It’s Friday and we all want to get to the weekend without going crazy, so here are 5 ways to improve your productivity in 5 minutes. Because brunch is important too.
Use an app to track your to-do items
Everyone has a to-do list, but not everyone writes it out. I used to be a pen and paper sort of guy, but that just resulted in a huge stack of post-it notes with no idea where anything ended up. Start using one of the many great to-do list apps out there like Wunderlist or Any.do, and get yourself organized. Set priorities, share tasks with other people, and set reminders so that you really do remember to order more kraft paper envelopes for your client welcome packets.
Install a text expander application
We all spend a large portion of our day emailing, and we usually spend way more time composing an email than we think we do. One rule I set for myself last year was to spend no more than two minutes on composing any email, and it help cut down my time spent on this every day task immensely.
The easiest way to save yourself time when emailing? Install a text expander app like TextExpander and throw your common email responses into it. With a few keystrokes, you can type out a full email and then change a few things manually to get a personalized response, then it’s on to the next one.
Use a Pomodoro timer
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of managing time to give yourself more mental agility, and the basic idea is to break up your workday into 25 minute intervals with short breaks of 5 minutes. For 25 minutes you work your butt off, then take 5 minutes off. There are quite a few apps out there to run a Pomodoro timer, from browser extensions such as Chrome’s Simple Pomodoro to stand-alone apps like Pomodoro Timer.
Segmenting your non-business activities like checking Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and other distractions into a dedicated 5 minute interval does an amazing job of keeping you on task for the other 25 minutes. And if you’re like me, those 5 “reward” minutes help keep me focused during the 25 work minutes in anticipation of the next break. I also find myself being more deliberate with my non-work time, spending less time dawdling on Facebook and more time checking in on groups I care about.
Sign up for Trello
Trello is an amazing, free, web-based app that helps you organize any information in a whiteboard/list layout. Its power lies in its simplicity – with a few key functionalities and components, it can be configured to organize ANYTHING. Checklists and other action items go into cards, cards go into lists, and lists go into boards. Before I had studio management software, I was using Trello to manage everything from my client interactions to tracking post production workflow.
Sign up for Unroll.me
Coming back to emails, digging through the fodder can waste a LOT of time. So sign up for Unroll.me, a service that “rolls up” your emails that you don’t want to see in your inbox. Your cleaner inbox will thank you, and you’ll only have to check your once-a-day email to see if you missed anything important. I put all my subscription emails in my roll-up, so if something hits my inbox it’s a personal email that someone actually wrote, like a client inquiry or business contact.
Use one or all of these tips to reclaim some time for more important things, like booking more clients or just having more time to play with your kids.
Have your own productivity tip? Let us know in the comments how you save time during your day!