Time management and productivity really do go hand-in-hand. And it’s because I have systems in place that I’m able to be more productive. Granted, sometimes things still get away from me but I’m improving. And that’s always important. Another key? Finding the small wins. Sure, every day may not have a BIG success and that’s okay. As long as I can still glean something positive, it’s a win. For example, creating and sticking to a new time block based work schedule? Huge win. But, I also had to grant myself the grace to adjust the schedule.
How to Increase Productivity as an Autistic Woman without the Burnout
Many people want to increase their productivity, whether they are an employee, an employer, an entrepreneur, or even a homemaker. No matter what industry you are in or even if it’s outside of a work environment, people want to be more productive in their lives.
For one thing, lifetimes are limited; no one lives forever.
For another thing, if they are more productive, they will get noticed by their peers and by their superiors, which can lead to greater opportunities, profits, and success. The challenge with increasing productivity is to not get burned out in the process; learn how to not get burned out increasing your productivity below.
When many people think about increasing their productivity, they think that they have to “pull all-nighters” and work non-stop in order to get more done. While you can do that, chances are that you are going to get burned out pretty quickly by taking that approach, which can decrease your productivity and even your motivation over time.
Fortunately, you can increase your productivity without having to work non-stop or “pulling all-nighters.”
One way is to remain focused on the work you are currently doing. Too often, many of us will let our minds wander as we are working on something, often losing our train of thought. Then, we have to double-check our work to ensure we didn’t make a mistake while our mind was wandering. By staying focused throughout a task, you are likelier to finish the work quicker and do it a high level of quality.
A second way to increase your productivity is to get more rest. Your mind is more able to focus on work and complete complex tasks by getting enough rest at night. You’ll also remain calmer when challenges arise. People will notice that you get things done faster and that challenges don’t perplex or rattle you, which can lead to greater opportunities for you.
A third way to increase your productivity is by tracking how much you are doing each day. Set up a plan for each day on what you want to get done, then see how much of it you actually accomplish at the end of each day. See where you did well and where you fell short, then determine why you fell short. Make adjustments and changes to your work routine based on the reasons why you fell short of your work goals, then reassess yourself the following day.
By doing this regularly, you’ll become more aware of how productive you are each day and want to keep striving to get more done each day.
How to Refine Your Time Management Plan for Productivity
In order to improve productivity, you need to know when you are being most productive and when you are being less productive. Therefore, it makes sense to set up a plan that outlines what tasks and goals you want to achieve for the day. Outline your day much like a teacher outlines a lesson plan for his/her students. Plot out time periods of when you will be doing one task versus another task. Then, monitor your progress.
At the end of the day, review what tasks you completed for the day and what tasks you didn’t. Also determine how long it took you to complete the tasks you completed. See if you completed the tasks on time, faster than you expected, or slower than you expected.
Determine why you didn’t complete those tasks as quickly as you expected. Was it a lack of focus and being distracted? Was it some distraction that you didn’t expect or you didn’t account for, etc.? Determine whether you could have avoided or prevented the distraction, then take steps to ensure that distraction doesn’t keep you from achieving the tasks and goals you set out to achieve again.
For the tasks that you didn’t complete, again, determine why you didn’t complete them.
Was it due to the fact that other tasks took longer than expected, and if so, why? Were you worried about these future tasks and the challenges they posed, which led to you slowing down your work on your earlier tasks because you lost focus? Evaluate what tasks you didn’t complete and/or get to and make adjustments to your work schedule to ensure you can get the tasks you want to complete in one day completed in one day.
By setting up a daily plan and analyzing it at the end of each day, you can see where you are being most productive and where you are falling short. You can also determine why you are falling short and take steps to improve your productivity. By doing this regularly, you will become more productive, profitable, and successful in your life.
How Time Tracking Can Help with Your Productivity
In order to increase your productivity, you need to know when you are meeting or exceeding your expectations of completing tasks and goals and when you are missing them. You can’t increase your productivity if you don’t know when you are falling short. Therefore, it’s important to keep track of how much time you are using to complete each task and learning why you are taking longer on specific tasks.
Learn more on how to use time tracking to boost your productivity below.
When wanting to boost your productivity, you have to know how well you are currently performing before steps can be taken to improve. It’s much like an athlete wanting to get a better time at running, getting more base hits, hitting more shots, and/or catching more passes- you have to know how you’re doing now to know where and how you can improve.
Therefore, you need to set up a daily plan of what tasks and goals you want to achieve, then monitor how long it takes you to complete each task, as well as long how it takes you to reach each goal. Write down how much time it takes to complete the task, then compare it to how long you thought it would take (you can write this number down before you begin).
If/When you take longer to complete a task than you thought it would, review how you went about completing the task. Did your mind lose focus while you were doing the task? Were you distracted, and if so, was it by something you could have expected and prevented (email/social media/smartphone) or by something that was unexpected (an emergency, etc.)? Were you worried about a future task you haven’t gotten to yet?
Carefully analyze the tasks it took you longer to achieve and how much more time than you expected for you to complete those tasks. Add up how much extra time it took you to complete those tasks. Realize that you lost all of this time where you could have been more productive.
Now, you need to take steps to rectify the causes of why it took you longer to complete those tasks. If it’s distractions, do everything possible to eliminate or reduce them. If it’s because of worry, try to calm yourself down and boost up your self-esteem. If it’s because of a lack of focus, consider taking more breaks and/or getting more sleep.
Time management can help you to boost your productivity because it aids you in knowing where you are falling short in terms of productivity and how to rectify it. Only by knowing where and how you are falling short in terms of productivity will enable you to rectify the issues and increase your productivity.
Bonus Tip: How to Use the Pomodoro Technique to Increase Productivity
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The process involves deciding on the task that is to be done, using a timer to set a short work time period (usually 25-30 minutes in length), then working on the task until the timer or bell rings.
After you complete one interval, you get a short break of about 3-5 minutes in length, known as a “pomodoro.” You then put a checkmark on a piece of paper to indicate that you have reached the pomodoro or break. You then start again on the same or next task after the break is up, then repeat the process until you have four checkmarks on your paper (i.e. after you have worked four work periods of 25-30 minutes and have taken three 3-5 minute breaks).
When you have put down four checkmarks on your paper and have reached your fourth pomodoro (i.e. your fourth break), you will take a longer break that consists of 15-30 minutes. Once you return from that break, you will begin the entire cycle again where you work 25-30 minutes, reach the pomodoro of 3-5 minutes, placing a checkmark, then repeating the process again until you reach four checkmarks, then taking the longer 15- to 30-minute break.
By using the Pomodoro Technique, you can increase your productivity because you are working in short bursts, as most experts recommend you do. In addition, because the timer is there, you need to remain focused on your tasks to ensure you get work done before the bell or timer goes off. You then take a short 3-5 minute break to recharge, come back to begin work again, then repeat the process until you reach the fourth pomodoro/break. When you do, you’ve put in between 100-120 minutes of work, which enables you to take a longer 15- to 30-minute break.
By giving you a “reward” of sorts when you have completed work, you’ll be more focused on the tasks you need to complete and be able to keep up your motivation because you won’t be working non-stop throughout your tasks.
I have a variation that works in my block schedule of 25 minutes focused work with a 5 minute break in between.
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