Updated: Feb 28, 2020
Making the most of your time is more critical than ever. Unlimited tasks, ideas and distractions tug at your attention. It’s too easy to be busy without being productive. We have to be diligent and purposeful with how we spend our time.
Here are a few tips to working smarter, not harder.
Follow the 2-minute rule.
If a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately. Completing a 2 minute task immediately will take less time and energy than it would if you came back to it later.
Focus all of your effort and attention on your most critical task for better results and efficiency rather than trying to juggle multiple tasks at once.
Be smarter tomorrow.
Rather than being paralyzed by the need for perfection, make the best decisions and take action to the best of your ability today.
Use the 80/20 rule.
Roughly 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts (known as the Pareto principle). When working to create maximum efficiency, it’s extremely useful to put more of your focus on the tasks that have a direct impact on results.
Set self-imposed deadlines.
Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion (known as Parkinson’s law). When given extra time, tasks tend to increase in complexity and become more daunting. Break projects down into action items and set appropriate deadlines to challenge yourself to stay productive and build momentum.
Do the toughest task first.
We are all guilty of procrastinating. Usually what is most uncomfortable is what needs done the most. Don’t let it hang over your head. Knock it out first, and you’ll feel more accomplished and ready to take on anything!
Start by scheduling chunks of uninterrupted time. Turn off notifications and resist checking emails and social media until you have completed the most critical tasks for the day. According to a study by Microsoft researchers, it takes the brain 15 minutes to re-focus after switching our attention to something else.
Find what works for you, and be intentional with how you spend your time. Just don’t forget to take breaks, move your body, and celebrate your accomplishments.