We all seem to be working harder and longer hours now, but how productive are we really? We know that things like multi-tasking are counter-productive so what can we do? Instead of working harder, maybe we should be working smarter. Try using some or all of these to see if they help.
Eat that frog
Brian Tracy’s well-known book basically says that we should do the task we most dislike first, before we do anything else. According to Forbes the title comes from Mark Twain’s quote about eating a live frog in the morning and nothing worse will happen for the rest of the day.
Twain had a point, but neuroscience tells us that if we give our brains a chance to work on the hard problem in the background whilst doing easier tasks, it may all fall into place more quickly. There is also the psychological advantage of achieving things too.
Another book, The Miracle Morning, says you should get up half an hour earlier every morning and be productive during that time. Certainly, getting important jobs done early on gives you the advantage of knowing you’ve achieved something, no matter what else happens. Even if all you do is convert PDF to Excel, for example, you’ve made a good start.
Make use of technology
Whichever way you try to square the circle, you may as well make use of the available technology. There is so much out there now to speed things up, so why sweat it? A good example is PDF tables can convert PDF into Excel. If you don’t know how to use these things, learn.
We all need goals, even small ones, and focusing on them will help when things get tough. We can’t all have our dream job (although you might want to do something about a job you hate), so remember why you do what you do: is it to pay for that Caribbean Cruise or just to put food on the table. Just remember the reason when your day is not going well.
Spend a few minutes meditating or even concentrating on deep breathing. Spending time on this every day will pay dividends. Try to make it part of your routine and do it at the same time every day.