Nothing is a bigger strain on your ability to get more done than charging into a busy work day without a strategy. Sorting through an endless list of to-dos and replying to emails can take up a ton of your time, and at the end of the day you feel exhausted, but you’re not really sure what you actually accomplished.
These five steps and apps will help you make order of the hustle and get more done than ever before:
1) Set daily goals:
The best way to know if a work day was productive is to be able to measure your day's accomplishments against pre-determined expectations. Frequently (and on Mondays especially) we’ll come into the office and get lost in a barrage of emails, meetings and updates, and at the end of the day, though we were very busy, we didn’t actually accomplish much. Setting attainable daily goals for yourself helps you stay on top of your priorities and give you an awesome feeling of accomplishment when you check back and see how much you’ve done.
Evernote is an excellent app for keeping track of your to-do lists, plus it allows you to sync your daily tasks with your Google Calendar app (see tip 2).
2) Schedule your to-dos:
Make an appointment to tackle your tasks and projects instead of a long check list. This helps to ease the anxiety of having multiple large tasks to get done in one day. You won't feel overwhelmed because you know exactly when you will be working on each task. You can even front load your projects, to ensure the more stressful or time-sensitive tasks get finished first.
Try downloading the Google Calendar app onto your iPhone or Android, and at the beginning of each week, scheduling blocks of time for your work. This way your phone will send you reminders to keep you on track.
3) Set a timer:
This helps shut down your distractions and allows you to dedicate focused time to get a task done. It’s also kind of fun to work against mini deadlines throughout your day! Using a consistent work interval is also helpful in determining how long a project will take (or has taken) to complete
If you’re looking for a good place to start, try these free Pomodoro Timer apps on your iPhone or Android
4) Schedule a second to step away:
It can be easy to get glued to your screen, sitting perfectly still, under the false assumption that breaking your concentration for just a few minutes will cost you precious productivity. Research has actually shown that regular physical activity throughout the day increases productivity, energy levels, mental alertness and creativity.
The Apple Watch has an application that detects when you’ve been sedentary for too long and gently nudges you as a reminder to get up and move around for a bit. Stand Up! is a similar app for your iPhone, give it a shot and get moving!
5) Stop losing your stuff:
Nothing gets in the way of a productive day like losing 20 minutes while you try to find your misplaced phone, keys, wallet or laptop. Searching for your stuff is just as stressful as it is inconvenient, making it even harder for you to fall into your productivity flow once you’ve found it. And what’s more, here at Tile, we’ve learned that people most frequently lose their stuff between 4 and 6 PM -- delaying them from getting home after a long work day!
Using the Tile app is a great way to get this time back at the end of the day, helping you stay focused and on track.