The New Year is here, and now is the perfect time to perfect how you use your time. To help you get more done in 2015, follow these 15 productivity tips:
- Get more sleep: You need to get plenty done during the day, but to do that, you should get plenty of sleep at night. That’s because, according to Harvard University, a lack of sleep can negatively impact your judgment, mood and ability to learn and retain information. Insufficient sleep can have negative consequences outside the workplace as well – it can lead to health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even early death.
- Keep your desk clean and neat: It’s hard to be organized when your workspace is anything but. Think about how much time you waste searching for pens, notes and other times that should be readily available. Invest a few dollars into purchasing file folders, cubbies, shelves, cabinets or tabs, and spend a few minutes putting everything away now so that you can get more done later.
- Leave yourself a to-do list every time you leave the office: Give your productivity a head start every morning by writing yourself a note every afternoon. Jot down important deliverables, meetings, milestones and tasks. This is a great way to keep track of priority projects and make sure you stay on track for your deadlines.
- Check emails in bulk: Constantly checking your inbox and replying to individual emails can get in the way of getting more critical things done. Therefore, consider designating certain times of the day to checking your emails, and only review and reply during these periods.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water can help improve brain function. Conversely, dehydration can severely impact your ability to concentrate and stay alert. So make sure to take your water bottle with you and keep yourself hydrated in order to keep your productivity levels high.
- Eat healthier snacks: Eating little snacks throughout the day is a great way to stay energized, but not if you are eating cookies, chips and whatever else is in the vending machine. Instead, snack on brain-fueling foods such as fruits, nuts and seeds. Of course, you can also…
- Brown bag your lunch: Americans waste thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours annually eating out for lunch. Save your money, time and waistline by packing your own healthy meal. You can also use the time you save running out for food to get more done in the office or accomplish personal tasks on your lunch break, freeing you from added stress and pressure at work and home.
- Divide your big projects into smaller milestones: Big projects can seem daunting, and many people put off starting them out of fear and anxiety. A better approach is to break down big projects into smaller, more easily accomplished “mini-projects” with their own milestones and deadlines.
- Take walking breaks: Every hour or two, get up from your desk and walk around the office. Giving your eyes a rest, stretching your legs and refreshing your brain is a great way to stay energized and improve focus.
- Utilize productivity apps: More than 66 percent of Americans own smartphones. In the likely event that you’re one of them, then you can turn your phone into a productivity tool. There are calendar apps, to-do list apps, note-taking apps, communication apps, travel-planner apps and thousands more. Check them out and download the ones that can help you.
- Learn from other highly productive people: What secrets do highly productive people know that the rest of us don’t? Well, thanks to the LifeHacker “How I Work” series, their secrets are out. Subscribe to the series for inspirational and innovative productivity ideas that you can borrow.
- Ask for help: If you are overwhelmed and overworked, it’s okay to ask your coworkers for assistance. In fact, doing so can be good for workplace morale and team spirit. Just make sure to return the favor if someone asks you for a helping hand.
- Say no sometimes: Having too much on your plate can prevent you from accomplishing what really matters. So don’t automatically accept every meeting invite – make sure you really need to be there; don’t volunteer for every task in your department – ensure that it really needs to get done; and don’t take every call – only answer the ones that matter.
- Set a strict schedule and time limit for meetings: Meetings can be a great forum for sharing ideas, progress and updates. But if the meetings don’t start on time, or if they drag on and on, then they can impede on everyone’s productivity and patience. Set a clear agenda and stick to it; encourage one-on-one discussions for issues that don’t need the group’s attention, and don’t let any one person hijack the meeting – even if that person is you.
- Outsource what you can’t do, or what someone else can do better: What’s your core job? Think about it, and then think about all of the things that distract you from it. Is there someone else who can perform that function and give you the freedom to focus on more important projects and priorities?
If HR is getting in the way or running your business, consider partnering with a proven professional employer organization – like Alcott HR – that can help you put your focus back on your business.