Last Updated November 25, 2020
Do you ever finish your day feeling like you weren’t able to accomplish everything on your To-Do List? I understand. Being productive and managing your time can be very difficult. Some days you may feel like you didn’t get ANYTHING done. So find out some ways you can be productive at work without burning out.
How To Be More Productive At Work
In order to get more done and be more productive at work without burning out, you need to work smarter—not harder. You need to structure your time more effectively and make a daily plan. Here’s how to be more productive at work…
1. Use Tools To Help You
The first step to improve your time management skills is having the right tools. I love planners and have tried so many different ones. But my favorite planner is the Financial Goal Planner.
I created the Financial Goal Planner because I couldn’t find a planner I liked specifically dedicated to managing your time and your finances.
The Financial Goal Planner is a carefully curated planner filled with 37 pages worth of printables to help you manage your time, make a plan for financial success, and crush your financial goals.
This goal planner has everything you need to be productive, manage your time wisely, organize your finances, and set money goals.
You will save money because you never have to buy another planner again. Keep the files for life and reprint the pages you need—or keep it in the digital format and use it with a note-taking app like GoodNotes.
If you use it in a digital format with a note-taking app, you can easily duplicate and reuse pages. It also helps you save on printing costs. Finally, It makes it much easier to carry around with you every day.
2. Make A To-Do List
One of the most important ways you can be more productive is by making a to-do list. We’re not good at remembering a lot of things all at once. So make a to-do list to help you keep track of everything you need to do.
Making a to-do list sounds simple enough, but did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to make a to-do list?
I found the printables in my Financial Goal Planner to be extremely helpful when making my to-do list the right way. My two favorite printables to help me with my to-do list are the Daily Planner and Weekly Planner.
Ever since using the Daily and Weekly Planners, I’ve been much more productive. So I want to share with you some of the tips I learned on how to make a to-do list the correct way:
- List everything you need to do. This is commonly called a “brain dump.” Basically, anything you can think of, you want to write it down.
- Then prioritize and only pick a few things you must do today.
I personally don’t like to have more than 5 things I need to do in a day. If you try to do too much all at once, you will feel overwhelmed. Even worse, you will feel like you weren’t productive because you spread yourself too thin (this used to happen to me ALL the time).
- Finally, set out to complete your most important tasks when you’re most alert. For the majority of us, that’s in the morning or early in the day; but pick the time of day that’s best for you.
With the Daily Planner printable, I do my “brain dump” under the “To Do List” section on the right-hand side. Next, I put a number next to each item in order of priority. The number 1 means that item on my to-do list is a top priority. The number 2 means it’s second priority and so on.
After using the Daily Planner, I’m able to accomplish what I set out to do for the day. If something didn’t get done that day, it’s okay, because I set out to do my most important tasks first.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks From Most Important To Least Important
Always keep your goals in mind when planning. I’ve already mentioned this when writing your to-do list, but it’s so important that I will mention this again. After you make a list of things you want to get done, sort each activity by most important to least important.
Ask yourself, “If I could do only one thing all day long, what one thing would I do?” That should be the thing you focus your energy on first.
You can use the A, B, C, D, E Method suggested in the book “Million Dollar Habits.” In this book, written by Brian Tracy, he breaks down this method as follows:
A – something you MUST do
B – something you SHOULD do
C – something that would be nice to do, but doesn’t really matter if the task is done or not
D – something you can and should delegate to others
E – something you can eliminate as quickly as possible
With this method, you complete all your A tasks before you move on to a B task, and so on. You can use my FREE Daily Goal Planner to help you prioritize your daily To-Do List.
4. Take Care Of The Most Important Tasks First
Once you sort out your most important task, you should do that first. You want to tackle your most important task while your most alert. If you wait until later in the day, you may not have the most energy to accomplish this goal. So tackle the important things early in your day.
5. Use A Task Blocking System
Another important way to be more productive at work is to use a task blocking system. Task blocking is when you batch similar tasks together. For example, some tasks I usually task block are:
- responding to all emails
- paper/mail organization
- returning phone calls, or
- working on projects.
