If you are like any other working adult in the United States, chances are you wish you could build more time in your day. There are always so many things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time to do them. When you are trying to add something new to your day, like social media or reputation management, it’s legitimate to wonder how you’ll squeeze it in. While we can’t give you a time machine or Time Turner, we’d like to offer a few tips to increase productivity.
Document how you spend your time in a single day
If you’ve ever decided to start living on a budget, chances are that you were advised to track how you spent your money in order to figure out where all your hard earned income was going. If you haven’t, it’s a worthwhile exercise as it can be eye opening to see the ways you spend money without really thinking about it and the same can be true for time. In order to build a more productive life overall, you first need to think about where your time is going. The easiest way to do this is to document how you spend your time over a week. Although this might seem like a tedious and overwhelming task at first, it is a necessary step.
There are apps available to assist you with tracking your time although most of them are intended for long term use. Depending on your goals, a long term app might work out for you. Take this opportunity to evaluate what processes end up working the most efficiently for you. You may discover that some things help you reach your goals much more quickly than others. Taking a hard look at how you are spending your time sets a good foundation for making necessary changes.
Once you can see where your time is going each day, you can figure out where you are spending more time than you would like or need on certain areas. Figure out which areas you can cut back on or eliminate completely. Chances are you spend some time watching TV, playing games on your phone, sitting in long drive-through lines, or on something else that can be repurposed to a better use. What you discover may surprise you. There may not be obvious waste that you can eliminate. In these cases, you will need to decide between worthwhile things in order to accomplish your goals.
Determine Your Priorities
There is always going to be more that needs to be done then there is actual time to do it. So deciding on your most important priorities is a crucial step. In some cases, your priorities may be straightforward, but in other cases it may be more challenging to figure out what they need to be. Once you’ve determined your main priority break it down into the necessary steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish that. This will help clarify the actual tasks you need to get done. Start on a large scale. Determine your priorities for a month or a week. Then break down the steps you need to take in order to get there by day.
At the end of every day, evaluate how you did in reaching your goals. Make adjustments as needed for the next day and work at it again. Unexpected situations and problems will always arise, so it’s important that you do not get discouraged, but instead remember to keep prioritizing as necessary.
Outsource as Necessary
It’s possible you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Evaluate what tasks or processes to outsource or delegate to other people. Look at what can be automated. Take the necessary steps to make processes more efficient. Continue to evaluate on a periodic basis. New products that can make things easier and faster are always coming on the market, but they may not all be necessary or deliver as promised. Always be willing to let things go or change how you do them if you discover that there’s a better way to do them.
Plan Your Schedule
Discover the times of day you work better and are more efficient and plan to tackle your most difficult or pressing tasks during this peak performance time. This will enable you to complete them in a much shorter time frame than if you attempt to work on them when tired or distracted. On the flip side, if there’s a time of day you feel drained or tired, use that time to do lighter less demanding tasks that still need to be done. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do this everyday, but the more often you can operate this way the more productive you will be overall.
Take Breaks as Necessary
Take breaks each day. Go on short walks. Get another cup of coffee or a refreshing glass of water. This will help your overall work. Plan short breaks on your favorite distractions after you complete the work you need to get done. Make sure you time these breaks so that you don’t get caught up in hours of time on Facebook or your other favorite social media site.
Plan time to unplug completely each week. Recharge and refresh. Step away completely from the things you need to get done and allow your mind and body to relax and rejuvenate. This will empower you for the work ahead.
A Few Extra Tips to Increase Productivity
Keep your workspace organized. Clutter is a distraction and can add to any feelings of stress you might have. You will work better when your area is clean and clear. Turn off notifications on your devices unless you absolutely need to be notified of something immediately. Try focusing on one thing at a time instead of doing heavy multi-tasking. Find out what works best for you in your efforts to increase productivity.
Think Creative can help!
We offer managed services for social media and reputation management as well as software that can help you manage them on your own. We have many other products that can make your life easier. We’d love to talk to you about them!