Increasing productivity in our lives, whether it’s at home or work, can be challenging. However, by applying a few simple tips, you can identify “extra time” you didn’t know was there and be more productive and efficient.
Set a timer
When I was growing up, I remember my mom setting a timer for a lot of different things: brushing our teeth, doing our chores, being in time out, getting homework done, and so on. Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve used a timer for many of the same things and often, it’s a great motivator. I’ve started using timers more for myself as well. It can be easy to lose track of time when we are doing something that requires a lot of attention (a project) or that’s easy to get immersed in (watching Netflix). This increases productivity because when we set a timer, we no longer have to worry about how long we have to devote to whatever we are doing. We know that we’ll be reminded to finish up when the timer goes off.
Make a running to-do list
I have always been a list person. Making a list is how I stay organized in the various areas of my life, whether its running our home, packing for a vacation or finishing projects. A while back, I heard the suggestion to make a running to-do list. It is basically a list of things that need to be done, but don’t necessarily have a deadline, such as changing a light bulb. As you complete an item on your to-do list, you cross it off and move onto the next thing. A Power Hour can help you get this list of to-dos done more quickly and efficiently.
But let’s be honest: finding the time to do these random tasks in our day-to-day lives isn’t easy. When we have a moment of time, we don’t usually think to check our to-do list. This is where a Power Hour comes in. You look at your calendar and plan one hour each week to work on your running to-do list. When you know you have this hour set aside each week to accomplish these random tasks, you will be more productive because you will know exactly what to work on during that time.
Turn off notifications on your phone for social media
A few weeks ago, I took a break from social media. To help me resist checking it, I did two things: 1) I moved the icons on my phone to a place that was less convenient to get to, and 2) I turned off my notifications for those social media platforms. During this time, I found myself doing more productive things when I sat down and picked up my phone. I also checked my phone less because I wasn’t seeing the notifications pop up.
Bonus tip: Keep your phone on silent if possible. If you do this along with the other two tips above, you’ll find yourself less likely to check your phone because it won’t be making noise every time something comes through.
Use an app to manage the amount of time spent on your phone
It’s so easy to do basically anything you want to on your phone today. You can pay bills, make purchases, find information, book vacations, be social and so on. It’s also true that your phone can be a time-waster and a productivity-sucker if not used in moderation. If you’re looking for help in balancing how much time you spend on your phone, here are a few apps:
- Space: Helps you set goals to be more mindful of your screen usage and rewards you with different achievement badges when you meet your daily goals.
- AppDetox: Allows you to create rules to limit access to certain apps. A unique feature is an option to walk in order to earn more screen time.
- Off the Grid: You have the ability to completely block usage of your phone for a certain amount of time of your choosing. If you end your session early, your credit card is charged $1.
- AntiSocial: Provides screen time limits and app blocking features, as well as comparing your screen time usage to others within your age group and gender to give you an idea of how you’re doing compared to others in the same group.
What are some simple tips you use to improve productivity in your life?