Have you ever felt "busy," yet not really get anything done at the end of the day?
Oftentimes my clients want to increase productivity, stop spinning their wheels and make the most of their day. Sometimes they’ll ask me how to “add” more time in their day, or sneak in an extra hour.
Thinking about carving out an hour may seem impossible sometimes. We live in a culture where we feel as if we have to constantly be “hustling” in order to be productive.
Instead of carving out an hour at once, we can create habits that can provide smaller moments throughout the day. The following are seven ways in which to “add” time to your day:
- Take breaks. This might seem counterintuitive, however, if you don’t take downtime you won’t be as productive or efficient in the end. Give yourself permission to recharge your batteries. Learn to accept that there will always be something on the to-do list, and there will always be something in the inbox. One Stanford University study suggests that people who work 70 hours per week are no more productive than those who work 55 hours.
- Commit to time during your day when you turn off distractions, such as social media and other notifications on your phone. When you remove distractions as much as possible, you’ll get a lot more done, and you’ll give your brain a break when you allow yourself to focus on the task at hand. When we start one thing and then respond to every ding through email, social media or text, not only does it distract us from the task at hand, ultimately it can cause more stress and overwhelm. Multitasking not only affects the quality of the work we do, it is possible that it can affect the brain’s gray matter volume, which is associated with memory, decision-making and more.
- Carve out time. There’s a concept called Parkinson’s Law which states that work expands given the time allotted. This means if you give yourself two months to do something, you will take two months to do it. If you give yourself two weeks, you will have laser focus and do it in two weeks. You can apply this to your daily tasks as well. If we compartmentalize our time, it helps us get more done. You can use one of various techniques which involves using a timer and working in blocks of time. The idea is to be laser-focused on a task for a short period of time, without switching your attention back and forth to other projects.
- Use apps to block social media sites while you’re focusing on work or other tasks if you could use some help with self-control. Social media can end up sucking us in, and before you know it 15 or 20 minutes have passed when we simply wanted to go “check” something.
- Give yourself permission to let go of perfectionism. Dragging out projects because you’re trying to be perfect will slow down your productivity.
- Set intentions the night before. Think about what do you want your day to look (and feel) like. This allows you to consciously plan your day without letting your day overtake you or control you. It doesn’t mean you’re trying to control external circumstances, it simply allows you to consciously create your day and reflect on how you want to feel.
- Set boundaries. Saying no and honoring yourself is something a lot of people struggle with. Some people end up finding that their plate is full of everyone else’s priorities. When someone asks you do to something that you really don’t want to do, take a moment to reflect on why you’d be taking it on before you say yes.
Have a productivity tip to share? What helps you be more productive? Share your story and let me know in the comments below!