5 tricks to getting more done with your day

Do you sometimes look back at the end of the day, wondering where it has gone and whether you could have accomplished more? Does that make you feel that somehow you managed to spend your day wading through emails and urgent requests for help instead of completing that report you’ve been trying to finish all week?

You vow to have better time-management skills going forward and learn to say “no” more! Time is finite, and once it ticks away, it’s gone for good. You can’t save some of today’s time for use tomorrow.

So, while you can’t miraculously pause time, you can manage your own time, and make the most of the working day. Here are some self-management tips that will help you be more productive and use your time wisely.

1. Setting goals for your time

Stay focused by starting each workday with a review of your goals. Develop a prioritised daily to-do list to keep you on track, and manage how you spend your time.

A clearly defined plan of action that identifies the tasks required to reach a specific goal, along with setting the milestones you need to reach along the way. This will give you targets to aim for, and an internal high-five (which is a natural serotonin boost) for achieving each one.

2. Making your daily tasks achievable

Be realistic about how much time it takes to complete a task. Time management can feel like a tug of war, and you are pulled in every direction by people wanting to get something done.

It’s important to prioritise your tasks effectively, get logical on why you should be doing one job ahead of another.

Delegating is often the only way to get everything done on time, so make sure you focus on the bits you can complete, as for help with anything else.

A great tip from our productivity queen Mel is to try to touch something only once. If she opens an email,  she’ll respond to it straight away instead of waiting until later and potentially forgetting about it.

3. Teamwork and saying ‘no!’

Always feeling like you are being asked to help out on other people’s projects?

One of the best rules is just to say “no”. We don’t mean say no to everything, but learning to set good boundaries and saying “no” when it’s appropriate can help free up your day! (however, always avoid alienating your boss!).

Set deadlines and stick to them.

4. Meetings are (often) essential – but make sure they’re necessary and keep to time.

It goes without saying that you should always be on time for appointments! Beginning and ending meetings on time (you have determined that a meeting is essential before scheduling it, right?) is vital to ensure the rest of your day can stay as productive as possible.

While in meetings, have a recorder or notepad with you to capture action items for your to-do list and agree who is doing what, and when it will be completed.

5. Your health and well-being while at work is crucial

Finally, and most importantly taking care of yourself on a day-to-day basis is vital – regular breaks to recharge yourself when needed are essential. You can keep your energy levels high by eating healthy snacks, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.