Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity – Part Two

Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity – Part Two

Smart Hacks Maximizing Productivity - Part 2

Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity
Part 2 – Task Management

Last week we touched on some great ways for maximizing productivity in order to keep you focused on your tasks and to increase your productivity. If you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out here! This week, we will continue with our series, discussing about some top task management tips. Let’s get into it!

1. Choose which way you want to start your day.

By this, I mean choose either the hardest task to start your day tough or the smallest task to start your day easy and build up your momentum. If you start your day tough, everything else feels easier to tackle. Doing the easiest thing on your list first gives you a feeling of success to start your day. Which method appeals to your way of working?

2. Two Minute Rule.

In regards to task management, this is an easy one! When sorting your tasks, ask yourself if you can do the task in 2 minutes or less. If the answer is yes get them done right away. This can substantially reduce your to do list and helps prioritize the tasks that will take more time and energy.

3. Create a task matrix from extremely urgent to non-urgent.

Take your to do list and separate out your tasks into 4 categories.

  • Important & urgent – for example a presentation or project due within the next few days
  • Important & not urgent – for example a presentation or work not due for a week
  • Not important & urgent – for example updating social media channels, returning phone-calls
  • Not important & not urgent – for example research for future projects or curation of items for social media

*Important tasks are ones that contribute to your immediate livelihood & long-term goals, while urgent tasks are ones that require immediate action or have incoming deadlines.

This matrix will allow you to concentrate on tasks in categories #1 and #2 and will ensure that you remain on track to get the most important items completed and off your desk.

4. Try batch tasking.

In other words take your task list and further divide it into smaller categories. For example, message return – put into this category all the return phone calls, emails, social media responses, voice mails and then prioritizes in order of urgency.

Batch your desk by taking all the paperwork on it and creating piles in order of urgency and then categorize in batches. The batches could be filing, presentations, research, social media, projects, and letters to be written and so on.

5. Every new task that comes in must be added to the to do matrix.

Otherwise, all the little tasks pile up and then you are left with a mess because you didn’t schedule the tasks immediately. Those small tasks that seem unimportant now tend to add up and become overwhelming because you forgot about them. You can avoid this by simply adding them to the matrix and you won’t run the risk of forgetting them.

6. Password Managers

All those passwords you have to remember can be safely and securely kept in a computerized password manager. Many of these are free (Lastpass) and are incredibly helpful in this day and age when everything needs a password.  This way you won’t spend inordinate amounts of time remembering or searching for your passwords.

What did you think of this weeks task management tips? Let me know in the comments!

Have any questions? Feel free to contact me here!

Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity – Part One

Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity – Part One

Smart Hacks Maximizing Productivity - Part 1

Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity
Part 1 – Setting the Day Right

It’s the end of the day and you’re feeling a little like you are caught in an endless loop?  Where did the day go? What did I actually get done? You sit there wondering what are the best ways to maximizing productivity.

Then comes the endless, “I should have done more”, “I feel like I have wasted the whole day”, “what am I doing”, going round in endless circles.

Does this sound familiar?

It doesn’t have to be you can leave your work feeling like you have accomplished what you set out to do but you just need some tips to help you along the way.

These are a few simple hacks to get your productive day started:

1. Wake Up Early.

Set the alarm clock for one hour earlier every morning and make sure in that hour you get “stuff” done around your home.

  • Make the bed
  • Get your exercise done
  • Have a great breakfast
  • Write down the three most important tasks you must accomplish today – be specific

2. Once you get to your office (or home office), take time to set some priorities.

Schedule the answering of your emails at specific times. Don’t react to incoming emails, wait until the scheduled time to answer and deal with any queries. You can waste a lot of time organizing and responding to emails so choose to do this 3-4 times a day.

3. Say NO!

This can be incredibly difficult for some people but you can’t let distractions get in your way. You have a specific job to get done and you need to stick to your priorities so if others distract you and want you to work on something else you need to learn to say no. A simple “sorry I am busy right now but I can help later if I get this done” should suffice.  The only caveat is of course not saying no to your boss.

