7 tips to become more productive
If you want to be successful independent contractor you’ll have to stay motivated and productive. We’ve already written about why productivity is important and here are some tips how to become more productive.
It is not going to happen overnight, especially if you tend to procrastinate, but if you start to apply these tips you will get better results each day.
Here are top tips for becoming more productive
1. To-do list
Be reasonable when making your to-do list. Some tasks will take a long time so always keep that in mind. Do not overwhelm yourself and do not put too many tasks on your list, because you won’t be able to finish it and you will feel like you’ve failed.
Make priorities and include jobs you must do, than the jobs you should do and lastly the jobs you need to do.
If the job is not necessary take it off your list.
2. Set daily goals
Plan your day and do it the night before. Before you go to bed, spend 5 minutes for writing down everything you need to do.
This will help you in the morning, because you will be mentally prepared and you’ll know exactly what the day brings. It will help you to avoid distractions and procrastination in the morning. When you know your daily goals you’ll work faster.
Make this your routine and you will save time in the morning.
3. Peak levels
Productivity depends on your energy level. Think about what are your highest energy hours and schedule the most important tasks for that time.
If you are not sure about this, take a week and write down the hours when you feel the most energy and hours of lowest energy levels. Then make your schedule according to this. The most important and high priority tasks should be done when you are most productive, and less important tasks, such as handling emails or less important meetings should be done when your energy is low.
You will notice that you have different levels of energy on different days of week. Most productive days are usually Tuesday and Wednesday, so leave the most difficult tasks for those days. Monday should be day for planning the week and organizing. Thursday and Friday are for meetings, finishing smaller tasks… However you should find your own pattern – take several weeks and follow your energy levels, then organize your work following those.
Another productivity trick is batching. It is simple – group all similar tasks and do them together. This will save you a lot of time for switching from one task to another; it will reduce start-up and slow-down time, and help you be more organized.
Batching helps your brain to be focused on one type of work at a time, which makes you more efficient.
So group tasks like phone calls, checking and replying emails and do all of those in one batch.
To find out which tasks you can batch, check out your to-do list and search for those with similar mindset.
At the end of each day and each week review your progress. See how you are doing and in what areas you’re doing great and what areas you can improve. Be honest to yourself, this will help you become more productive and save yourself some time.
Use this acknowledge as a guide for planning the next week.
At the end of each week check your weekly accomplishments and make sure you are moving towards yours overall goals. If necessary get rid of unimportant tasks and focus on the most important ones.
Some tasks will require your knowledge and experience, but there will be tasks that are not so important. You can find someone to help you complete less skilled or important tasks.
Delegating is great way to get more things done and multiply your effort.
You can hire a freelancer or if working in team assign specific tasks to colleague.This will leave you more time for really important tasks. However keep in mind these important things when delegating task to someone else:
- The person you are delegating the tasks must have all skills required for the job.
- You should provide clear instructions
- Be specific about results you expect and deadlines
7. Take Breaks
Even if this sounds not very productive, you should have your breaks scheduled. Both your body and mind need some time to relax from working.
Best way to take some rest is to move from working space, walk or meditate.
It will refresh your thinking, help you come up with new ideas and you’ll be ready to continue hard work.
You should also take advantages of your weekends. Keep those for resting and relaxing. You will start new week refreshed and full of energy which will increase your productivity.
Try to incorporate these tips into your daily and weekly routine. It will help you becoming more and more productive over time.