Life moves fast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up: All it takes to stay on top of your to-do list is to apply a few simple hints and tips that can help you get more done in less time. To truly live life to the fullest, you need to maximize your time, after all. Below, you’ll find several ways to really own the clock instead of watching the hours fly by and maximize productivity and performance whether on the clock or off. Simply scroll down to find out how to get more done in less time, and turbo-charge your daily output.
Find the “Empty Hours” – It’s never bad to have quiet time to relax, but can you find the hours you feel are simply wasted and apply them to better effect as well. Think about ways to actually use the hour you commute into work on the train and the hour back home to promote learning and growth, for example. Since you’re captive anyway, repurposing the commute to catch up on work, make a task list, tune into audiobooks or podcasts, and write presentations is a great way to optimize your time.
Don’t Plan, Prioritize – Writing a to-do list is great, but swapping it out for a priority list can be a genuine game-changer. Every day, jot down the five things that need to happen: If you can attack those tasks first, the rest of the day can be spent forward-thinking instead of just checking off a list of tasks.
Pick a “Catch-Up” Day – Try to leave your schedule open one day a week to catch up on email, make much-needed phone calls, and connect with colleagues on pending projects. It can be impossible to hold a full-day open sometimes, so focus on keeping a morning or afternoon just for yourself. Had a crazy work week? Take a weekend evening to prepare for the week ahead.
Double Up on Mind and Body – Get your mind in motion by keeping active: A crucial (and often) skipped when considering ways to get more done in less time. Make a colleague your gym partner so you can catch up and have a great chat all at once. On the walk to work call your significant other to say hello. Talk to the kids when driving them to school. These small moments of devoted attention can pay off bigg.
Use Apps to Save Time – Apps make everything in life so much easier. You’ll find options for creating and sharing lists for groceries and tracking big projects (Wunderlist); others that can keep you up to date on finances (your local bank probably has an app); more to buy coffee in advance of your arrival (both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer these); and still others for shopping online while commuting (Amazon, of course). When your wardrobe needs a refresh, there’s even an app for that too (Stitch Fix). Do some research and find the right time- and effort-saving apps for you.
Know Your Internal Clock
When are you the most focused? The most creative? The most social? You need to know yourself to get best productivity from the work you do. Some people may do their best work in the morning and find that their attention fades by late afternoon; others are night owls who can plough through late into the wee hours. Know when you produce your best and try to sculpt your schedule around these times.
Sleep More – This may seem counterintuitive, but getting good rest is essential for maximizing your time. Sleep improves your focus and helps you perform better physically and mentally. Aim for at least seven hours a night.
Need more time saving tips? Read on to find more ways to get more done in less time:
Victoria Cairl writes about women and work. She's is the VP of Business Development at Show-Score.com, having previously worked at Lincoln Center, The Met Museum and Disney Theatrical. She is a mentor, feminist and an entrepreneur based in New York City.