How to get more done during the day

We all wake up in the morning with the best intentions, we planned our day the night before and have a list of tasks to get done and we are excited to start the day, but before lunch time, several urgent customer calls come in, ten emails are in our inbox waiting to be answered and somebody just walked in our office asking a question.

Sound familiar? in order for us to get more done during the day here are some techniques:

Avoid multitasking

Usually multitasking is encouraged to boost productivity, not the other way around! But research shows that juggling multiple tasks at once is actually not good for increasing productivity – it hinders it. David Strayer, director of the applied cognition lab at the University of Utah says research shows that only 2 percent of us can multitask effectively – the other 98 percent simply sit around, maneuvering back and forth between one project to another and in the end nothing gets done. What we call multitasking is really task-switching, says Guy Winch, PhD, author of Emotional First Aid, “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount, Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity”, he says, “because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity.” Running a business is all about efficiency, and multitasking, in the long run, simply isn’t efficient. Focus your energy on one business aspect at a time, and see how far it gets you!

Plan and set goals

Before planning your day you need to set goals. You need to decide what are your goals for this month? this week?, and tomorrow. Clear written goals can clear your mind, help with prioritization and keep you focused.  Kevin Kruse, the author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, says that most successful people schedule everything on their calendar, by utilizing your calendar to schedule tasks allows you to free up your mind, since you now have a plan for how to address each of your tasks. You can use the calendar to allocate time for things like meetings, writing, exercising, or even time with family and friends.

 Prioritize your tasks

Let’s face it if you have 20 items in your to-do list you’re probably not going to get to all of them which is why you need to prioritize your list. Brain Tracy the author of Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time introduces a framework to prioritize tasks called the ABCDE Method where you write down all of your tasks, assign a letter to them as follows:

  • “A” item is defined as something that is very important, something that has to be done. E.g. calling a customer, finishing a report.
  • “B” is a task you should do but has only mild consequences. Someone may not be happy if you don’t do them. E.g. unimportant telephone message, email. The rule is you should never start a B task if you have an A task still to do.
  • “C” is a nice to have, phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with someone, and completing some personal business during work hours. These activities have no effect on your work life.
  • “D” tasks are things you can delegate
  • “E” are tasks you can eliminate. Often it is something you continue to do out of habit or you enjoy it.

Utilize technology

One way to get more done during the day is to automate tasks, software applications like ezClocker can help you track your employees hours remotely using the GPS feature so you don’t have to be physically there to make sure they showed up at the correct location which will save you time.  RecurPost is another great tool that has saved me hours by scheduling and recycling my social media posts automatically.  Boomerang for Gmail can be used to send emails at a later time and send a follow up reminder emails when the person does not reply to you after a certain time.

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