When you’re limited by the number of hours in your workday, it can feel impossible to complete all your projects by their deadlines. Add in fewer resources, an increased workload and a downsized workforce, and the idea of adhering to a productivity schedule becomes an insurmountable task. Ultra-productive people rely on productivity hacks to complete goals without putting in extra hours.
Ultra-productive people know when to say "no." If you know you already have enough on your plate, taking on a new project limits the amount of time you have to spend on existing goals. Don't be afraid to turn down new commitments to avoid additional stress and project burnout. If it's possible, delegate work to subordinates so you can focus your attention on the most pressing issues and high-priority deadlines.
Never put anything on hold that you can do immediately; complete small tasks as soon as they arise. If you receive a phone call or an email, decide whether you should take action on it, delegate it to a subordinate or delete it. Do this right away so you don't have to waste time revisiting the issue in the future.
Ultra-productive people set goals for themselves. Make a list of immediate goals, weekly goals and monthly goals, and review them often to update your progress. At the start of each day, schedule blocks of time to work on your goals and daily tasks so they don't get overlooked. Do the least enjoyable work first to get it out of the way, and save your more exciting projects for later in the day.
Meetings that lead nowhere can be a huge waste of time, so ultra-productive people keep them on task. Create an agenda, and share it with all attendees prior to the meeting. Redirect discussions that veer too far from the agenda, and don't be afraid to end the meeting early if nothing is being accomplished or participants are unprepared.
Another time-waster is email. Avoid checking your email constantly, as this interrupts your focus. Schedule time throughout the day to check your email; respond to the most urgent messages, and prioritize the remaining ones for action at a later time.
Ultra-productive people aren't afraid to step out of the office, close their door or turn off their phone. Go off the grid, and focus 100 percent of your attention on pressing deadlines. Designate a trusted subordinate to be your contact and filter your messages, and give him a number to call in case emergencies arise.
Ultra-productive people must adhere to the same deadlines, complete the same tasks, and rely on the same workers and resources as their office counterparts. However, they do it with ease thanks to a few productivity hacks that let them work smarter, not harder.
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