7 Ways to Optimize Your Time and Productivity

How many times have you come to the end of the day only to think to yourself ‘what on earth did I actually achieve?’ It happens to the best of us but the good news is that there are ways you can manage your time more effectively and increase your productivity levels, not only through the likes of effective time management training, but by implementing good habits.

Set Goals

It’s almost impossible to properly manage your time if you don’t have any goals in place.  Goals are what are going to keep you on course, they will help you plan and they will keep you motivated and focused on the end destination.  Your goals are what you should continue to come back to throughout the day to ensure that you’re still on the right track.


At the beginning of each day when you’re writing out your ‘to-do’ list, prioritize the tasks.   Steven Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People makes this task seem less daunting by breaking tasks into  Important and non-important and urgent and non-urgent.  According to his prioritizing quadrant, tasks should be prioritized in this order:

  1. Important and urgent – essential to the functioning of the business and urgent so not to encounter a potential crisis.
  2. Important but not urgent – essential to the functioning of the business but will not cause a potential crisis if not carried out straight away.
  3. Urgent but not important – These tasks threaten to cause a negative impact but may be outside your scope and it’s urgency determined by someone else.
  4. Not important and not urgent – not essential to the overall functioning of the neither business nor will there be any noticeable impact if they are not done.

Don’t multitask

A common factor in the mismanagement of time is that people often start a new task before they have completed the one beforehand. This not only has the potential to leave many tasks unfinished but in doing so, it makes it very hard to maintain focus. 

Take a break

This is a pretty obvious one, but something many people don’t do. If you’re working yourself to the bone, your focus will diminish and you’ll end up taking longer to finish a task. Take a break, refresh and refocus.

Start work closer to deadlines

Have you ever noticed how effective you are when you’re working really close to a deadline? Try setting shorter deadlines and you won’t have any other option than to be completely focused on the task.

Learn the art of delegation

When you’re prioritizing your to-do list, have a look at the tasks that are simply ‘noise’, something that someone else could do just as well and that isn’t critical for you to do yourself.  Although many people find delegating difficult, the benefits to your productivity and reaching deadlines are huge.

Take notes

Resist the distraction of ideas that pop into your head and keep focused on the task at hand by taking notes. It’s so easy to get sidetracked when an idea materializes, but taking notes means you can address them later. Remember, don’t multitask.

So if you’ve been wondering where on earth your time goes, try implementing these 7 tips and review your progress at the end of the week.  Not only will notice a healthier looking to do list, but it’s likely you’ll feel even more focused and motivated.  

Kathryn started PEPworldwide Ltd. in New Zealand in 1995, and soon established the business in Australia.  Since then the business has expanded into a global leader in workplace productivity and effectiveness training.  Kathryn is a dynamic and energetic speaker and coach. www.pepworldwide.co.nz

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