How many tasks do you have to do today? How long will it take you to complete them all? Completing your to-do list might seem like an impossible task, but if you try these five tips, your productivity level will skyrocket.
Here are some things to try if you’re trying to get more done in less time.
1. Set Timers for Different Tasks
Don’t underestimate the power of a timer. Setting timers for tasks throughout the day can help you to divide your time into more manageable chunks, while also applying a little gentle pressure to keep you moving towards your goal.
Splitting your to-do list with the help of timers will also help you break down your workload, which should reduce how stressed you feel.
While you’re free to just use the timer on your phone, it can be helpful to explore more detailed time-tracking apps, which can ultimately help you to analyze how you break down your time throughout the day.
2. Do One Thing at a Time
If you have a towering to-do list, then it can be tempting to try and tick off as much as you can in one go, but this will often lead to sloppy work and unwanted stress—instead, practice solo-tasking.
Solo-tasking is essentially just the opposite of multitasking, and it means that you focus all of your attention on one task at a time. This approach can be difficult to stick to at first, but it’s definitely worth the effort as it will help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.
3. Color Code by Priority
Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of color-coding? If you often find yourself leaving high-priority tasks to the last minute, then simply color-coding them can help to bring them to the forefront of your mind by highlighting their importance amongst your other tasks.
Project management tools such as Asana make it easy to color coordinate your tasks, and you can even assign priority tags to your tasks in your phone Reminder’s app too.
Start by picking three colors. Assign one to low-priority tasks, one to mid-priority tasks, and one to your high-priority tasks to help you see at a glance what needs to be ticked off first and which tasks could move over to the next day’s to-do list.
4. Batch Tasks Together
If you like to work “in the zone”, then you’re going to love time batching. As a general rule, when time batching, you’ll group your tasks together as either shallow work tasks or deep work tasks.
Tasks in the shallow-work group require minimal attention and focus and would include things such as administrative tasks. Meanwhile, tasks grouped under deep work require maximum focus and mental energy and will be the tasks you want to get in the zone with.
By batching your tasks together at the start of your day, you can make use of that sweet flow-state that comes when you start deep work, leaving shallow work tasks to the end of the day or your lunch break when you tend to struggle more with your attention.
5. Use the Five-Minute Rule
Finally, if you’re procrastinating rather than getting your work done, then the five-minute rule may be the one for you to start with.
The five-minute rule is a cognitive-behavioral technique that tricks the brain into starting something it’s trying to avoid. Commit just five minutes to your task, knowing that when the five minutes are up, you’re free to stop if you want to. The chances are, once you start, you’ll have overcome the most challenging hurdle, and you’ll be able to complete the rest of your task more easily.
For the five-minute rule to work, you must give those first five minutes your undivided attention.
Using These Productivity Tricks Together
You don’t have to use all of these productivity tricks at the same time; in fact, it’s often better to start with one or two and then gradually add more in as you get used to each one.
Eventually, you’ll be color-coding and time-batching your to-do list while setting your timer for the five-minute rule and zoning in for deep work on one task at a time.
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