10 Quick Tips to Increase Productivity

Increasing productivity is beneficial to any worker. Maybe it means you get to leave right at 5 pm, maybe it means you add more value to your company, maybe it means you get a 4-day work week instead of a 5. (Wouldn't that be nice!)  As a freelancer who only gets paid when I complete a project, productivity is everything for me. So today I'm sharing 10 ways to boost your productivity to get more done.

1. Minimize alerts. Put your phone on sleep mode and close out unnecessary tabs on your browser. The fewer alerts you receive the less likely you are to get sidetracked onto social media, an email or a text message. 

2. Batch similar tasks. Don't try to do three or four items on your to do list at once. Group similar tasks and knock em out together.

3. Have set days for lunches and meetings with colleagues and friends. It's easy for me to accidentally zap the productivity out of my day by scheduling an off site meeting or lunch several days out of the week. Instead, identify certain days for these meetings. This is a huge time saver.

4. Set certain times to check email throughout the day. Instead of stopping every 5 to 10 minutes to read a new email keep your email browser closed and check it at certain times of the day. This is a guaranteed way to minimize distractions. 

5. Plot out 3 or less important tasks to get done each day at the end of the day before. Keep this list ambitious but practical.This gives you a game plan at the start of each day. You know what's most important and it's plausible to get it done. 

6. After a phone call or a meeting with a manager or client shoot them a quick summary email to make sure you’re both on the same page regarding action items, next steps and deadlines. It can be very frustrating to have stalled progress because team members are not on the same page. Keep the momentum moving forward by creating an action list. 

7. Use the Pomodoro Technique. Work in 25 minute increments with a five minute break in between. Use a physical timer, stopwatch or even the digital version on your smartphone or computer.

8. Don’t go to inbox zero just for the sake of being at inbox zero. This can be a real time waster.

9. Live and die on deadlines. Take a cue from the efficient world of journalism. Assign deadlines to everything. An item without a deadline becomes a zombie project--a project that's not exactly dead but not exactly alive. Keep that ball rolling by giving yourself a deadline. 

10. Keep a birds eye view 3 week calendar accessible and a 7-day detailed calendar accessible on your desktop. This shows you what's coming down the pipe so you're not surprised by any deadlines in a week or two while simultaneously showing you how you're going to execute your work over the next week. I've found this to be the most productive calendar views.

If you like this kind of post you may also like a previous post I wrote: 7 Hacks for Shaking off the Blahs and Getting Out of ProcrastiNation.