Everyone wants to be more productive. While we all have just 24 hours in a day, there are a few people who seem to magically achieve far more during this time than the rest of us. What sets these successful people apart from the rest is that they know how to make the most of their time, by focusing on getting things done. Their productivity levels are high because they don’t let distractions come in the way of their goals. Not only do they manage their time well, but they also manage themselves. Luckily, boosting your productivity isn’t rocket science and can be done by anyone. Here are 4 daily productivity mistakes to avoid.
Productivity Mistakes To Avoid
Compulsively Checking Email
The number-one daily habit that derails productivity is compulsively checking email. Checking email too often causes you to enter a reactive mode, where you spend time answering things that really aren’t that important at the precise moment.
The first step to breaking this productivity mistake is to turn off email notifications. If you don’t know when an email arrives the need to check your email dissipates, and you won’t become distracted from the task at hand.
Instead, you should schedule periods of time each day to check and respond to emails. How many periods per day will depend on the day’s workflow, particularly if that day invokes more creative input.
Of course, some positions do need to frequently check emails, such as a receptionist or someone who is collecting sales leads. These positions should prioritize the importance of incoming emails. If you are the one sending an email, make it a habit to include a call to action in the subject line. Let your recipients know exactly what you expect in response without them even having to open your email. If an email’s content changes, you should either note it in the rewritten subject line or start an entirely new thread.
Compulsively Checking Social Media
Ranking just below email is the productivity mistake of checking social media too frequently. This is something of which we are all guilty. Before you know it 30 minutes or more, has passed and we’re behind schedule on whatever task we were supposed to be working on. A similar situation occurs whether we are just checking the latest headlines or whether we just posted something important to us or our business. We want to read all the comments and see every reaction. We naturally thrive for an immediate reaction from others and social media platforms fulfill those needs.
This daily productivity habit can be a tough one to break. Just like the emails, you need to start by shutting off all social notifications on any electronic device. Reward yourself every few hours with checking social updates, but allocate the least amount of time needed as possible. Then make that time less every day.
Consider installing an app that tracks your on-phone time. You will probably be surprised at just how much time you waste. Take your weekly social total and multiply it by 52. Think of how many hours a year you spend on social media. Most of our social feeds are loaded with things we don’t need. When you break these bad daily habits, you will find yourself with extra clarity throughout the day.
Closely related to email and social media is text messaging. Having your phone near is a tease for all of these distractions. Whenever you feel frustrated or lost, it’s easy to pick up your phone and get distracted. For productivities sake, turn all your notifications off.
Not Creating a Prioritized Tasks List
Don’t go through your day in reactive mode. Instead, create a day of intention. That begins with creating a prioritized task list. Have a list of daily items that you must complete, a maximum of six, but ideally fewer. Perhaps even as little as two or three when working through more creative tasks that take longer periods of concentration.
Make it a daily habit to prioritize tasks from the most important down to the least. Prioritizing this way allows your mind to be fresher for the bigger tasks which typically means that the ideas will be much clearer.
In addition to your task list, you also have to block out time for each of those tasks. Time allotted will be different for everyone depending on the tasks on your list, but try never to clock more than 2 hours for any one task without taking at least a 10-15-minute break.
Planning a Meeting Without an Agenda
It’s simple, meetings without agendas are useless. More than likely you have attended a meeting, or two, without an agenda. These meetings often become filled with unimportant information where everyone walks out feeling frustrated.
Make it a habit to plan meetings with a clear agenda, and always have one person leading the meeting. The person leading the meeting should be in charge of keeping the meeting on track and monitoring the time. You’ll notice that meetings with an agenda are much shorter and get more accomplished. Long meetings waste time. If you have a meeting planned for two hours, create a strict agenda and cut that meeting time in half. Make it known that you don’t want to waste time.
Creating a productive life doesn’t only affect your work, but it also affects your social and personal life. Learning daily habits to optimize time management helps you become the best version of yourself. Safeguard is here to help you with business efficiency ideas. Your Safeguard consultant can help with everything from checks and forms to online marketing and full-color printing. Count on us to make managing your business easier and more effective.