Most people say they are busy all the time. Half of them look busy, the rest actually are, but often, do many unnecessary things too and thus waste time daily.
Truth is we have a wrong perception of business, and often forget that we can take back control of our time and be more productive in a shorter period of time.
Some people find comfort in being busy, others even get neurotic. No matter the case, there’s always a smarter and simpler way to get more done in less time and still enjoy your days.
Here are some easy but powerful productivity tips for busy people:
1. Use a to-do list
If you already do, great. But if not, give it a try. It may be the missing piece of the puzzle.
2. Write it in the evening.
Spare a few minutes each evening before you go to bed to write down everything you need to get done tomorrow.
This way you’ll save yourself time and worries in the morning and will be able to just get to work.
3. Try a not to-do list too
It’s the opposite of the to-do one and Tim Ferriss swears by its benefits.
Simply write down bad habits and behaviors you’re trying to avoid, or things you often find yourself doing but which are unproductive.
This way you’ll be more mindful of them and will save precious time. This may seem like a small victory in the short-term, but after a month you’ll realize you can dedicate more time to what’s actually giving results.
4. Set deadlines
Freedom and independence are what we’re all after. Freelancing, entrepreneurship and working from home are things that give us a lot of that. But we are the ones who need to build discipline here. If we don’t, distractions and procrastination will get in the way.
So set deadlines even when you don’t have to.
Keep in mind Parkinson’s law: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
5. Define your MITs
These are your Most Important Tasks.
If you take a closer look at your to-do list, you’ll notice that some activities, tasks and projects are more important than others. They will get you closer to your goals, will help you improve yourself, will let you see progress, or help others in some way. So it’s worth focusing on them first.
Put them on the top of your to-do list so that you can prioritize.
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6. Start with them first thing in the morning
Then, once you wake up (and do your morning routine, if you have one), begin working on them right away.
That will give you the momentum to keep going, will make you feel productive and give you a sense of accomplishment early in the day.
And that’s how big life goals are achieved eventually. By putting them before anything else and taking action upon them daily.
7. Review your day
Take some time in the end of the day to analyze how it went.
Think of how long each activity took, and whether it could have been finished faster and executed better.
Then, think of how you can improve your performance.
8. 80/20 your time
The 80/20 rule is in fact Pareto’s principle, and it states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”.
It can be applied to any area of life. In our case – productivity and time management – we can analyze the 20% of the things on our to-do list that will actually give us 80% of the results, and can eliminate the rest and dedicate more focused time on these.
9. Single task
Most people can’t really focus on one thing at a time. But it’s crucial if you want to do your best and get things done faster.
So start single tasking. Pay your full attention to one activity. And move onto the next when you’re done.
10. Automate decisions
Busy people have important things to do, often many of them. But they also have to run errands, meet with people, do daily chores and stuff at home, etc.
One way to save time and instead invest it in meaningful things, is to automate some of your daily decisions.
For example, have a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And eat the same meals every day.
Most people waste a lot of time trying to decide what to eat, prepare it and clean after that. Eliminate all that so that you can focus on productive work with the help of the process of automation.
It’s a great technique to simplify life too.
If your time is expensive and is better spent in communicating with clients instead of doing some online tasks, for instance, delegate that.
Hire a VA and let him do the work and small tasks you can’t go without but which you don’t need to do yourself. And dedicate that time to better things.
12. Use productivity tools
There are plenty of tools and softwares out there – free and paid – that will make your life easier.
Find the ones that work best for you and use them daily. Either to organize work tasks, to connect with clients and employees/employers, to block distractions, keep track of deadlines, manage people, or else.
Once you start following the advice in this list for extremely busy people, you’ll also start seeing great changes in your work, life and mindset.
What other productivity techniques do you know that work and can help busy people do more in less time?
About the Author
Lidiya K is a blogger and author in the fields of self-improvement, life hacking and human potential. She’s the creator of Let’s Reach Success – a personal development blog and podcast. She’s a full-time freelance writer on her way to becoming location independent. She’s working on many other digital projects too. You can connect with her on Twitter.