You probably know that one person who always seems like they get more done during the day than everyone else. Regardless of if it is a colleague or friend, this person is always done early, and you may wonder, what’s their secret?
You may have even heard these people being described as machines or robots because what they do seems impossible to others. However, the fact is, these people have learned how to perform at maximum levels of efficiency. If you want to achieve the same high level of performance, keep reading and learn more.
Focus on the Most Important Tasks First
The theory behind focusing on the most important tasks first is that you are getting these things done before all the others. If you just focus on checking things off your to-do list, you will have both important and not-so-important things getting done.
This strategy of not prioritizing what you need to do can also lead to procrastination. It is easy to spend your entire day checking things off your list but never really focusing on the most dreaded things or that are going to take the longest to complete.
A better strategy is to spend several minutes at the start of your day to choose between one and three important tasks (these are the things that must be done by the end of the day). When you can focus on what is important first, your to-do list will help you get done with everything faster.
Cultivate a Sense of Deep Work
Some tasks are difficult. There is no substitution for deep work. While you may be able to invest in negotiation training to get people to help or take over some of these tasks, you will have to buckle down and focus at some point.
Everyone has a few things on their daily to-do list that could be done while they were half asleep. These are the tasks that someone needs some type of entertainment to get through, mainly because they aren’t very engaging or interesting.
On the other hand, you have extremely difficult tasks. There is no way to multitask to get them done. Instead, it would help if you devoted serious mental effort and time to handle these. These are the tasks that are called “deep work.”
There are a few things you can do to handle deep work. The first is to schedule for it. Be sure to plan deep work into your day at a similar time. Usually, this should be done in the morning. If you have regular time to do this type of work, it will help you create a habit.
Remember that deep work is not always enjoyable. Because of this, you need to get comfortable feeling bored. This is going to help you avoid distractions. Don’t use social media as a break; just focus and get things done.
Maintain a List of Distractions to Remain Focused
If you are like most people, social media, emails, and many other to-dos make it easy to become distracted when you are working to be as productive as possible. It does not matter if you want to focus on deep work or if you are just trying to deal with smaller tasks; a distraction will kill productivity. If you want to maintain or build efficient work habits, then you have to minimize distractions.
One of the best ways to reduce distractions is by writing a distraction list.
Be sure to keep this list nearby while you are working. You can keep it on a piece of paper or in a Google Doc. If something distracting occurs, be sure to write it down and then move on.
This is a technique that is heavily outlined in the Pomodoro Technique. It is powerful because, in many cases, distractions can limit a person’s attention on the task they are trying to accomplish.