More Productivity in Less Time: Six Simple Tips
Hardly anyone will argue that more spent time would give more results. If you work on your task four hours but your colleague works two, it is pretty obvious that you will do more. At least, it is so in theory.
People talk a lot about productivity or in other words, how to be more productive in less time. Today you can attend plenty of seminars and conferences and read books with hacks. No wonder as the world we live in is pacing fast, and we have too many things to do every day.
The thing is that you don’t have to work hard. Instead, it’s better to work smart accomplishing the same amount of tasks in less time. How to do that? There is nothing brand new about it. You can still attend conferences and learn new information. But sometimes simple ideas look as great as experts’ opinions on another productivity seminar or project management conference.
Here are some smart recommendations that will help to be more productive in less time.
1. Focus without multitasking
Does it look like it is already impossible from the very beginning? I guess yes. We have so many distractors that kill our productivity. This list can be long: social media profiles, news, coffee breaks, and chats. Even if you put all your efforts on minimizing distraction factors, a message or email from your old friend may come out of the blue. What’s next? At least, you lose your attention and focus on current tasks.
What is the way out? Of course, it’s better to cut everything that has no connections to your tasks. Focus on your activity and stick to it.
Moreover, there are clear evidences that multitasking is harmful. Trying to do several things at the same time will remain “trying”. You won’t succeed until you focus your mind on one task at the very given moment.
2. Realize the actual time
If you spend two hours on a task, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs two hours. It’s your time devoted to it. Think about efficiency and do your best to complete a task without losing in quality. This tip is not about scheduling but evaluating the actual time needed for a task.
For example, you usually spend one hour a day talking to stakeholders. Ask yourself whether you can reduce it. 50 minutes? Yes. 40? No, too little. Will 45 minutes work? Probably, this is the exact amount of time you need for this task. So, every day you can free up to 15 minutes on other assignments and activity. Evaluate the precise time that every task takes.
3. Get a robust planning tool
Are you one of those happy persons who are able to keep all the plans in his/her head? If yes, then you are lucky indeed. But in most cases the reality is different. It is impossible to rely purely on your memory. At the end of the day, you will find out that you forgot to make an important call or didn’t send an email.
When you have a to-do list with scheduled tasks, you are already one step ahead. For this, choose an appropriate project planning tool. It can be based on a Kanban approach that is rather popular. Also, it can take a Gantt chart approach that is even more spread. In any case, these tools will give great possibilities to plan all of your tasks.
By the way, GanttPRO Gantt chart software has a Gantt chart approach as a primary base. But it also includes a board view or, in other words, a Kanban approach. At the same time, it is not a complicated solution that needs too much time to learn.
4. Do chunking
It’s all about breaking down all your tasks into smaller ones. As a rule, all projects and work in general look hefty. Imagine, you need to build a house. I mean, a real house. Do you know where to start from? What will be the next step? What can you do by yourself and where do you need a professional assistance? I bet all these questions have no answer right now.
But what if to break all the work down into phases? Then go ahead and break these phases down into smaller tasks. Thus you will get a visualized structure and understanding where to start and how to proceed. By the way, this is where Gantt chart software will help you too.
Also, it is smart to take breaks to be more productive in less time. For example, you can stick to a productivity tip to work every 52 minutes with the following 17-minute break. Or some people also advise working 90 minutes with the following 30-minute break. But as you can see, that is a simple doubling of the first described approach. Scientist proved that these sequences help to be more productive in less time.
The thing is that our body and brain give us a lot of cues that we need to stop for a little. But we tend to work too intensive that we do not pay much attention to such cues. That’s what makes us run low on mental energy we need to do our best. And to do our best, we need to mix work and rest cycles that are natural to our bodies.
Imagine, you are a runner. If you run without any pauses, you will cause too much stress to your body. On the contrary, a runner who rests a lot will become weak. The way out is to run, then take a break during which the body will recover strength and recharge energy, and go on running. The same we should apply at work to perform best with less time spent.
6. Keep it simple, stupid
KISS for short. Also, there are some other variations like “Keep it simple, silly; Keep it simple and straightforward; Keep it short and simple” and some likewise. In 1960, the US Navy designed this principle and it later gained popularity.
As you can see from the phrase, simplicity is the key principle. It is a must to avoid complicated steps in your working system. You may stick to simple approaches that, for example, your colleagues have. Or you can successfully invent it by yourself. At least, no one knows you better than you do.
Time to be smartly productive
All those described approaches can help to be more productive in less time. However, it may happen that none of them will work for you. As I’ve already stated, no one knows you better. So, figure out what works best for you in terms of these pieces of advice and some of your personal preferences. Remember, there is no more need to work hard. Be smart instead.
Do you think you work productively? Share your experience with us!