My Top 10 Productivity Tips
~ 1. Have a Daily "To Do" List
I actually keep this on a paper "Post It" pad right by my keyboard, so I can't ignore it. I found that using a spreadsheet or file on my PC for this was just too easy for me to ignore...
I always try to write up the next days "To Do" list at the end of the day, so it's ready for the next day, this also helps me "review" what I've got done in the day.
I've also found that if I can put one task that I've been "putting off" at the top of the list and get that done first, the rest of the tasks on the list tend to seem easier to get done and I get more of them done.
~ 2. Only Check Your Email at Certain Times
I've got to admit I'm far from perfect on this one, but I have found when I keep my email program closed and only check it 2 or 3 times during the day I DO get a lot more work done.
~ 3. Set your Instant Messenger Status to Busy, or even offline
And your mobile phone as well, especially if it's an iPhone and you've got a whole bunch of apps on there...
I just got distracted by a text message as I was writing this!
As an internet marketer I use skype a lot, I've got over 200 contacts on my list, so if I'm not careful I can easily spend 2 or 3 hours a day just chatting with people on skype, it's amazing how easily one conversation can end up being 30 mins or more without you even realizing it...
~ 4. Have Regular Breaks, especially in the fresh air
Having a break to get away from your desk/pc/laptop on a regular basis can also big a biggy to keep your focus and productivity levels up.
It's one that I often tend to forget, as it's easy to get in to whatever I'm doing, so I now tend to use a timer called "Cool Timer" (which is free - www.harmonyhollow.net) to remind me to take a break every 45 mins.
~ 5. Keep Hydrated (I was tempted to put "Drink A Lot" here, but people who know my soft spot for wine/beer/Guinness might take it the wrong way.
Drinking a lot of water is supposed to be the way to go, but personally I like to drink white tea. I recently got in to the habit of drinking LOTS of black coffee, but I've found that going back to white tea works better for me.
~ 6. Make your working environment as comfortable as you can
Get a big desk, a big screen preferably two, a good chair etc. and make sure there's enough light, and it's not too warm or cold. Obvious stuff really, but it does make a difference.
~ 7. Don't have too many programs, files or browser windows open at any one time, keep it to what you're working on.
This is another one that I often forget and I find myself swapping from one thing to another and losing focus. It can be frustrating if you're waiting for a web page to load up, or some files to finish uploading etc., but I find if I pop off to another program I'll end up spending time on that and forgetting what I was originally working on.
~ 8. Set up time deadlines
In some ways this is a repeat of #4 (have regular breaks), but I've found that if I set a specific time limit to get a bit of work done in, it helps me focus on just that one thing as I know I'm working "against the clock"...
The free timer I use is called "Cool Timer" and you can download it here - www.harmonyhollow.net
~ 9. Don't be over ambitious with your daily goals
It can actually be frustrating and demotivating if you are setting goals for more than you can actually get done. I often find myself doing this and it can be really frustrating, so I now try to make sure I break things down in to small enough "jobs" to be able to set more realistic goals.
~ 10. Don't play Warcraft, Angry Birds, Farmville, etc.
Warcraft is my online addiction and it's amazing just how much of a time sucking black whole it can be...
There's an addon for Warcraft that amongst other things shows you just how many "days" you've spent on Warcraft.
It turns out I've spent over 139 "days" playing, admittedly I've been playing for 4 or 5 years now, but those "days" are actually 24 hours periods, so in fact I've spent 3,336 hours playing!
If you break that down in to 8 hour "working days", that's the equivalent of 417 days, 83.4 working weeks (5 days a week, without holidays), or 1 year and 7 months, without any holidays!!!
Just imagine what else I could have done with that time if I'd spent it in my business instead...
So if you have a similar game you play, try and keep tabs on just how long you spend in there, it might surprise/shock you!
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