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5 ways to do more and work less




Most professionals have probably had at least one day at work where it seemed like there simply wasn’t enough hours to get every urgent pending task completed. Deadlines might have felt like they were pressing down from above; managers might have been regularly demanding updates; last-minute jobs may have thrown off the plan.


Some of these instances are, of course, an unavoidable part of any high-pressure position. However, almost everyone can benefit from focusing more on their productivity – maximising their output without burning out in the attempt.


Create your own deadlines


This might feel like imposing an additional layer of unneeded stress, but deadlines you set yourself can actually help you focus more on the task in hand through creating an extra level of urgency. Try to realistically gauge how long a particular project will take and then meticulously stick to this timeframe. Not only will your productivity likely increase, but you’ll be left with more time to handle other jobs that might crop up unexpectedly.


Commit to one task


Trying to meet multiple expectations at the same time can feel like the best way to get things done, while also leaving us worried that nothing is being completed to a decent standard. Try instead to rigorously prioritise all pending projects, then commit specific time to each, and each alone. This means tasks are not left pending on a ‘To Do’ list, and can be mentally filed away as fully completed before moving on to something else.


Use your commute to plan your day


There are very few people who enjoy their commute to work. Instead of trying to minimise the pain and trauma it might cause, productivity can be improved by using the time to mentally plan your day. Whether you spend the time thinking through your tasks for the day, or fire off the crucial email replies that are stacked up already in your inbox, you’ll be better prepared to hit the ground running when you get into the office.


Try to minimise interruptions


This might seem like a hopeless dream for many, but minimising interruptions during part of your working week can pay great dividends in productivity. Some people find that having an hour that is regularly blocked from their calendar, and that is - crucially – recognised by others as “Do Not Disturb” time, can make a huge difference to their output. If this isn’t possible, try to identify a part of the day that is generally quieter, and prioritise particularly trying tasks during this period.


Don’t always be ‘on’


Productivity certainly doesn’t rise and rise in line with the number of work hours you put in, so it is important to recognise that time off is crucial as a means to recover mental and physical energy. Try to keep weekends or evenings as free from work as possible, perhaps scheduling particular timings where you are categorically unavailable and ‘off email’. Not only does this help you relax, but can also free up time to consider your workload from a less-stressed perspective.
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