Productivity is a key to success — and it’s all too easy to lose peak productivity without realizing it. Before you know it, you’ve spent time on tasks that are important, but don’t seem to have moved the needle toward meeting your most important business strategy tasks.
You’re not alone if that’s happening at work. According to Entrepreneur, productivity on average only takes place in less than 3 hours of an 8-hour day.
So how do you keep yourself at peak productivity? Fortunately, there are several best practices that keep you from losing maximum productivity and harness your energy to keep productivity at a high level.
- Keep a To-Do List
Most people in positions of business leadership do this, and it seems like a very obvious strategy. The thing is, though, that without a consistent to-do list, it can be tough to execute priorities and separate them from the “important to do but not a priority right now” tasks.
Not only that, but to-do lists are a good way to build time-based goals for longer periods of time — a week, a month, a quarter, and a year. You can use them to estimate how much time it takes to complete certain tasks, for example, thus to adjust the time at which you can meet long-term goals.
Prioritize the most essential tasks first.
2. Prioritize on the ABCDE Method
Once you have a to-do list, prioritize it on the ABCDE method. This method was first published in Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog.
An “A” priority is top priority. If it’s not done, negative consequences will occur.
A “B” priority is important. Lack of completion will have negative consequences as well, but less negative than undone A priorities.
A “C” priority is something it would be good to do. But no negative consequences will happen if it’s not done.
“D” and “E” priorities are actually tasks you don’t do. D, in this case, stands for delegate. They can be assigned to someone else. E means eliminate. If there are no negative consequences associated with a task and it doesn’t further any goal, get rid of it.
3. Don’t Multitask
Multitasking was at one point all the rage in business advice. But that moment is past. Studies have shown that people are actually much more productive if they focus on one task at a time.
Don’t think you can check e-mail or social media and do another important task at the same time. Set aside a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening to touch base with your e-mail and social media. Otherwise, it can be a distraction and time-suck.
4. Use the Two-Minute Rule
Ok, but following the advice above, how do you ever get to nonessentials that have to be done, like filling out this year’s personnel forms or opening mail?
Follow the two-minute rule. If you have a task that can actually be done in two minutes or less, do it. One two-minute task per day ought to keep your desk clear and your focus on the more essential parts of your day.