Regardless of whether you are a self-employed individual, a college student or an employee, productivity is critical. Productivity relates to the ability to accomplish more in less time without sacrificing in the area of quality. Time management and efficiency are crucial elements to focus on if you want to increase your productivity.
However, there are many factors that can interfere with personal productivity levels. For example, if you are distracted by checking your email too frequently or if you try to multitask with too many items, your productivity may suffer. Dealing with personal issues and even failing to create organized and effective to-do lists can also be detrimental to productivity.
If you have an issue with productivity, you can rely on some technological apps and programs to improve your life in this important area.
Identifying what your specific issues with productivity are can help you to determine which digital tools may be most applicable to your situation.
Divide Your Day Into Tasks
Rather than try to multitask and accomplish everything all at once, create a daily routine that segments your day into manageable and focused sections. In each segment, focus your attention fully on one task. It is often better to start with the hardest task first so that you feel a sense of great accomplishment by getting it done. You may also feel fresher and more energized at the start of the day, which may be ideal for tackling major tasks. However, others find that starting with the easiest task is a better way to ease into their day.
Some people will simply make to-do lists using sticky notes or type a list into a Word document. If you need a different solution, consider smartphone apps such as Clear and the Reminders app in Apple products that assist with creating and managing to-do lists. Find a method that works best for you and be sure to scratch off each item on your to-do list until everything has been addressed.
Organize The List
It is not enough to simply jot down items on a to-do list. To be truly efficient and productive, you need to prioritize the tasks in an organized way. If you need to tackle multiple items in broad categories, you can even create sub-lists. For example, under a Personal category, you may need to buy groceries, pay bills and clean the house. Under a Work category, you may need to respond to emails and complete a major project.
Omnifocus is a useful app that connects directly with your calendar. It prioritizes your tasks based on deadlines or dates. Any.do is another organizational app that many people use, and it has a clean layout for your to-do items that resembles your grocery shopping list. Some people prefer a list that organizes tasks into to-do, doing and done sections. If you prefer this Kanban style, Trello is a wonderful app to try.
Even when you take these steps to boost productivity throughout the day, you may be distracted by many things. For example, you may see an email notification pop up on your computer, and you may draw your attention away from the task at hand to fire off a quick response. Streak is an app that lets you put your emails on snooze so that you do not have constant interruptions. If you are constantly lured into checking social media accounts, Self Control is available on Mac products that lets you block specific websites for a period of time so that you can focus on important tasks.
Remember To Take A Break
You may think that taking breaks would disrupt your focus and decrease productivity, but the opposite is true. Breaks give you a time to stretch and move, refocus your thoughts and even enjoy the benefit of brief physical rest. Consider giving yourself a short break in between each task or at regular intervals throughout the day. Pomodoro is a digital timer that reminds you to take breaks at specific times.
A study conducted by DeskTime indicated that the majority of workers were most productive when they took a 17-minute break after working for 52 minutes. However, each person is different. You need to find a method that works best for you. You can use Pomodoro to play around with different work and break intervals in order to find the most optimal schedule for you.
A Final Word
Productivity is essential for maximum success in many areas of life. However, it is an issue that many people struggle with. Before you can take steps to properly improve in this area, you must first identify what your primary challenges are. There are many innovative technologies as well as beneficial strategies that can be used to tackle most productivity issues. Finding the solutions that are most applicable to your challenges can increase your productivity substantially.
About the author: Michelle is a freelance writer who especially enjoys writing on a cloudy day. She covers various topics and shares her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she enjoys visiting cozy coffee shops and taking long walks with her boyfriend. At home, she reads her Kindle or watches Cosmos series. Talk to her on Twitter.