6 Ways to Increase Productivity and Do More in Less Time

How many tasks do you have to do today? How long will it take you to complete them all? Completing your to-do list might seem like an impossible task, but if you try these six tips, your productivity level will skyrocket.

Here are some things to try if you’re trying to get more done in less time.

1. Set Timers for Different Tasks

Don’t underestimate the power of a timer. By setting timers throughout your day, you can divide your time into more manageable chunks, while also applying a bit of gentle pressure to keep you moving. Splitting your to-do list with the help of timers will also help you break down your workload, which should reduce how stressed you feel.

While you’re free to just use the timer on your phone, it can be helpful to explore time tracking extensions for Google Chrome and other browsers, which can ultimately help you to analyze how you break down your time throughout the day.

2. Do One Thing at a Time

If you have a towering to-do list, then it can be tempting to try and tick off as much as you can in one go, but this will often lead to sloppy work and unwanted stress—instead, practice solo-tasking.

Solo-tasking is essentially just the opposite of multitasking, and it means that you focus all of your attention on one task at a time. This approach can be difficult to stick to at first, but it’s definitely worth the effort as it will help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.

If you find yourself accidentally opening your social media, or getting distracted by pop-ups and ads, then you may want to try Focus Assist on Windows 11, or if you use a Mac, then you can set up Focus modes to minimize distractions. There’s even the option to set up Focus modes on your iPad.

3. Color Code by Priority

Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of color coding? If you often find yourself leaving high-priority tasks to the last minute, then simply color-coding them can help to bring them to the forefront of your mind by highlighting their importance amongst your other tasks.

Project management tools such as Asana make it easy to color coordinate your tasks, and you can even assign priority tags to your tasks in your iPhone Reminder’s app too. Start by picking three colors. Assign one to low-priority tasks, one to mid-priority tasks, and one to your high-priority tasks to help you see at a glance what needs to be ticked off first and which tasks could move over to the next day’s to-do list.

4. Batch Tasks Together

If you like to work “in the zone”, then you will want to learn about time batching. As a general rule, when time batching, you’ll group your tasks together as either shallow work tasks or deep work tasks.

Tasks in the shallow-work group require minimal attention and focus and would include things such as administrative tasks. Meanwhile, tasks grouped under deep work require maximum focus and mental energy and will be the tasks you want to get in the zone with.

By batching your tasks together at the start of your day, you can use that sweet flow-state when you start deep work, leaving shallow work tasks to the end of the day or your lunch break when you tend to struggle more with your attention.

5. Use the Five-Minute Rule

If you’re procrastinating rather than getting your work done, then the five-minute rule will stop you from procrastinating and will help you get things done. The five-minute rule is a cognitive-behavioral technique that tricks the brain into starting something it’s trying to avoid. Commit just five minutes to your task, knowing that when the five minutes are up, you’re free to stop if you want to.

The chances are, once you start, you’ll have overcome the most challenging hurdle, and you’ll be able to complete the rest of your task more easily. For the five-minute rule to work, you must give those first five minutes your undivided attention.

6. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Lastly, an easy way to get more done in less time is to ensure you’re working smart. Working smart will look different depending on the task you’re doing, but here are some things to think about.

Investing time into working smart will save you time in the long run. So sit down and think about which tasks take up the most of your time, and then research ways to automate them or simplify them.

Using These Productivity Tricks Together

You don’t have to use all of these productivity tricks at the same time; in fact, it’s often better to start with one or two and then gradually add more in as you get used to each one.

Eventually, you’ll be color-coding and time-batching your to-do list while setting your timer for the five-minute rule and zoning in for deep work on one task at a time.

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