The way you task block is you make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish and color-code all your similar activities. Group all your tasks logically by their function or locations.
Once you have all of your tasks blocked together, you have to plug it into your Daily Planner or Weekly Planner.
For example, in the picture above, I color-code my tasks based on personal tasks (yellow), work tasks (pink), and blog tasks (purple).
6. Use A Time Blocking System
Time blocking is when you block off your time for just one task (or group of similar tasks—aka task batching). Time blocking is essential in keeping your to-do list realistic.
This was a major mistake I made when making my to-do list. I had so many things on my to-do list that it wasn’t realistic to complete it all in one day.
I did not take into consideration how long a task will take, or I wasn’t realistic about how long it would take. As a result, my whole day would get thrown off, and I would then feel like a loser that didn’t get everything done.
By blocking my tasks, it will make sure you get your most important tasks done for the day. It also gave you an idea of how long each task will take so you can see if your to-do list is realistic.
When I planned my day (see the picture above) it was clear that my to-do list was NOT realistic, and I did not have enough time to complete everything on my to-do list. Knowing that I probably won’t complete everything on my list ahead of time prevents me from feeling like a loser because I didn’t get everything done.
So the most important thing about time blocking is it keeps you focused and organized. It also improves your productivity because it keeps your to-do list from getting out of hand.
7. Organize And Plan Your Day
If you want to be more productive at work you need to plan your schedule in advance. Spending just a few minutes planning will make a big difference with how productive you are for the rest of the day.
Planning is a fundamental part of time management. Remember, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Once you figure out what tasks you need to get done first, you need to decide how long each task will take. You can’t squeeze 9 hours’ worth of work into 7 hours.
Here’s an example (pictured above) of how I plan my schedule in advance. Once I make my to-do list and prioritized what needs to get done, I plug in each task into my calendar.
By planning my day or week in advance, I can see if I have enough time to complete everything on my to-do list.
When you organize your day or week, it forces you to take into consideration how long a task will take. As a result, it will keep your to-do list realistic.
8. Manage Distractions
This is an important tip to help you be more productive at work. I don’t think we realize how often we’re actually interrupted in a day. With so many distractions (like email, text messages, social media, and colleague chit chat), you are probably interrupted hundreds of times a day.
I am guilty of this myself.
Try to limit distractions by turning off your alerts when you’re working. Set aside time when you will check things like email and social media. Outside of those designated times, try your best to stay focus on your other tasks at hand.
Close your door when you’re at the office to let people know you don’t want to be interrupted.
9. Work From Home
Sometimes a closed door at work does not deter people from interrupting you. In that case, you may want to opt to work from home when possible. A lot of times, working remotely can help you increase your productivity by getting more done in less time.
10. Eat Healthy To Stay Energized
The food we eat is extremely important in boosting our brainpower and impacting how productive we are at work. Junk food not only affects your weight, but it also causes decreased productivity and energy crashes.
That’s why my Daily Planner printable inside the Financial Goal Planner has a “Meal Plan” section where you can plan your meals for the day.
Meal planning is basically thinking of your meals ahead of time so you’re not stuck wondering “what am I going to eat” at the last minute.
If you would like to plan your meals for the entire week in advance, you can use this FREE Weekly Meal Planner Printable that you can find in my Resource Library. This meal planner will help you get more organized when deciding what you want to cook for the week.
Here’s an example of what it looks like when I use the Weekly Meal Planner to make a menu for the week:
11. Don’t Multitask
Multitasking will compromise the quality of your work, and may even take longer to finish a task. Working on one task at a time will help you stay more focused and reduce the number of mistakes made. Therefore, you will end up being less stressed and complete your task faster.
Once you’re in a certain mode, it’s best to just focus on that mode until the task is done. You don’t want to waste time switching gears.
