Woodward here. Once again, Martha has insisted I put my expert journalistic and detective skills to ‘good’ use with another self-help post. Like I said in my last post (5 Space Saving Tips For Your Dorm) I’m all about helping you folks out, but I’m a top notch reporter. I should be bringing you guys the latest ground breaking and earth shattering news.
Alas, it’s not to be (for now). Instead, I’ve been putting my investigation hat on to find out how you can make a lot more of your precious time. Time is precious these days, and it’s even more precious when you’re a busy intern who still wants a social life.
So how can you make the most of your time? Follow these 12 quick tips for getting more done and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to squeeze into your day.
1. Get Enough Sleep
It may sound simple, but waking up fresh and rested is key to improving your productivity. It’s recommended that you get 7 to 9 hours sleep a night, so step away from the laptop, put down the phone and make sure you get enough Zzz’s.
2. Have A Routine
Many of us are creatures of habit, and we work better when we have a fixed routine. Think about it, when you have no set routine you probably find it a lot harder to get even the simplest tasks done. You’re routine can be as simple as getting up and leaving the house at the same time everyday, sorting through your emails at a certain time or going to the gym right after work.
Try to do these things at the same time everyday. Before you know it, your routine will be so normal you will do it without even thinking.
3. Get Up Earlier
This may sound a little funny after I said you should get enough sleep, but once you have been able to squeeze in enough sleep (by going to bed on time), try getting the most out of your day by getting up earlier in the morning. You will be far more productive in the morning and more alert than in the evening (especially after working all day!). It will also be quieter than trying to get things done in the evening and there will be a lot less distractions.
4. Stop Checking Your Emails
Constantly checking your emails throughout the day can be the biggest drain on your productivity. If you are continuously replying to or sending out emails, you won’t be able to get any work done. Make sure you set certain times to check your inbox so you don’t get distracted with other tasks and responses.
5. Make A To-Do List
Create a daily list of all the jobs you need to tackle. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, write them down and start working your way through them. At the end of you day you will be able to look back and see how much you actually did (so you can stop beating yourself up).
6. Make A Don’t-Do List
Just like you make a list of the things you have to-do, make a list of things you shouldn’t do. There are so many distractions in today’s world, and they all stop you from doing what you need to do. Hours can pass and you could have done absolutely nothing. So make a list of things you should not do (Facebook, TV, Netflix, I could go on), and stick to it!!
7. Silence Your Phone and Ban Social Media
Your phone and social media could well be on your Don’t-Do list. Your phone can be one major distraction and it sucks your time. All it takes is one simple message ping, and before you know it you’ve lost half an hour texting. Social media can also be a huge time drainer. Just think of how many hours you spend on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest everyday.
Put your phone on silent and allow yourself certain times to go on social media. Before you know it, you’ll find your productivity levels are through the roof.
8. Always Carry A Pen and Paper
Some of the most successful people in the world (like Richard Branson) always carry a pen and paper with them. This allows them to make sure they write down any useful thought or idea they may have throughout their day. Of course you can always use your smartphone, but sometimes the more conventional ways are good too.
9. Do What You Don’t Like First
Let’s face it, we all have those things we hate doing, but have to do (laundry I’m talking about you!). It’s only natural to put off all those boring (and sometimes painful) tasks until the last minute. But why not do the things you are least looking forward to first? This way, you will have them done right away and you will still have the things you actually like doing to look forward to.
10. Track Your Time
Tracking your time is so important. You need to figure where your time goes and how long you spend doing different things like writing emails, reading blogs or on your phone. You could be amazed by how much time you actually spend on certain activities every day.
Once you have figured out where your time goes, you will be able to prioritize time so you can get what really matters done (and you can start cutting out what doesn’t).
11. Don’t Bounce Between Tasks
Do you start one task and move on to another one before your finished? Then end up back at your first task at the end of the day? This is one sure fire way to make sure you don’t get the most from your time.
You need to start assigning a certain amount of your day to each specific project, and focus on that project during its designated time. Once that time is up, move on to the next one.
12. Take a break
You might think this sounds funny, but taking a break will help you be more productive. Make sure you take some time out to strike the right balance between work/college and life.
If you want to take your productivity to the next level, you’ll be happy to know there are lots of apps for that. Take a look at them here.
Now go forth and be productive.