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How to optimise your time for maximum productivity

Content provided by a guest contributor.


With the pressure of an increasingly demanding lifestyle, finding a balance between work, personal life, and all other activities can be challenging. Sometimes we feel like the hours are not quite enough to complete the tasks we have in one day.

At the end of the month, or year, many people feel like they could have gotten more done. This can make you feel incomplete or that you have wasted some of your time. Others feel they are productive enough and therefore don’t explore new ways of maximising productivity to go even further in life.

Here are a few tips that may help you enhance your daily productivity:

Write to do lists

Experts say it is often helpful to put down everything you need to do on paper - if you don’t want to carry a diary around, these days you can use your mobile device or any other gadget that you are comfortable with. You can easily get overwhelmed, so planning your day or week ahead of time can help you stay in control of how you manage your time. This will also help you to say “yes” or “no” to certain meeting requests, as you have your little personal timetable, so none of your time is wasted. This also reduces stress because you can focus on one task at a time.

Get some exercise

Your energy levels may go down if you don’t get any effective form of exercise, and that may have a negative impact on your ability to work and to engage in other activities outside of work. It’s important that you give exercise as much priority as you give to your job. Exercising will improve your focus and concentration, which means you will complete tasks in less time and be able to get more things done. If you don’t have time for the gym, find an exercise you enjoy doing, you could even take an exercise break in the office and do something with your colleagues - read more on How to Stay Fit at Work.

Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but so many people don’t prioritise getting enough hours of sleep. Some of the key benefits of sleep are that it improves memory and lowers stress. Research shows that when you’re sleep deprived you are likely to place your attention on the wrong tasks and will go into the trap of working longer, but not as effectively.

Make time for yourself

According to a survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in the UK and other studies, the following may be signs that you have an unhealthy work-life balance.

●      Feeling unhappy about the time you devote to your work
●      Neglecting other aspects of your life because of work
●      Feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable when working long hours
●      Physical and mental health problems
●      Poor relationships and poor family life
●      Constantly feeling like you have too much to do 

If all your time is spent attending to the needs and requests of others, you won’t have much energy to focus on your own plans and goals. In finding better work-life balance it’s important that you set aside time for ‘recharging’ yourself, quiet time for brainstorming or just for thinking about what you’d like to achieve in the future. To give your work and the people you love your best, you must be taking good care of yourself.

There are many other habits you can practise to optimise your time and increase productivity, such as learning to say “no”; not being able to reject certain requests once in a while may kill your productivity. Gradually develop the above practices on a regular basis and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll become.

Written in collaboration with Hippo.co.za

Copyright (c) 2016, the credited author
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