We all know someone who is so good at time management that no matter how many tasks they have in a day, they still manage to get everything done. And they also have time to take small breaks.
And no, they are neither robots nor machines, they aren’t even aliens from galaxies light-years away that are far more advanced than people on Earth. They’re simply humans. And yet, we look at them as if they were wizards who perform productivity spells every day and somehow manage to turn the time into their favour.
If you’re one of these “productivity wizards”, thumbs up and keep up the amazing work that you do. But if you’re not there yet, we have some good tips for you, so that you have the most productive year in 2021. Keep reading this article.
1. Get a Good Desktop App Organizer: OneDock
Probably one of the most famous excuses students have is “I can’t study, I have to clean my room first”. But this excuse is still applicable today, when you just can’t start your workday without decluttering your desktop first, arranging all apps, opening your three email apps and four communication tools. Forget about all of them.
Start using OneDock, the app that helps you keep everything in one place, easy to reach and simple to use. OneDock has integrations with numerous apps you use on a daily basis.
- Communication apps: Microsoft Teams, Classroom, Slack, Discord, WhatsApp, Telegram, Basecamp, Messenger, Skype and many more.
- Email and management apps: Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp and others.
- Cloud storage apps: Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox.
- Project management apps: Asana, Trello, Evernote, Google apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms), Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, OneNote, Sway) and many others.
And these are only some examples, as there are many more apps that OneDock has to offer. Now imagine having all of them in one window, one place. One app to rule them all. That’s the first “new year resolution” to start with in 2021.
2. Establish “Comfortable” Deadlines and “Self-imposed” Deadlines
Let’s say a Product Owner gives you a task and they ask you for an estimation. You say you’ll need 3 hours to finish that task. But what if you set a self-imposed deadline and try to finish that task in less time? Such as 2 hours or even half the time.
You don’t need to communicate the “real estimation” to the Product Owner, just something you feel comfortable with. But in the meantime, you finish your task earlier than said, which automatically gives you the productivity boost you need that day.
3. Consider Applying the “2-Minute Rule”
“It’s a small task, it won’t take long so I’ll do it later.” – How many times did you find yourself in this situation?
At first, you tend to postpone the small tasks that occur simply because they won’t take much time to do them. According to David Allen’s “two-minute rule”, you should do the exact opposite.
This rule implies the following: if you have a task and it takes two minutes or less to get it done, do it now. Don’t even consider adding it to your to-do list for that day or postponing it. Just knock it out right away. In one of his books, David Allen says that it takes much more time for a small task to be added to your “system” than to actually complete the task.
By dealing with small tasks right away, you achieve a sense of accomplishment and you instantly feel more motivated and productive.
4. And Consider Applying the „Eat the Frog” Rule As Well
You’ll say that with so many productivity rules to follow, is there any time left for your daily tasks? And the answer is “yes, there is”. Once you start applying these concepts and see their efficiency, you won’t even notice when they’ve become part of your routine.
There’s a famous quote of Mark Twain that inspired others to come up with the “Eat the Frog” and that quote says the following:
If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. (-- Mark Twain)
Translated into the “productivity language”, this means that you should start your workday with the biggest tasks, the ones that are most urgent and that take most of the time to get done. This technique encourages you to start working on the least desirable task. However, once you mark it as done, you will feel an immense sense of accomplishment and will give you a huge productivity boost.
5. Do you really need to attend that meeting?
Studies show that people lose up to 30 hours a month in meetings. This means that they lose 30 hours of productive work and getting tasks done.
Before you accept that meeting invitation, ask yourself: is it absolutely necessary to attend it? Do you have all the information you need without diving into a two-hour discussion with some of your colleagues? Can you get that information you’re missing by sending a private message or an email? If the answer is yes, then maybe you should skip the meeting for now.
If you do need to attend it, propose having a standing meeting. Just as the name suggests, standing meetings are those where everyone stands. You can set the meeting in a room with no chairs. It shouldn’t take long until you hear someone say “let’s make it quick” or “ok, let’s conclude”.
Of course, you can add even more things to this list. Some days you’ll feel incredibly productive, while some other days won’t be as good as you imagined. Anyway, don’t forget to take breaks regularly, create a proper and comfortable workspace and also enjoy the simple things that bring you joy. After all, a happy employee is more productive than a not-so-happy one. 😉
Lavinia Nica - Copywriter / UX writer at Telekom Romania