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By: Jarrad Howard, Campaign Strategy Studies Coordinator
Your most important resource – whether you work for a nonprofit organization or a for-profit company – is your time. Time is the finite resource that is used to accomplish anything and everything. Also, it’s the one resource that will be used and will pass regardless of whether you monitor it or not. So why not take control of your time and improve your productivity?
Try implementing some of these tips to improve your productivity at work and in your private life:
- Prioritize – I know this seems as basic as it gets, but this one step has the potential to triple your productivity. A lot of times, we just dive in to work and know that we’ve got a to-do list (a mile long) to get through for the day. But, as I’m sure you know, not all of those things on your to-do list for the day are top priorities. Rank your tasks for the day in order of most important to least important. Then, it’s easier to see what needs to be done first and what is not as pressing. Or…what doesn’t really have to be done at all. Not all tasks are top priorities – so let’s stop treating them like they are. Plan out your tasks and PRIORITIZE! Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.”
- Time Blocking – This is HUGE! Many times, our top priorities are pushed to the side because…well…we simply get distracted by the unimportant. We have email notifications constantly going off and our phones keep ringing and someone is always knocking on your door with something. Before you know it, the little (most of the time unnecessary) things have eaten up your entire day and your top priorities have been neglected. Set time aside in your schedule and ON YOUR CALENDAR (1, 2, maybe 3 hours) to accomplish those big tasks. This may even require you to step out of the office or leave your home. Go somewhere you can fully commit to one or two crucial tasks without being disturbed. Silence or turn off your phone and don’t check it. Focus completely on the task(s) at hand…you’ll be surprised at how much you’re able to accomplish.
- Define EMERGENCY – This is probably one of the hardest tips to accomplish and enforce because it is other peoples’ definition of emergency that causes them to load up your inbox with unnecessary emails and knock on your door and interrupt your focus – when you were in the middle of a top priority task – to tell you the water cooler is empty. This seems silly but it happens all the time and is a HUGE productivity killer. Take the time to define what a true emergency is and share that with your co-workers and employees. Email can be a wonderful thing! If an emergency – as you have defined it – pops up, ask that they call you. Otherwise, ask them to send a concise email and await your response.
We all have the same number of hours in a day. It is how we use them that determines the success we will achieve. Remember…you have the same number of hours in a day as Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson.
Take these steps to see an exponential increase in your productivity.