If your boss does ask, you to take on a new task show them your task list and ask them which one they want you to prioritize.

4. Avoid your personal Social Media channels.

If need be put a site blocker on all your SM channels so you can avoid checking your twitter or Facebook feeds every 10 minutes or when the notification tone goes off. SM is a huge time sucker and you can easily lose hours a day checking and responding to your accounts.  If SM is NOT your job or your business make sure you play with it on your own time.

5. Keep your notebook and pen handy.

Don’t rely on your memory to get things done – write it down. You can download an app on your phone if that is your preference but the key here is to write it down immediately.

6. Try to work near a window.

Natural light and fresh air have been shown to both improve your day by providing you with Vitamin D and exposure to sunlight also helps you sleep at night. Fresh air always wakes up the mind and so sitting near a window that you can open will benefit you both at work and in your day-to-day life.

What do you think of these tips for maximizing productivity?

Next week we’ll be discussing Part 2 of my Productivity Hacks; Task Management! Be on the look out for this awesome post full of task management tips.

Want some more productivity tips you can read right now? Then check out this blog post from Lifehack with some more productivity hacks just for you!

Your turn, do you have any kick ass tips for maximizing productivity?  Share them in the comments below so I can add them to my repertoire.

Have any questions or private comments? Send me a message here!

Toggl and How it Saved My Sanity

Toggl and How it Saved My Sanity

Toggl and how it saved my sanity

Time Management – A Beast and Dastardly Villain

If you’re reading this, then you too, have suffered the Time Management Beast. Time Management used to be a beast I struggled with. When I used to work in my day job as an Administrative Fieldwork Assistant, I was inundated with tasks from multiple people. They came from every direction! Many of the tasks were within my scope and many were not. Organizing them and prioritizing them became such a struggle that there were times that I would melt down. After a few years in the job, I  came up with many different task and time management systems. Whatever system I came up with, they were often short lived. I couldn’t find a cohesive way to manage it all. When I started working from home, I learned of a tool that I wish I had known about in all my years in the field: TOGGL!

Beating the Time Management Beast with Toggl

So, what is Toggl? Toggl is a time management system! It’s essentially a timer, but it offers so much more. In Toggl, you have tools where you can create tiers: Clients – Projects – Tasks. So if I have multiple clients that have several projects, I can assign tasks per project instead of lumping them all together. I utilize Toggl for both paid and unpaid tasks. It helps me keep track of where I am spending my time, this making me more effective at getting my tasks done. This is truly a tool I wish I had when I was working my day job. Toggl is also great for those who work hourly and need to keep track of their time for invoicing.

Toggl Dashboard and Reports

The thing I love most is that you can color coordinate your projects. By doing so, you will then see how much time is going to each project visually in a pie chart. You can export PDF reports and submit them if you’re being timed hourly! Again, I’m most productive when I can see where I’m spending my time. It also reduces the amount of time that I’m spending on non-work tasks (like scrolling Facebook!). It truly makes me an effective worker. Another great thing about Toggl is that you can add it as an extension to Google, Firefox and Safari! That’s right, you can time yourself right from the browser! It’s as simple as clicking the Toggl icon from your browser and clicking start. You can also adjust the title of your task, assign it to a project or create new projects without ever having to leave your current web page.

Toggl Extension

Time Management Beast Slayed!

Thanks to Toggl, I have a better grasp on my time management. I feel that I get more tasks completed now that I am aware of how much time I spend on them. I am realistic about when certain things can get done because I’ve personally tested it out. It’s helpful because I don’t have to go guessing in the dark about how long it’ll take me to do certain things. Time tracking also helps me see where my weaknesses are. If certain tasks take a lot longer than others, I can now learn how to fix them. I’ll forever be grateful for this tool!

Have you slayed your own Time Management Beast?

Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-mail list to get updates when I have new tips and blog posts out.

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Have any questions? Contact me here!

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