6 productivity tips to help nail your to-do list

Published: December 11, 2016
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We spend a significant chunk of our day doing mundane tasks such as eating, driving to work, etc. On top of that, we dwell on minor ones that shouldn’t take up our time, such as answering a random phone call or checking Facebook thrice an hour. That wastes a lot of time, especially when we have a pretty long to-do list, waiting to be completed.

Productivity expert Nicole Bandes has put her phone on an automatic answering machine which prompts the caller to press one to reach her or hang up. Compiled from The Huffington Post, here are some of Bandes’ top tips to maximise every minute of your life, from the workplace to your home.

1. Replace multi-tasking with multi-purposing

Multitasking can surely backfire by slowing down the brain. We are meant to focus on one activity at a time and flooding the brain with more information affects its performance. Bandes suggests to focus on multi-purposing your time instead.

For example, to spend more time with your children, instead of allotting 45 minutes after dinner and before bed to play with them, have them cook dinner for you. Cooking may take a little longer but accomplishes a larger task, builds memories and of course, fulfills your goal of eating.

2.Set a timer

Procrastination is the enemy of a productive life. But some research suggests that applying playful rules into activity can be a huge motivator to power through an arduous task. So set a timer for, let’s say, 15 minutes and attack your task with full force in a race against time.

3. Turn off push notifications

It’s easy to fall victim to distraction. When your already-short attention span juggles between chats, texts and Facebook messages, there is not enough time to focus on the task at hand. Bandes urges disabling digital distractions in order to cultivate a narrow focus. “We’re afraid we’re going to miss something or we’re expecting a certain email to come in — that’s where that pull comes from,” she said.

4. Delegate as much as possible

Bandes suggest taking advantage of apps and startups to make your life more convenient. Run a Google search to look for apps available in your area and get going.

5. Practise self-care

“The more you take care of yourself, the more productive you become,” Bandes said. Eating poorly can reduce your attention span, while other studies show poor sleep can damage employee productivity.

6. Let go of perfection

Perfectionism is destructive. The tendency to feel like we have to do everything is often a pressure which stems from perfectionism.  “We want to be perfect. The perfect mom, the perfect spouse, everything, all wrapped up into one person and none of us are any of that,” she said, adding that the pressure to do so can take up hours out of the day. Letting go frees up time and reduces anxiety and guilt, which drains energy.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2016.

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