Do you struggle with productivity at work? If so, you’re not alone. Research shows the average worker is productive for less than three hours a day. And with constant distractions, looming deadlines, and surprise to-do items materializing on your plate, it’s getting even harder to manage time in the workplace. Here are five simple ways you can stop fighting the clock and get more done.
1. Keep important information in one place
Think about all the information related to your last big project. Can you see it all at a glance, or is it spread out over multiple apps, websites, files, and scraps of paper? Evernote helps you keep the important parts together. In a single note, you can add text, images, emails, web pages, and more. Your notes are then synced automatically across all your devices, so you can access them anywhere. This helps you see the things that matter side-by-side, without having to switch between countless sources of info.
2. Set a time limit for each task
Forbes magazine contributor and Due company founder John Rampton says one of his go-to tips for time management is setting a time limit for each task. By giving yourself a set amount of time to finish something, it’s much easier to cut down on procrastination or outside distractions. Because this time limit is self-imposed, the pressure to finish “on time” feels less like a hard deadline and more like a fun way to challenge yourself.
3. Prioritize your tasks
To-do lists help us manage our time…in theory. But what if you’ve tried them and tasks still keep falling through the cracks? It’s tempting to start with the easy stuff, but this can eat into the time needed for more involved projects. It can also leave you trying to tackle the hardest job at the end of a long workday. Instead, try doing more challenging items on your list first. Evernote makes it easy to create checklists in any note. Use this to schedule your more difficult tasks first, and make your workday feel easier and easier as it goes.
4. Plan ahead for your workday
Going into work without a clear idea of what you want to accomplish is a recipe for procrastination. The more time you spend jumping between activities to figure out where to dive in, the less time you have to get real work done. Try one of these planning strategies instead:
- At the end of each day, update your to-do list for the remainder of the week. This helps you prioritize your tasks and allows you to decompress after a long day of work.
- If you’re more of a morning person, get to work early and plan your to-do list first. Prioritize the most pressing tasks, and create a roadmap for the rest of your day.
No matter which option you choose, you can stay on task by setting a reminder in Evernote to update your list.
5. Get rid of distractions from your phone
Do you really need an alert every time someone you follow tweets a cat video? If so, no judgment, but it doesn’t have to derail your focus. While taking time to adjust your notification settings can help you avoid distraction, there’s a simpler way that takes literally one second. Silence your phone, and place it screen down while you work. After you’ve finished one of your tasks, go ahead and take a five-minute break to check your phone. But we mean it—five minutes.
Managing your time effectively can be a tricky balancing act, but these tips should help you walk the line. Focus on what matters, plan with priorities in mind, don’t let small stuff sap your attention—and get ready to enjoy some hard-earned free time.