Today’s post is written by Aksel Yap, 32, an analyst managing a team specialising in software automation and trading applications He needs to be super efficient with his time – to meet the demands of his clients.
And today, he is the guest blogger on Prischew.com.
In this post, Yap shares with us, some tips on how to be more productive at work.
He has researched some of the most productive people in the world like: Mark Zuckerberg(Facebook), Jeff Bezos(Amazon) and Elon Musk (Tesla). And Yap realized that they have a system to approach tasks, which they know works.
Without further ado here are six suggestions from Yap, on how to double your effectiveness at work.
1. Test your body clock
Everyone’s body has natural rhythms. Given an eight-hour work day, you will have cycles where you’re alert and periods where you’re lethargic. If you’re doing a demanding piece of work, and you feel like an extra on The Walking Dead, it’s okay to put it down and do something else less draining. Make a note of when you’re feeling productive and mark these blocks on a weekly calendar. Over time, you’ll get a sense of when you’re most productive. I call this the “Calendar of Productivity”.
2. Prioritize your priorities
Tim Ferris, author of “4-Hour Workweek” explains his favourite productivity hack. He starts his day by writing down three to five things that is giving him the most stress. He goes through each point and asks: “Would this be a good day if I accomplish one of these tasks?”. He then puts a “Yes” next to them. From this list, he picks just ONE thing a day and sets aside two to three hours to do it. We often over-schedule our day and end up doing nothing at all. Having just one priority focuses our energies.
3. Batch your tasks
Multi-tasking is a productivity killer. We lose our train of thought when we juggle multiple tasks. Instead, we should do similar tasks together. Your brain needs time to warm-up on a problem. When you batch tasks, make sure your environment is conducive. This means: no responding to text messages, e-mails or other distractions. I like to set up a meeting with myself and “hide” for periods when I need focus. I KNOW it’s weird! But it works!
4. Get your e-mail inbox to zero
Inbox Zero is an approach to e-mail, by productivity expert Merlin Mann. It’s practised by many of the top CEOs. Mann says Zero is not about the number of messages, but “the amount of time someone’s brain is in his inbox.” There are five possible responses to each e-mail: delete, delegate, respond, defer and do. If you get physical mail, do you open it up, put it down, come back to it later and pick it up again? It’s ridiculous! Yet, we do that with e-mail. Run through an e-mail once with Mann’s five responses and consider it done. Do not come back to it again.
5. Turn your down time to up time
Stanford launched a study recently that found creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting. But I don’t think they meant the “Asian Shuffle”. You know, the one where we have our heads down, our eyes glued to the phone screen, and our ears plugged while shuffling to work. (Can someone do a scientific study of that please?)
When I walk, I let my mind wander. I think about a priority on my list once and then stop thinking about it. You’ll be surprised at what your brain comes up with out of the blue. I use Evernote to write down all my interesting thoughts. This turns my sluggish time to productive time.
6. Create a routine and then break it
Use your Calendar of Productivity to establish your routine. If you always do certain tasks on certain days, you will become more efficient. But you should experiment with new approaches to become even more productive. Could you improve your productivity: if you learn a new skill? Or use a new app? It could be as simple as using automated rules in your e-mail, or trying out Evernote like I mentioned.
I commit to a new technique or tool for two weeks to test if it can improve my productivity. Our brains are like muscles. Runners experiment with new exercises to improve their times once they hit a plateau. Likewise, if you find yourself becoming too comfortable with a task, it’s time to shake things up!
Aksel has a blog about psychology and productive habits – if you are interested to get more information on this topic.