If all of us got everything we wanted to get done everyday, we’d all be superstars of success. Sometimes no matter how well thought out our goals, we still fall short of our daily, weekly, monthly objectives. “How,” we lament, “can I accomplish what I need to do within the limited time I have everyday?”
There are all kinds of methods for increasing productivity and focus, so the answer to that question will be different for each person. They key is finding the productivity hack that works best with your schedule, your mentality and your aspirations. Here are a few to get you started on your quest for the perfect one!
Top 1, 2, 3
Everyday you’re probably faced with a list of things that need to get done as long as your arm. All those things are probably significant (otherwise they wouldn’t be on your list) but some of them are definitely more important to your success than others. Often we’ll spend our day dealing with whatever issues are currently under our noses. The ding of our email or the ring of our phone. The day ends up getting squandered in little bits, while the big things fall behind in the queue day after day.
So at the beginning of each day, pick the three things most essential for your success out of the list and put them at the top of your to-do list. Put the most important first, followed by the second and third. Make those three things your priority. Let the emails and phone calls and the rest of the day’s distractions take a back seat. Even if you only complete the top thing on your list, you’ve completed the most important task for the day!
1. 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off
Go at your chosen task full on for twenty five minutes. At the end of that time, take a five minute break then spend twenty five minutes on the next task. Because you’re working in such a short time frame you’re ultra focused on not wasting a second of the time you’ve got allotted to the task. You may not be able to squeeze in very many twenty five minute intervals into your day, but you’ll find great productivity in the ones you do create!
2. Time blocking
At the very beginning of the day or even the night before block the full day out in advance. Fill your calendar in blocks. Hour, half hour, quarter hour, however long you choose. Be sure to give yourself solid blocks to work on your priorities and also to leave blocks open where you can deal with the miscellanies of the day that will come up, like returning phone calls and emails.
As best you can, start and finish each task in its allotted time so nothing on your list falls through the cracks. This kind of forced structure is just what some people need to keep them on track.
3. 90 minutes at a time
There’s been lots of research that indicates most people can concentrate well for a stretch of about 90 minutes and then our focus starts to disintegrate. So to take advantage of your body’s natural focus rhythms, schedule your most important tasks in 90 minute blocks. In between take 20 or 30 minute breaks where you can attend to less absorbing tasks.
That’s my ninety minutes. Off for quick walk about to replenish my energy levels!