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5 ways to be more productive

Do you feel you have trouble getting things done and staying on-task?

As someone who is working, in school and guest blogs, my ability to get everything done, and on-time, relies on being productive.

Being productive is not only about getting more done, it’s about staying on-task and not getting side-tracked. I have tried many different things, different apps and followed peoples’ advice. Through much trial and error, here is a list of my favorite and simplest ways that will help you be more productive.

5 ways to be more productive

1. Create a to-do list

The list should be ordered from most important to least important.

Creating a list is simple, you can do it the old school way by writing it down in a diary or in a notebook. But my personal preference, and one way that allows you to access it anywhere, anytime and on any type of device (mobile, desktop, laptop) is Google Calendar. Google Calendar makes it easy to schedule and assign allotted times and deadlines for each task. Plus, you can colour code and who doesn’t love a good colour scheme?

2. Manage your time

Create a schedule by blocking out time on your calendar for each item on your to-do list. You know what times of day you work best, some people work best in mornings, while others work best in the afternoon. Create a schedule that allows you to focus on the more important tasks for the time of day when you work best.

Also, schedule time to work on tasks that aren’t due for a few weeks, try to work ahead as much as possible.

Create a schedule and stick to it.

3. Focus. Don’t multitask

Multitasking often leads to completing 80% of a bunch of tasks but not fully completing one. Plus, when we multitask we don’t give one task our full attention.

This is a big problem for most of us. Stick to your calendar and scheduled task during its blocked out time. When I am writing a blog post, I do not check email. I only check email during my ‘check email’ allotted time.

By focusing on one task, and get that satisfying moment when you can check it off your to-do list.

4. Take breaks

Working solidly for a number of hours can cause you to produce less than stellar work. The complete opposite of being productive!

After working for too many hours straight, often times people get frustrated and tired. These are two mental characteristics that reduce productivity. The important thing is your output; not how many hours you dedicate to each assignment.

So when you see you are getting tired and generating subpar work, stop, take a break.  Go for a walk, be sure to step away from your computer. I even schedule breaks, so I don’t get burned out. Breaks help you stay focused.

5. Avoid distractions

Social media can be the biggest distraction. It seems the minute we sit down to work, we become overwhelmed with the need to investigate where Tommy, from primary school, went on holiday this summer. Browsing wastes time and distracts you from accomplishing your workload.

Sign out of all social media networks and turn your phone onto ‘do not disturb,’ so that alerts do not distract you from the task. Use your break time to browse and check-out what Tommy is doing.

Follow these 5 tips and hopefully you will be able to accomplish all your tasks, meet deadlines and hopefully find time to take on new challenges.

For more advice, check out these blogs

Written by Matt Goodlad, guest blogger for Red Executive

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