Time waits for no man – or so the saying goes. And that means that it is a perennial barrier to all of the things that we want to get done during the working day.
While you can’t infinitely expand the amount of time that you have available on your regular workdays, there are a lot of things that you can do to get more done in a shorter period.
Avoid All Distractions
Social media sites and apps rely on our desire to check our phones every five minutes to see whether a friend has commented on our posts. While it might feel good in the short run to watch your “like” count going up minute by minute, it can hurt you in the long run.
The problem is simple: the more you check your phone throughout the day, the more you have to switch between activities and the less productive you are. Research shows that people who multitask get less done and make more mistakes. That’s not what you want if you want to cram more work into your day.
Stop Taking Lunch Breaks
For many employees, lunch breaks are a terrible idea. Let’s say that you get to work at 9 am and then work through until 1 pm. You then take a half-hour lunch break before heading back to your desk. Over the week, you could lose two and a half hours – time that you could spend making money or doing something else.
Some states allow you to sign a meal break waiver. This document will enable you to tell your employer that you don’t want a lunch break and that they should pay you for the full time that you’re at work.
Many gurus will tell you that taking regular short breaks is vital for maintaining productivity. But while there’s some truth to this, there’s also evidence that taking a full lunch break can harm your ability to get stuff done. Eating a big meal at lunchtime can put you in a post-prandial state where you feel tired and unable to focus effectively on your work. Thus, not only are you taking precious time out of your day, but you’re also hurting your productivity afterward.
Say “No” More Often
In today’s world of opportunities, saying “no” is more of a skill than ever before. The most productive people realize that it’s okay to say no to starting something new when they have not yet completed their current task. The best policy is to finish the work that you need to do first and then focus wholeheartedly on the next job.
Get More Sleep
We live in a chronically sleep-deprived country. The average person gets somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5 hours of sleep per night, which sleep scientists say isn’t enough.
Often you’ll hear people saying that they don’t have time to sleep, but this is a misappraisal. A lack of sleep can actually force you to take longer to do things, especially cognitive tasks, meaning you have less time overall.