Time is of the essence—especially when it comes to work. But there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done, does there?
Let’s face it: Many of us procrastinate or aren’t making proper use of our time, whether unintentionally or not. But the truth is, with a few simple strategies, you can work more efficiently and get more done during the work day. And even getting just five or 10 percent more work done each day can make a huge difference.
So what are you waiting for? Try these easy ways to better manage your time—and accomplish more during the work day:
Go on Facebook. Yes, really. It may sound a little counterproductive, but detaching from work once in a while helps your brain recharge, especially when you feel yourself mentally stepping away (plus, skipping breaks can actually cause mental fatigue and stress!). You can also take a walk, read a funny article or call a friend for a quick chat—anything that lets you refresh your mental concentration and begin thinking clearly again. Just be sure to keep these breaks limited to five to 10 minutes each.
Catch your zzzs. Being sleep deprived makes you slower at getting tasks done, according to a 2012 Journal of Vision study. In addition, accuracy and speed become compromised the longer you’re awake, say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night; anything less than that and you risk job burnout and stressing about work during your leisure time—and no one wants that!
Compose a to-do list. One of the simplest ways to be more time effective, to-do lists have near magical ‘get-tasks-done’ powers. Keeping a running list of your workload will help you put into perspective your priorities and their timing, which in turn will help you prioritize and get more done. The best time to write a to-do list? At the end of each day. That’s when the work you need to get done for the next day is fresh in your mind. Knowing exactly what you need to accomplish will help you get right into it the next day.
Stash the phone. Lock it in a drawer or leave it in your car—or better yet, at home. Having your cell out of your sight during the work day is one of the best ways to minimize distractions. When your phone is hidden away, you’ll reduce interruptions and be better equipped to accomplish what you need to get done. Just be sure to give your work phone number to family members and close friends in case there’s an emergency.
Jot down the details of your day. Sometimes it can feel like you’re working hard, but still not getting all your duties done. If you’re unsure about how exactly you’re spending your time, it doesn’t hurt to keep a journal on how you’re spending your work day. This will help put into perspective exactly where each minute of your day is going, thus allowing you to rework your schedule and priorities.