The key to getting more work done is not to work longer hours. It is to work efficiently with the time you are given. If you feel like you don’t get enough done during your work day then this post is for you.
To get more work done you MUST:
1. Look at emails only at designated times
This is one of the best things you can do because we waste so much time checking emails and facebook messages. If you are like me you will have three or four email addresses and you need to check them constantly. This is crazy! Instead we should only check emails for the last ten minutes of every hour. This allows us to stay focused on work without breaking our rhythm.
2. Know exactly what you are going to do each hour
It is a good idea to spend the first ten minutes of each day organizing exactly what you are going to do with that day and writing a list. Then every hour you should add to that list with specific things you need to do in that hour. This is a fantastic way to stay on topic and focused for longer periods of time. It is also very rewarding when you knock the whole list on the head.
3. Eat a good breakfast
If you don’t eat breakfast chances are you will be feeling tired and groggy by lunch time. This means that the final hours of the day are slow and unproductive. If you eat a good fruit-based breakfast, however, you will be able to concentrate for longer and you will be much more effective.
Have a look at what Gandhi had to say about eating fruit after he spent six months eating nothing but fruits:
“I may not be able to lift heavy loads, but I can do hard labor for a much longer time without fatigue. I can also do more mental work, and with better persistence and resoluteness.” – Gandhi
4. Use an online calendar
Online calendars like the one Google offer here are a great way to plan your day, week, month and year. If you write down what you need to do and give a date by when you need to finish it you will be more likely to accomplish it than if you never wrote it down. Visual aids like this are very important.
5. Learn the lost art of concentration
It seems that in the old days people were able to concentrate more. Now we are in the age of TV, Blackberry, Youtube and Facebook and we cannot bare to work for ten minutes without being entertained. However, we have an amazing mind somewhere in there and it’s power can be harnessed for productive things.
Concentration is about mental strength. You need to learn an internal discipline so that you can stay focussed and on topic without wandering off into la la land. Ten minutes of concentrated work is better than an hour of interrupted work.
“Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn’t look up. Well, maybe once.”
– Isaac Asimov quotes (Russian born American science-fiction Writer and Biochemist. 1920-1992)
To get more work done you MUST NOT:
1. Reward everything you do
I know a lot of people who give themselves a reward for everything they finish. They spend more time making “reward coffees” than they do working for the reward! Make sure your rewards are meaningful. If they are not you will soon lose the ability to make a reward seem like a good reason to do some work.
2. Initiate conversation with workmates
Obviously you cannot ignore people if they come up to talk to you but please do not be the guy at the office who stops his work for a break and goes and annoys other people. Concentrate on what you are doing while you are doing it. When you are working; work. When you are having a break; break. Try not to mix things.
3. Eat too much sugar
Sugar in food causes a sugar rush and after the high there is a very depressing low. This low will cause even the most disciplined worker to stop his/her work and wander around the office or the internet looking for things to do. Try to stick to foods like nuts, fruit and anything with a low-gi index if you want to stay on track.