We’ve gathered the best tips, tricks, and insights from the experts for this comprehensive productivity guide to optimizing your task list and life. Here’s Part 1 of 3 (be on the lookout for the next two parts to be posted over the coming weeks. We’ll come back and link them here as well for your reference).
Go forth and get things done!
PART I: A Daily Guide For Your Task List
Use this guide as a Morning – Afternoon – Evening ritual. Different tricks work ideally for different times of day based on your cognitive awareness, the demands of a typical 9 to 5 job and many of the other factors that affect our productivity throughout the course of a day.
Start a morning routine – A consistent morning routine will kick your mind into gear for productivity. Be sure to include exercise, water, and a task list review (like Any.do Moment) for focus throughout the day.
And in case you need further encouragement, here are some surprising stats to get you going.
- People experience a 23% increase in productivity on days with exercise
- We lose an average 28 oz. of water during sleep that leave you foggy headed if not replenished
- Any.do Moment users enjoy a 20% increase in productivity
Group similar tasks together – It’s easy to underestimate the time lost when we switch gears. Schedule back to back meetings, handle all your afternoon emails in one go, and set aside a block of time in your task list for phone calls.
Any.do User Tip: @AlexisTheory: Keep a folder of low priority tasks you want to do. Use these as prizes for when you get through a really hard task.
Five things that matter – Aim to complete 3 to 5 major items on your task list every day. If it’s on your task list, it should be something that has to be done by you, today. (The most productive Any.do users focus on an average of 5 tasks/ day.)
Seize the small bits – Those small chunks of time between meetings can add up to a lot. Keep track of simple items in your task list you can finish in 10 or 15 minutes, and put those scraps of time to use.
Forget multitasking – Multitasking is a myth. Instead try stacking a mental activity on top of a passive one, like eating lunch while reading the paper.
What happens when you multitask, you ask?
- 50% Increase in error rate when multitasking
- 2x More time spent on work when multitasking
Avoid the 3pm slump – Eat a 200 to 300 calorie snack balanced in protein and carbs to keep your energy and blood sugar steady. Try a piece of fruit and 2 tbsp of peanut butter, or six ounces of greek yogurt with fruit.
Deal with it once – Dealing with the scheduling conflict or expense report the first time frees your mind for more important work. Try not to deal with it halfway, only to return to it multiple times on your task list.
Don’t know how to take care of it now? Put it on your Any.do “Upcoming” list.
Save creative thinking for the end of the day – Your brain is more tired, but also better at ignoring distractions and rules, so ‘out of the box’ creativity tends to flow more freely.
Any.do User Tip: @joseph_fiss: Unless it has to be done at a certain time, do the most challenging thing on your list first thing in the morning.
Be bold and delete – Pay attention to the to do’s on your task list you keep rescheduling – do they really need to be on your list? Unnecessary items are an emotional drain, making you feel guilty and unproductive.
Use the ‘Snooze’ or ‘Delete’ button in Any.do Moment to help you prioritize tasks quickly.
Sleep more for better control of emotions – We all know it’s important, but don’t underestimate the power of sleep. A good night’s rest can make you more resistant to negative emotions during the day.
- Limit screen time before bed
- Keep regular sleep and wake times
- Raise your body temp with tea or a bath to get into sleep mode
Any.do User Tip: @Jessica_Bussard: TMW falling asleep you remember you forgot to (fill in the blank), plug it into Any.do and go right to sleep.
Review the day – Spend 5 minutes reviewing what you did on your task list, what you could have done better, and how you felt overall. You won’t feel like the day slipped by, and you’ll begin to see opportunities for increased productivity.
Say tuned for Parts II and III where we talk overcoming barriers and mastering the true art of productivity.
Sources: Entrepreneur, Active.com, Livestrong, The Muse, Fast Company, Fast Company (2), Buffer Blog, Buffer Blog (2), Lifehacker, US News, Economic Times