Do you want to learn how to stay focused?
More often than not, we wish for more hours during the day. There’s just so much to do, and not enough time to finish them all. Whether we have too much to do or whether we can’t effectively manage time, the story is the same with everyone.
We can’t control time; neither can we let go of everything we need to accomplish every day. What we can do is to improve on our own productivity, so that we can at least get the important jobs done, if not everything. We don’t necessarily need to spend more hours on our chores and responsibilities. Rather, what we need is to pay more attention on what we are doing, so that everything that gets done is completed perfectly, on time and effectively.
Here are 10 ways to make your hours count and get more done every day.
1. Start the Day Before
Your day shouldn’t start after you’ve woken up in the morning; rather, it should start the night before. Everything you need to accomplish that particular day, make a to-do list the previous night before you go to bed. This way, when you go to sleep, you have already made some progress for the next day, mentally prepared yourself for everything that is to come.
Besides, when you wake up in the morning, you won’t have to blindly face the day, without any plans. You’ll have the whole day mapped out because you’ve spent an additional 5 minutes on your to-do list the previous night. You’ll know everything you have to do and start making plans immediately after you wake up.
2. Wake up Before Everyone else
If you have a hectic morning routine and you wake up exactly at the moment that you have to, and not a minute earlier – there’s absolutely no time for you to gather yourself up and get ready to face the day.
On the other hand, if you simply wake up an hour earlier than you are supposed to, you can accomplish more in these 60 minutes than you’ve dreamed off. You can brush your teeth before your children wake up, complete a 5-minute exercise regime, drink your first cup of coffee, and even get a relaxing shower.
3. Accomplish Something First Thing in the Morning
Before the rest of your family wakes up, before you become busy getting your children ready for school, and before you have to leave for work – try to tick off at least one thing on your to-do list. It can be something simple and really small, like sending off an important email or making a phone call, or even checking your pantry to make a grocery list.
Whatever it is, a completed task at the beginning of the day will give you the confidence you need to face the rest of your responsibilities. When you leave the house for work or by the time your real day has started, you would have already handled something on your list, and handled it well.
4. Identify your Prime Time
Everyone has a prime time when they perform their best. It could be in the morning after you’ve had your coffee, or the first hour after you’ve reached home, but your prime time should be when you can accomplish the most. Keep all your difficult and challenging tasks for this particular window of yours; if you have the option, arrange all your important business calls and meetings during this time when your mind will be most active. The rest of the day when you’re not feeling so creative or energetic, you can keep aside for the more traditional jobs, such as emailing, scheduling or filing.
5. Pick out the Most important Ones
Every day, you might have dozens of tasks to go through, but only a few of them would be urgent. So, pick out the ones that are most important and just had to be completed by the end of the day, and concentrate on finishing them first. This way, even if you can’t complete your whole list by the end of the day, you’ll at least have completed the ones that are important.
6. Remove Distractions
When you are working, or trying to concentrate on something, be sure to remove all kinds of distractions from around you. keep your phone away from you, so that you won’t be tempted to glance at your notifications.
Give yourself a time frame, a 30-minute or 60-minute deadline in between which you won’t get up from your task at hand unless there’s an emergency. If you are working from home and have young children who can disturb you at any moment, take the opportunity of their naptime to work without distractions.
7. Take Frequent Breaks
Even when you have a lot on your plate, don’t forget to take frequent breaks throughout the day. They don’t have to be long breaks so that you miss out on your chores, but 5- to 10-minute breaks spread throughout the day. A coffee break, or a phone call in the middle of the day to a loved one – these all qualify for short breaks that will energise you.
Some people take a 10-minute power nap which makes them more energized than a cup of strong coffee, so that’s something you can try!
8. Focus on the Task at Hand
Whatever you are doing, your whole concentration should be on the task at hand. Don’t bother yourself thinking about how much you have left and whether you can finish your list by the end of the day; only focus on what you are doing at the moment. Make your present job your most important one.
The more distracted you are, the more mistakes you might make, and that will really slow you down. So, don’t distract yourself with multitasking or taking on two jobs at the same time, because it will only hamper your productivity.
9. Don’t Overestimate Yourself
Even if you are extremely capable, there must be a limitation to what you can achieve in a day. Don’t overestimate yourself by thinking you can do everything; be realistic and draw the line yourself. You might be able to come home after a long day of work and still cook a gourmet dinner for two dozen people, but it will drain you out. So, don’t plan something that will be difficult for you, just because you think you can do it.
10. Start Saying “No”
Don’t agree to every single responsibility or task that other people give you; learn to say “no” sometimes. Whether it is an overbearing colleague who wants you to take over their duties, or your own family members who expect you to do everything for them. Sometimes, you just have to shake your head and decline.
Don’t take on more than you can handle, because you won’t be able to do them all, and this will create a damper in your day. Even if you do end up doing everything, you will be drained of energy and good humor, because of having done something you never wanted to waste time on in the first place.
Stay focused and Being productive isn’t hard work when you know where to start. You might have a lot on your plate, but if you are focused, organized and smart, you can go through all of them with no sweat! These 10 ways can help you be your most organized and focused self, and you can accomplish anything you’ve put your mind to.