There are countless articles about how to improve your productivity from every business, personal development, and aspirational blog including Inc.com, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company. Each is filled with lists offering 5, 10, even 25 ways to save time in the workplace. We’ve taken the best tips and tricks and consolidated them in a quick guide to help you save time this month and start your new year off right.
Be the person with the plan in your office
Experts agree that most successful employees have a plan, whether they show it or not. Save time by taking time to plan. Sit down the night before, even just 15 minutes, to plan out your day and prioritize what needs to get done. You’ll go to bed knowing that you’re ready to attack the next day.
Also, get a jump on little decisions you’ll need to make the next morning. Select your outfit for work the evening before, prepare your lunch in advance, set the coffee timer. The fewer decisions you have to make in the morning, the calmer you’ll be getting into the office.
Shorten your to-do list
Now that you have that list, learn how to improve it and save even more time. Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the "two-minute rule" to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: if you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately.
Other theories include doing the task you dread the most first, that way you aren’t waiting last minute to finish the task. Clear it from your list first thing and we bet your 4pm future self will thank you.
Take care of your body
Standing desks have started to be all the rage but instead of asking for a cubicle makeover, try holding a standing meeting. Not only will it give your back a break from sitting, it is also believed to increase group engagement and performance.
Most famous CEOs start their day with a morning run or workout to jumpstart their mental health and focus. If you need extra motivation to not hit snooze, think of all the ways you could spend your bonus or raise if your run helps you innovate at work.
Lastly, hydrate. Fill up a personal water bottle at your desk and keep it with you all day. Aim for 1.5-2 liters a day and you’d be surprised at what your hydrated brain can do.
Squeeze learning into your morning commute
Rather than trying to add an hour of reading into your day, download the latest audiobook or podcast and treat your commute as a learning session. Take advantage of this time to do something good for your brain. Whether you’ve been meaning to start mediation, keep up with world news, or catch up on that popular new TV show, there are podcasts on almost everything.
Learn to say no
This is probably the biggest takeaway from all the productivity articles out there. The biggest enemy of your time can be the little distractions and interruptions that come at you during the day. Be honest and suggest alternatives if it’s something you realize is important to others. For example, schedule a lunch catch up with the coworker who can’t wait to tell you about their weekend. It’s up to you to protect your time and if you word it nicely, your coworkers will learn to respect that.
Planning plays a key part in everything from eating healthy to workouts to networking. We hope you’ve learned a few new tips on how to organize your day to increase your productivity at work and in your personal life.