It used to be common to hear people say, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Now, there’s no point in wishing for an extra 60 minutes here or there; we know that our work would just expand, like a gas, to fit the shape of the container. The real secret to productivity isn’t more time. It’s using the time we have more efficiently.
(Photo Credit: aussiegall/Flickr)
1. Work when you work best.
You probably already know if you’re a morning person or a night person. But do you know what time is best for each type of work you face in a given day?
“Do your hardest work when you’re most alert,” advises Satinder Haer at Popforms. “This means: do your analytic work during the morning if you’re an early riser, and in the evening if you’re a night owl. Pretty intuitive, but may of us fight our natural rhythms in order to be on a schedule we think is ‘right.’ However, if you do your hardest strategic work when your mind is most alert, you’ll do it faster and more effectively. This means you’ll have more time in your day (since you won’t be dragging through the big stuff) and you’ll do your best work on the stuff that really matters.”
Creative work, Haer says, is best done when we’re tired, and less bound by rules and perceived limitations.
2. Make appointments to check your email.
Email is a time suck. It forces you to be reactive instead of proactive, structuring your day according to the needs of others, and it can become a method of procrastination, because you’re less likely to feel guilty if you’re doing something work-related than if you’re noodling on the internet or playing Angry Birds. Circumvent both problems by only checking email a few times a day, and at set times.
3. A day without meetings.
If you’re the boss, or have any influence on the decision-makers, propose one day a week without meetings. Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder and CEO of Asana and co-founder of Facebook, blocks off every Wednesday as a no-meeting zone. The result? At least one day a week without the special hell that is attending a meeting when project deadlines are looming.
Tell Us What You Think
What are your favorite productivity hacks? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.