We could all use an extra hour or two in the day, especially those of us who have busy working lives and hectic home lives too. However, if we’re really honest with ourselves, are we squeezing the most out of the precious hours that we do have? It’s great to switch off in front of the telly in the evening, we all need time to relax, but scrolling through Instagram when we should be doing work, that has to stop. Unless of course you’re using Instagram as part of your hustle, in which case, carry on. Either way, these are some simple techniques that will ensure that the time you’re meant to spend being productive, is actually spent being productive.
Try the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is one of the most tried and trusted within the sphere of productivity. Often the simplest ideas work the best and this technique really proves it. So called the Pomodoro technique because the inventor used a timer in the shape of a tomato, you’re going to need to set your timer to twenty minutes. Within those twenty minutes you need to focus fully, don’t be distracted by emails, texts, or even chats with your coworkers. This can feel really difficult at first, especially as our brains are becoming more and more used to information only needing a few seconds of our attention. However, if you stick with it then you’ll notice it getting easier.
Once your twenty minutes of focus is up, it’s time to break. Within your five minutes, it’s important to totally switch off from work. Firing off emails or just carrying on with whatever you were focusing on before can easily lead to burnout. Switching off within five minutes can be tricky, but playing a game can be a great way to help. Some people choose to spend their five minutes playing online casino slots, they’re quick to pick up and put down, as well as simple to learn how to play, so they make a good option when you’re pressed for time. Others might prefer some chess practice, which can help to maintain that level of focus and is also easy to play within your browser. Those who want to take a break from their computer screen might prefer to complete a couple of clues on a crossword instead. It’s up to you how you spend your five minutes, but make sure that they’re enjoyable and you’re coming back from them feeling refreshed.
Level up your to-do lists
In order to make the Pomodoro technique work, it’s essential that you always know the next task that you’re going to move on to. The vast majority of us make to-do lists, whether for the week, the day, or sometimes even each hour. However, an enormous game changer is learning how to use your to-do lists effectively. A great technique to prevent procrastination and time-wasting is to use a traffic light system on your lists. Mark the highest priority items with a red light, the ones that will matter hugely if they don’t get done. Mark the medium priority items with an amber light. These could be tasks that have a longer time scale to be completed in, or simply aren’t quite as important as the red ones. Mark the lowest priority items with a green light. These tasks are the ones that really don’t matter at all, it could be colour-coordinating your binders, or making a post-it-note flick book for your colleague.
Once you’ve marked off your list according to importance, work only on the red items until they are all finished. Then, revisit your list, as things may have shifted and some of the amber items might be red now. Continue in this way until you’re down to green. If you get all that way then you’ll probably be the first person to ever manage it, so congratulations!
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