Life in the modern era is quite demanding. If you’re like most people, you find yourself overextended with obligations, facing a seemingly never-ending list of things to do. Those that are also working on earning a degree face even greater demands on their time. This pervasive problem has many people wondering, is there a way to increase productivity and improve performance but also reduce pressure and stress?
While you might still face a long to-do list, these tactics can help you boost your productivity without sacrificing your sanity.
1. One thing at a time
If you were to research productivity, you might come across tips for “multi-tasking,” but many people feel that this reduces their efficiency and makes them feel unfocused. Experts agree, such as Susan Weinschenk, PhD, who wrote in Psychology Today that you may lose as much as 40% of your productivity by switching from task to task. So instead of multi-tasking, stay focused on completing one task at a time.
2. Make a list, then prioritize it
The idea of list-making isn’t a new one, but it’s not enough to simply write down everything you have to do. If you want to boost your productivity in the workplace, or better organize your life outside work, you need to prioritize everything. You should also assign a value to each item by determining when it needs to be completed and how much time you’ll need. Also, consider the consequences of not completing it and let that help you determine the order of priority. This helps you make conscious decisions about how your time is spent.
3. Use technology to your advantage
We live in the technological age, but that means more than streaming movies and fast computers. Technology can help you be more productive if you use it the right way. For instance, by automating tasks like bill paying you minimize competition for your time. You can use a calendar app to organize your time and remind you of important events. In fact, there are many apps that can help you make the most of your time, from managing projects to assigning chores to your children.
4. Say no, and mean it
There are only 24 hours in a day, which means you have to allocate a bit of your precious time to every task on your to-do list. Remember, there is a limit on how many things you can reasonably accomplish each day. You also need to devote some of that time to yourself, otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself burned out and unmotivated. When you look at it this way, you can see how important it is to not over-obligate yourself. So before you volunteer for the Party Planning Committee, make sure it’s not going to pull you away from other, high-priority tasks.
Remember, being productive is a balancing act between time spent and achieved objectives. So when judging your productivity, look at the outcome of your work and use that to measure how productive you truly are. After all, it’s about doing great things, not just being busy!