Time is usually the subject brought up most regularly when work is discussed. The discussions usually start off on the note of how they would want to add extra hours to a day due to having too little time or how time flies when they have so much work to do…

The reality of the situation is that they waste a lot of time without realizing it. Yes, on simple little things that seem to take only seconds, but end up consuming minutes or hours of their day.

Now you might be wondering what exactly am I referring to?

Oh you know, the odd: “I have a Facebook notification, let’s see who it is.” OR “Someone just replied to my tweet, I have to reply to them immediately otherwise I might come across as being rude.”

Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with replying to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIN or Tumblr notifications in office hours…If you are the social media manager of course.

Being productive in office hours is essential to you outputting projects and tasks. Sure it’s hard to focus and leverage your time with so much going on around you, but there are simple common-sense tips that you could apply to your daily routine that could boost your productivity ten fold.

I have listed 7 of these simple tips to help you boost your productivity below…

Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give
myself reasons why I can.

1. Stop obsessively checking emails

Check your email when you come in to work, lunchtime and before you leave to go home. Obsessively checking your email will not only distract you, but help you waste a lot of precious minutes and hours which goes unaccounted for at the end of the day.

If you are someone that uses email a lot, set scheduled checking times for yourself. Every 1-2 hours perhaps, but be sure to make it brief, you don’t want to end up reading junk that could have been left till later.

2. Delegate tasks that don’t generate revenue

Tasks that don’t generate revenue could distract you entirely and slice up your day like a hot knife through butter. If you aren’t qualified or equipped to do your own book-keeping, copywriting, payroll or website maintenance, but are trying your hand at it in order to save money, I suggest you stop.

You have to realize that these tasks should be handled by professionals so that you can get back to what you do best…make more money. At first it might seem like a lot of money that you are pushing out towards the different people you are delegating these tasks to, but in the long run you will see it was all worth it.

3. Schedule social media updates

With applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Bufferapp and countless others, it’s becoming more and more essential to schedule your social media updates ahead of time. If there is one thing that takes a lot of time in a day, its updating social media pages and accounts. The constant changes and updates and waiting for minutes to pass can seriously waste a lot of valuable time that could be spent on something entirely different.

If you were to schedule your updates beforehand, not only will they have a regular posting schedule, but people will see a constant stream of high quality content coming from you without you actually sending it right at that moment.

So set aside 30 minutes in the morning and get your updates ready and scheduled and then you can check back on things just before you leave work. This will help you focus on work at hand and not social media updates during the day.

4. Create a custom sound profile for your Cellphone

This might sound far fetched, but you will be surprised to how much it helps you focus on work. With the phones that we have today everything is carried around in our pockets. Emails come through as texts and so does every other social media notification that we receive. There is nothing more annoying than my phone beeping three times or four times and me having to refrain from picking it up and checking what it is.

I found a simple solution for the problem though: Custom sound profiles. Basically what I do is every time I start working I switch my phone onto the work profile for the day. This basically cancels out all text, email or social media notification alerts received throughout the day. The only time the phone will make a sound and vibrate is if someone is calling, otherwise it’s dead quiet.

Once you get off work you can catch up with all the things you missed throughout the day. Remember that this isn’t a necessity to be more productive, but instead a tip for you to keep your phone out of your hands. Every person is different.

5. Split projects into smaller parts and set deadlines

This is more crucial than knowing how to change a flat tire. If you want to get your projects completed quicker and annihilate those client deadlines, you have to split your projects into smaller parts. This will give you the ability to tackle the project from different angles each day and save you boredom in certain fields.

6. Get up an hour earlier

Now this might be hard, but it’s definitely worth it. When was the last time that you could actually drink your coffee and read your newspaper in peace and quiet or get to work before anyone else and have a quiet office all to yourself?

Been a while hasn’t it? That is what I thought. Set a goal for yourself and try it out for the next week. Get up one hour earlier each day and see if it improves your work-flow, I’m sure you will notice a difference.

7. Use a timer for your tasks and then take a break

This might sound strange, but it’s highly effective in completing tasks. If you use a timer to complete your tasks you know that you have 1 hour to complete it and for the next hour you will be dead-set on finishing the task before you. Once the task is complete you can get up and take a 5-10 min break just to stretch a bit and maybe have some coffee or even a chat with some colleagues.

Using this unique approach to completing tasks might feel strange in the beginning, but you will notice that it has a diverse effect on how you complete your work.

Just start…tweak later

I read an interesting article today by Thom Chambers titled Get Started, then refine, refine, refine…In this article Thom talks about how you should “Start before you’re ready. Shouldn’t prepare. Begin… Because you can always tweak it later.”

So as you can see these 7 tips are really common-sense that can be applied to your daily work schedule to make you more productive. Obviously there are hundreds of other tips that could also be listed to make you more productive, but I settled for these 7 tips that have helped me in the past and aren’t seen around much on other people’s blogs.

If you have anything that really helps you in a day, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments, it’s always nice to see how other people approach similar situations.

Thanks for reading.

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