You’ve probably had times when everything seemed crazy. Your workload is more than a normal person can do, you’ve got hundreds of emails to sort out (and more than half of it probably is from unsolicited social media updates), you’re scheduled for a meeting that you have nothing to do with, you’re co-worker is bugging you for help and you’re so tired since you’ve been zapped of energy from a mismanaged weekend. Ha, crazy indeed!

We live in a world that often sees a busy schedule as a productive feat. Full calendars means working hard but sometimes it’s not the way it looks. Your effectiveness may be hampered by the no-focus schedules, your efficiency may be reduced and everything may start a domino effect.

So why not work smart, not too hard, but as effective and efficient as your company’s last employee of the month? Consider the useful hacks below.

Lay it all out on Sunday.

It doesn’t have to take up your whole Sunday. Instead, during some free time, lay out your incoming weeks work and priorities. Plus the idea that you are ready will make your Monday manic bearable. It can be a general outline or a list of things you need to do for next week starting from the most urgent and the most important, the easiest to do and the miscellaneous things.

Exercise

If it isn’t possible to do it every day then try to do it a few times a week. Start your morning early with a run or other fitness training. Exercise can perk you up, wake up your neurons and take you out of the fat zone. A morning run can also be time to reflect and think. Make sure to do it early and end it in time for breakfast with your family.

Prioritise tasks, do the difficult task first.

Tasks are often categorised according to the work that needs to be put in it, urgency and priority. Put the most urgent and the biggest task on the top of the list. Then next are the little and doable tasks. By doing the difficult and hard tasks first will increase your focus. Sometimes these hard tasks may induce stress and occupy your mind a lot. Doing it first will free the mind and let you do the subsequent tasks after.

Take time inventory.

Inventory the things that you do in connection with your time spent with it. If at the end of the week you see that you spend more time on e-mails and unnecessary phone calls, and then cut it down next week. Take note of the tasks where you are most productive and increase time spent in it.

Use commute time efficiently.

You can do some things during the commute. For example you can take calls. Safely of course, with a speaker phone or through a headset during the drive. Just make sure that these are phone calls that aren’t as distracting like a big client transactions since it might take your mind off the road. Plane flights are an ideal time to catch up on some reading. Tackle those articles you’ve bookmarked, or those white-papers you’ve been meaning to read.

Default meetings for 30 minutes.

Often, meetings are set for an hour or so. But often, things to be discussed can be done in thirty minutes. This will cut down unnecessary talks and will have the topic discussed right away.

Reduce work dinners.

Work dinners tend to drag on. This extended time often may eat up the time you could have spent for relaxing, resting or time for your family. As a suggestion, breakfast meetings can be as effective and advisable since there will be things to do after the meal, unlike with dinners.

Bring lunch to work or eat out.

Okay, this is optional. Sometimes a lunch on work can be productive sometimes it’s not. But for those who love the quiet, you can eat lunch while sorting through papers, or reading some updates in the computer. It can be good too to go out, eat with colleagues and take time off. Whatever suits your personality, you can choose which is more productive for you.

Employ a two minute rule.

This famous two minute rule is always included in efficiency tricks. When facing a task, ask yourself if it can be done in two minutes, and then do it at that moment. This will take extra work off your shoulder and will require less stress when your two-minute things-to-do piles up into a three hour things-to-do. Read HuffPost’s take on this hack in this link, Stop Procrastinating .

Use 80/20 OHIO Rule.

Gone are the good old days of written mails. But gone are the days too of trash bin sorting. Now, you can literally receive hundreds of emails a day which may take huge chunk of your time sorting. Most of your emails may not be important. Delete the unimportant ones and employ the OHIO or the Only Handle it Once process. When an important email comes up, deal with it right away. Another great article to be more productive from Forbes, 6 Ways to be More Productive.

Prioritise tasks based on ROI.

You can also prioritise tasks based on ROI. If all tasks ahead are difficult, then put on top those that are going to give you the most return of investment. This will make you feel rewarded later. Then follow up on the subsequent tasks.

Disconnect from social media distractions.

Social media notification can be distracting and can be time consuming if you check on them. And if they’re not work related, then try to disconnect. Often the notification and the blinks in the bottom of your screen take your attention and may tempt you to open it, so instead, turn off desktop notifications.

Have a no meeting day.

Well, many companies employ this. Schedule a no meeting day to avoid workflow interruption. This way, you can have a day where a workflow is spontaneous.

Leave at the same time every day.

Leaving on a scheduled time may help you manage your work. Psychologically, you may try to forgo the procrastination since you’re trying to meet time schedule.

Plan phone calls.

Have a phone call hour. Then minimize the task all throughout the day unless it’s an urgent matter. And once on a call, go straight to the matter. List down key points before the call to help you not deviate from the topic or to make sure you covered everything you needed.

Unsubscribe to newsletters.

Newsletters clutter your inbox so unsubscribe to those that aren’t work related or those that are promotional. For a quick and easy way to do it, sort mails by “unsubscribe” term then start batch deleting them.

Learn to say no.

Sometimes workplaces can be a home to nuisance co-workers who seemed to forget that you have other things to do too. So when somebody asked you to help over petty task, then try saying no, in a nice way of course.

Keep desk clutter free.

A clutter free desk will help you focus better. Since you get no distraction, you may work efficiently.

Use CRM.

CRM or Customer Relation Management software can help you manage goals and give you better time management.

Take a break.

Breaks are good way to improve productivity. Nap rooms are in trend and studies show they are effective (see this nap room advocate and this ten companies who have it). Or utilize break time to internalize and recharge.

Stay positive.

Do not be too negative, avoid being grumpy and smile. Nothing can beat that. Positive attitude at work can affect your productivity as well as your product outcome.

featured image: deathtostockphotos.com

About Author

Roelen researches, creates, tailors content for outreach and content promotion campaigns as well as social presence management. She likes poetry, blues, The Walking Dead and crime books.