Productivity tips for the rest of us…
Productivity is something that most of us struggle with at one point or another, especially after spending excessive time and energy on a particularly difficult task. Without wasting much time, let’s talk about some good time management techniques to help you get more done throughout the week. Note that some of these are subjective; modify them accordingly.
1. Label Important Emails and Recipients
I used to receive the occasional instruction from a writing client, only to let it get lost in my inbox over time. This often led to unnecessary browsing weeks or months later if I ever needed to refresh my memory. In reality, your email service’s ‘Search’ feature won’t always be convenient, especially if you receive many similar emails. Now I have everything labeled in specific folders, and my headaches have reduced by 99% as a result.
2. Unsubscribe from Not-So-Important Emails
Speaking of emails, do you keep saving some messages for later or feel that they’re not as important as you once thought? Sometimes we don’t like to part ways with things, especially when we get into the habit of interacting with them regularly. Which emails can you unsubscribe from? Think long and hard about this one, then go for it.
3. Create Desktop or Task Bar Shortcuts
I tend to access certain folders every single day, particularly those sub-directories within ‘My Documents.’ After spending years clicking and browsing endlessly through a long “tree” of folders, I finally saved them to my desktop and now my work experience feels much more pleasant. As small as this may seem, it is one of my all-time favorite time management techniques due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
Pro Tip: Right-clicking on certain Task Bar applets will give you a list of recently-opened items. MS Word, for example, will instantly show you the most recent documents while File Explorer shows you the most frequently-visited folders.
Pro Tip: You may also right-click a folder, then select “Pin to Quick Access” to permanently add them to the Task Bar’s items list described above.
4. Set Notifications – Even for Obvious Tasks
In this case, notifications are not necessarily meant to remind you of a task, but rather to help put you in a better work mentality. When you receive a blatant email telling you to start an article, it may hold you accountable and help you snap out of whatever unproductive activity you’re currently busy with. Even something as simple as Google Calendar works great for this.
5. Use a Productivity Tool or Technique
There is an endless amount of productivity apps and time management techniques out there, each with its own specific features and rules. For example:
The Pomodoro Technique lets you work for 25 minutes at a time (typically), followed by enjoying a short break in between (along with some slight modifications, according to your needs).
Todoist is an advanced to-do list app that sends you email notifications and lets you configure it in some really creative ways – for example, you may choose to get task reminders “every 3 weeks starting a month from now.”
The list goes on. Have you tried any of these to see which one might just save the day?
6. Reassess Your Time
Let’s face it: Chances are you are dedicating way too much time to something, whether it’s two extra hours of TV or gaming or sleep. While you should certainly have some fun, the key here is to keep track of time and be more responsible with it. I used to wake up one hour later simply out of habit, rather than necessity. Now I get up roughly 45 minutes earlier, which allows me to do some minor tasks such as tending to emails and other work-related activities.
7. Embrace Motivational Resources
I have lost weight following consistent motivational discussions and videos. I have also upped my writing frequency after reading about the subjects I enjoy. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t surrounded myself with any of these.
Are you working less than you were a few weeks or months ago? Chances are your motivation has gone downhill. In this case, go to sources like YouTube and get lost in videos specifically made for your talents and desires. Join niche communities and read a few posts (Reddit is great for this). Keep restarting your engines with this technique every couple of weeks as your motivation subsides.
Pro Tip: It’s always best to try and make a habit out of work, as it generally sticks with you over time. Keep working consistently for roughly 30 days to increase the chances of turning a particular task into a long-term habit.
8. Just Get Started
Regardless how many time management techniques you read about, none of them will matter unless you stop learning about them all. Pick one or two promising ones, stick to them, and get started.
Don’t wait for the right moment. Don’t keep postponing your work until tomorrow in the hopes that you’ll feel better. What makes you think you will feel any differently?
Again, these tips are somewhat subjective, so pick and choose the ones that personally work for you and go from there. What other productivity tips and time management techniques can you offer the community? Please let us know below!