their desk with productivity. We’re all human. There are limits to our attention span. Instead of trying to throw down a four-hour marathon at your desk, break your day up into periods of intense focus followed by brief breaks. 50 minutes is a pretty good average time period for most of us to focus on a task. Then take a fifteen-minute break. It’s even better if you can get away from your computer. Breaks are good for you, and will allow you to be even more focused when you jump back into your tasks.

5. Batching Tasks
There are some activities that don’t quite make the cut to our super-sexy high-priority must-do list, but they still need to be done. Things like answering emails, checking stats, etc, could be examples of those next-tier activities. For those tasks, batching can increase efficiency. Batching is simply saving these tasks and getting through them all at once. For example, take mailing a package. Instead of driving to the post office five times a day to mail five separate packages, it is much more efficient to make one trip and mail all five packages. Set aside a time each day or week to handle the batched task and stick to it.

No matter how efficient you are, there’s always room for improvement. Use the hacks that work for you and keep pushing forward.

Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development, you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter.

This article appeared in issue 34 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2016.

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