March 10, 2020

Three science-backed methods to help you maximize productivity

Do you ever wonder where your day went? We are all drowning in to-do’s, and don’t worry, this post isn’t going to tell you to let it all go. For those of you who would like to know how to actually get things done, as efficiently as possible, here are some science-backed methods to help you maximize your productivity:⁠

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⁠1. Write it down. We have limited mental energy each day. Don’t waste it by holding onto unnecessary information. Write down every single thing you need to do.⁠

2. Schedule everything. One mistake people make when attempting to manage their time is creating a to-do list that is full of end-goals instead of the tasks that are needed to get there. This can cause them to feel paralyzed, and more often leads to procrastination. For example, listing something like “turn in report” is a goal, not a task. More likely, the report will involve a number of smaller tasks, including pulling documents, reading records, creating an outline, sending an email or two, making a phone call to request additional information, and eventually writing. Next, assign a realistic block of time for each task, and add them all to your calendar. Keep to the schedule as if they’re all appointments. ⁠

3. Turn off alerts. Research has shown that it can take 11-16 minutes to return to your previous level of productivity after diverting your attention to respond to an email or text message alert. Only check email when you have enough time to respond to any possible message. Otherwise, you end up sapping more of that valuable cognitive energy just by knowing there’s an email there that you can’t attend to. If you have a job that requires regular responsiveness, schedule hour-long periods that are alert-free between every email and phone break. ⁠

Are you using any of these methods?

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