Popular Productivity Tips for Extremely Busy People

Emy Mordue
  • Senior Content Marketing Manager
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For the most part, productivity is centred around time which kind of sucks… in reality there is never enough time to do everything, but there should always be enough time to do the most important things that day.

This posts looks at some key productivity tips focused on saying “no”! Learning to say no can lead to far greater productivity and getting the work you need to get done, done.

No to opening every email the second it lands in your inbox
This is not the most productive use of your time – it’s disruptive to your mind and the task you’re currently on to immediately open, read and answer emails (particularly if you don’t really have the time to reply then and there… you’ll only have to re-read the email when you do come back to it later on). The same applies when responding to messages or taking unnecessary phone calls.

It may feel counterintuitive, but learning to section your time into portions can really make a difference to your productivity – what you do multiple times per day should ideally be done once or twice per day (for example, try ‘email slots’ from 9-10 and again from 2-3, or a social media hour over lunch).

No to multitasking
There was a time when being able to multitask was seen as the be-all-and-end-all of productivity – but this has been turned on it’s head with tons of new research, including that from neuroscientist, Dr Daniel J. Levitin who suggests that:

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We think that we’re doing all these things at once but the brain doesn’t work that way … Every three or four seconds we switch to another thing, we are paying attention to one thing and then the next and then the next and then we come back around again to the first. All of that switching comes at a neurobiological cost. It depletes essential neuro-resources that you need for actually doing things and thinking things.
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So the key? Stop your brain from the constant stop-starting, focus on one thing at a time, do it right, do it well and then move on.

No to tasks that are not on the ‘important things that day’ list
Knowing the right tasks to prioritise is key. A lot of time can be lost on performing the wrong tasks on the wrong day – tasks that are not business critical, that won’t impact the project goal, should not be on this list. For example, I always have a lot of wider to-dos (such as content auditing, metrics, scheduling, research, SEO improvements, website maintenance, etc., etc.), but these tasks are not on my ‘important things that day’ list – this list is much shorter, usually with only 2-5 items on it.

Working like this not only helps you to stay on the path to productivity, it helps to keep you motivated, as you are activity achieving goals and ticking off those all important to-dos.

The Fast Company have collated all the top productivity tips into a single day of perfect efficiency – think you can keep up? I feel tired just watching this:

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Remember, we’re only human so all you can do is try and find out what works best for you. Do you have a top productivity tip to share? We’d love to hear from you via @gmdesignltd

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