12. Break Larger Tasks Down
When you have a big project or goal to accomplish, break them down into smaller milestones. Having smaller bite-sized goals makes your goal more manageable and less overwhelming.
Also, you are more productive at work without burning out because you increase efficiency when you do short bursts of activity. So don’t plan to sit down for hours on end focusing on one task.
That brings me to my next point…
13. Take Breaks To Avoid Burnout
Another way to be more productive at work without burnout is to take regular breaks. Studies show that taking regular breaks can help with concentration and improve your mood.
You may think taking a break my slow you down, but it can improve performance and productivity. If you work continuously on a task for hours at a time, you will most certainly burnout.
Try to take a break after working for 2 hours. So, go ahead and take a 5-minute walk around the office, or go and grab a cup of coffee.
14. Track How Much Time You’re Spending On Tasks
You want to track how much time you’re actually spending on a task. For example, you may block out one-hour to accomplish a task and it actually takes you two. This is because most people have a hard time accurately estimating the passage of time.
You will find you waste a lot of time if you don’t track how much time you’re spending on a task.
I like to use the Goals On Track software specifically to help me with this. By tracking your time, you’re able to accomplish two things:
- You can try to increase your speed or productivity if you see you’re falling behind schedule, and
- It allows you to better gauge how long a similar task will take in the future, so you can plan better.
15. Work In Intervals
Working in intervals allows you to be more productive at work because you limit how long you’re continuously working. As stated before, taking breaks in between tasks help with concentration and productivity.
16. De-clutter And Organize Your Work Area
Being organized is so important because it can reduce stress in your life. Your mind is constantly racing if you live in disorganized chaos. You’re probably always looking for something, working in a cluttered situation, and missing appointments and meetings.
When you’re organized, your mind is free to focus on your work tasks instead of stressing out and wasting time searching for that misplaced document.
So, organize your work area and toss out old papers sitting around your desk to see if it helps you become less distracted and more productive.
17. Delegate Tasks
The truth of the matter is that no matter how good you are, you can’t do everything. So delegate some of your tasks to other people to improve your productivity.
Delegating or outsourcing are real time-savers since it lessens your workload—which means you have more time to spend on more important tasks.
18. Don’t Procrastinate
One of the best ways to manage your time better is to stop procrastinating. Procrastination kills productivity and wastes a lot of time and energy.
If it can be done today, do it today.
19. Limit The Meetings
Meetings can really hinder productivity at work. Have you ever walked out of a business meeting and felt that it was a complete waste of time? I know I have!
But sometimes a meeting is necessary. So how can you make sure your meeting is productive? You want to set an agenda and goal for each meeting. No agenda and goal, no meeting.
Also, respect the participants’ time! A one-hour meeting should only take one hour. If you end early, that’s okay, but you don’t want to run late. You can help to avoid issues and maintain productivity by taking clear steps to plan and execute the goal of your meeting.
20. Set Deadlines
A great way to be more productive at work is to set a realistic deadline and stick to it. I recommend you set deadlines by the day (meaning the day the task is due) and by the hour.
The way you set deadlines by the hour is to set a time limit or cut-off hour of when you will stop working on a task for the day. You can accomplish this by using the time blocking strategy I mentioned earlier.
You’ll find that giving yourself a deadline will keep you more focused to get the job done.
21. Reward Yourself When You Achieve Your Goal
A simple way to keep you motivated and more productive at work is to reward yourself whenever you reach an important milestone or achieve a specific goal.
Want to know why you should reward yourself? Because having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick with a habit when you’re feeling a lack of motivation (or when you’re simply too tired to get started).
I know how hard it can be to be productive. Not everyday will be a perfect day. But if you use some of the tips in this article, I’m sure you will find yourself being more productive at work without burnout. You can use my FREE Daily Goal Planner to help you organize your To-Do List.
- My Honest Review Of Goals On Track Software (What No One Tells You)
- How To Set Realistic Financial Goals You Can Actually Accomplish
- How A Financial Goal Planner Will Save You More Money
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