How can you learn to be more productive? Premium

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Just about all of us have to deal with too much work and pressure and not enough time or energy; as a result, our efficiency varies more than we like to admit. How can we keep our minds clear enough to make the right decisions all day long? How can we limit phases of lassitude and ineffectiveness? Business Digest offers some simple techniques for boosting your daily efficiency.


Keep a tight rein on your agenda

It can be difficult to resist a new project, but if you are not sure you will be able to handle it, say no, postpone the work, or delegate it.

Select and prioritize

Re-order your daily to-do list so that you only focus on the three most important – and difficult – tasks that you absolutely have to get done during the day.

Measure your results
Don’t assess your added value by measuring how much time you spent on a particular project but on the end result. Get into the habit of breaking down complicated projects into a single to-do list made up of simple tasks.

Build a routine
Identify the areas where you waste time by tracking non-productive activities over a few days. Then you will be able to start changing your bad habits.

Learn how to switch off
Just as it is useful to form good habits to help you get down to work, so you also need to organize your breaks properly and the times when you need to stop working.

The example of Margaret Hefferman

Increasing your working hours does not mean that you will get more done, says serial entrepreneur Margaret Hefferman, who explains that it is better to spend seven or eight genuinely productive hours at the office rather than clocking longer days. How can you ensure your time at work is spent productively? By concentrating on one task at a time, organizing your day with care, and taking breaks.

Based on, among others, “The Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How to Design Your Own Master Routine” by Belle Beth Cooper (Buffer, September 2013) and “4 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Maximize Productivity” by Margaret Heffernan (INC, May 2014) and the interview with Margaret Heffernan, entrepreneur and writer, July 2014.

Watch the video:
RSA Animate – Re-Imagining Work.

How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem — and could it also be part of the solution?