There is one thing all highly successful people do to stay organized and focused throughout the day — they all follow a work routine.
When you have multiple tasks on your to-do list, you may feel overwhelmed and struggle to get started. But having a routine provides structure to your day. This routine allows you to get more done in less time.
As Stephen Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
An Atlassian study suggests that more than 40 percent of the time at work is spent unproductively, but following a routine and putting a few strategies in place to organize your day can change that figure dramatically.
Here are six tips for improving your schedule and increasing your productivity.
The average employee spends 13 hours every week on emails alone.
If email is the first thing you do every day, it will suck up all of your time — time you’re better off using elsewhere.
Before you even open your email, take some time to write out your to-do list for the day and what you hope to accomplish.
You could even write your list at the end of each day to prepare for the next one.
This plan will allow you to complete more tasks and ensure your workload is right.
It’s easy to get caught up in the inevitable day-to-day emergencies, but it’s important to remember your larger goals.
One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on getting three big tasks completed every day. Write these goals at the top of your list and schedule your day around them. Doing so helps to avoid spending too much time on smaller objectives and to focus on more needle-moving work.
Did you know employees spend over two hours every day recovering from distractions? Avoid distractions, and don’t let anyone interrupt you while you’re working on these three things. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss wrote, “Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
We will do anything to avoid doing the thing we dread the most. But the tasks we dislike most are usually the most important. Instead of worrying about that task all day, it’s better to “eat the frog” first.
If you eat a frog first — do your worst task before anything else — then the rest of your responsibilities will seem easy in comparison. You’ll be able to focus better on the tasks ahead because you won’t be stuck thinking about that dreaded task.
If you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel like you’re busy, but truthfully, you aren’t getting much done. The way to be the most productive is to take one of your big tasks and schedule a chunk of your day to focus solely on it.
Your performance and productivity peak during uninterrupted 90-minute intervals, so schedule your time in 90-minute chunks. During those 90 minutes, don’t work on any other task, and avoid all distractions. Let your team members know you’ll be busy then, so you can focus without getting interrupted.
Many employees claim to be good at multitasking, but that’s a myth.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that productivity decreases by 40 percent when people try to do two or more things simultaneously.
Instead of trying to get a lot of different tasks done at once, group your similar items together and get those done in one chunk of time. For example, that could mean making all your phone calls during a designated hour.
Batching your work will allow you to focus more on your current task and make you more productive during your time blocks.
No one is highly productive 24/7, and retail merchandising is hard work! Maximize your effectiveness and productivity throughout the day by taking breaks.
Taking breaks throughout the day gives your brain time to rest, which is highly beneficial. Brief breaks from work can lead to better job satisfaction, restore focus and attention, and will prevent decision fatigue.
Keep yourself refreshed, and your body and mind will be ready to get more done.
In a fast-paced work environment, it can be difficult to maintain maximum productivity at all times.
Learning to take care of yourself, plan ahead, and dedicate time to certain tasks might not happen overnight, but keep implementing these tips into your daily schedule and you’ll find yourself transforming into a more productive you.
Originally written by Sujan Patel
Edited by Houston Hawley, President – ProVantage
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