The phrase “time is money” is more true now than ever before. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon (a combination rocket scientist and brain surgeon) to realize that our productivity is directly linked to our revenue and profits.
With that in mind, here are 20 ways to make your weeks much more productive.
1. Focus on a single task.
It’s been proven over and over that if you have two things to get done, completing them one at a time will not only allow you to finish sooner, it’ll also increase the precision of your work.
2. Learn to say “no.”
In his new book, The Power of No, James Altucher, bestselling author of Choose Yourself, dives head first into this practice. He states, “a well-placed ‘No’ can not only save you time and trouble, it can save your life.”
3. Plan to be productive.
A productive week starts on Monday morning, as long as you’ve got a good plan in place. Things will always come up unexpectedly, but having a schedule can help. If you know you tend to dawdle during free time, schedule it down to the minute.
4. Start the week before.
As you’re writing out your calendar, aim to have your work completed on Thursday. Friday can then be used to concentrate on any tasks that have come up unexpectedly, allowing you to finish the week strong.
5. Get it out of the way.
Tackle what you don’t want to do first so that you don’t waste any mental energy resenting it. You’ll be so relieved that the rest of the day will seem simple.
6. Become vulnerable.
Everything is better when you put another set of eyes on it. If you don’t have an accountability partner, yesterday was the best time to get one. The next best time is right now. Share your calendar and to-do list while being open to constructive criticism.
7. Play the comparison game.
Compare your weekly calendar or productivity plan to others’ and learn from their best practices. Many of my best habits have been acquired from other people’s methods through simple observation.
8. Complete is better than perfect.
Striving for excellence is a noble goal, but obsessive perfectionism is the ultimate enemy of productivity (second only to laziness). Wouldn’t you rather accomplish 100 things this week, all done well, than 15 things that are perfect?
9. Start early.
The sooner you get started, the more you can get done. Learn to be an early riser and take care of personal issues and breakfast before you begin. Fewer distractions coupled with more time during the day equals more completed tasks.
10. Schedule down time.
Work hard and play hard, but don’t mix the two. Be fully engaged wherever you are. When you’re working, go all out, then schedule some time each day and on the weekends to stay far, far away from work. You deserve a break and your brain does too.
Related: Can’t Be Interrupted? Polite Ways to Say ‘Do Not Disturb’
11. Take “Do Not Disturb” time.
We distract ourselves enough as it is. Let others know you’re serious about getting things done – block it out on your calendar or even put a sign on your door. Ninety nine percent of things can wait until you’re done with your focused work.
12. Work in intervals.
No one can go full throttle all day. A good rule is to work 25 minutes, then give yourself a break for five minutes. In the long run, you’ll accomplish more.
13. Be ruthless.
Are you being as efficient as possible? As you face any given task, as yourself, “Could this be done faster?” Constantly improve in your approach and technique for higher productivity.
14. Only do what only you can do.
If there’s someone who can do what you’re doing better or cheaper, have them do it. Your time is better spent doing things only you can do. Andy Stanley elaborates on this in Next Generation Leader.
15. Review your performance.
Take time at the end of each week to critique your results. Find ways to make improvements each week.
16. Receive instead of give.
During important work blocks, make others contact and approach you. Screen calls and emails so that you only respond to the most important ones.
17. Perform triage.
Start to think like an emergency room doctor. What’s the absolute best use of your time right now? Figure it out and focus in on it. All the other clutter on your desk can wait.
18. Automate repetitive tasks.
Set up automatic payments for bills, auto-ship routine purchases and cut yourself out as the middleman on receiving invoices. The less you have to do, the better.
19. Create a list of “Once a Days.”
Many things only need to be done once per day, twice at most. Checking voicemail and Facebook are some examples. Create a list of your personal “once a days” and make sure these tasks aren’t creeping into your workload unnecessarily.
20. Don’t beat yourself up.
It takes time and practice to master anything, and productivity is no different. Constant improvement is the realistic goal – not perfection in one week.
What practice will you implement this week to achieve more productivity? Share your commitment by leaving a comment below.