Time is money, baby, so of course I love anything that makes me more efficient. Think of yourself as a lawyer would: your time is valuable, and you have billable hours. You only get 24, so make ‘em count! Here are four ways to boost your productivity and work smarter, not harder.
- Rethink multitasking. We’ve all been guilty of trying to do way too many things at one time, which normally leads to a less-than-stellar performance across the board. Rethink it. Instead of breaking your train of thought while working on a presentation to jump over to shoot off a couple emails, spend a chunk of time just on the presentation, no quick tab jumping or emailing allowed! Batching works, yo. If you are going to do two things at once, make one of them relatively brainless. Brainstorm while going for a run, folding laundry, etc. It’s better to get your five most important tasks for the day done well versus all fifteen items on your to-do list done poorly.
- Hire help. Obviously this applies as it fits within your spending plan. However, delegating tasks can definitely make you more productive. Paying $7 for grocery delivery can be totally worth it if you are able to get additional work done during the time that it would take to drive through traffic to the store, shop, etc. (Sometimes your budget can even benefit as you can plan out exactly what you need and nix the impulse spending.) Maybe you need someone to help you that one day a week when you’re always slammed with projects (and a deadline). Look at ways that you can hand off easier tasks to others so you can use your brainpower on the more important things.
- Office smarts. Minimize distractions at the office as much as you can (often easier said than done, I know). Make sure that meetings have clear agendas, and re-assess if you and your team really need to meet as often as you do. Don’t worry about replying to every little email, and set aside specific times to reply to those that warrant it. A handy pair of noise-canceling headphones can really help as well with your focus—whether you’re actually listening to anything or not—and with deterring that chatty co-worker from stopping by yet again.
- Get ‘appy. You’re probably just as glued to your phone as I am, so make it work harder for you! I like apps like Slack to message my team with dialogue in real time, Evernote to keep lists/notes/links in one place (and synced across devices), and of course, a synced calendar. Try additional apps like Expensify to help with work expense reports, or Hootsuite for easy social media access across multiple platforms.