A little bit of discipline can save you a lot of time. Here are 3 quick productivity tips to help you steward your time more wisely.
1. Set Deadlines for Yourself
When I was writing my book, I dragged my feet for 3 months writing very few words per day. Often going weeks without writing anything. But as the deadline approached, my output skyrocketed.
Because as Parkinson’s Law says, “work expands to fill the time allocated to it.”
Whether it’s perfectionism, laziness, or just procrastination, we are very good at stretching tasks out well beyond the time we actually need to complete them.
Setting a short deadline for yourself can turn what you thought was a 1-month project into a 1-week project.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Studies have shown that the average worker is distracted every 13 minutes. And to make matters worse, it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction.
Breaks for email, social media, and interruptions are often bigger time thieves than we realize. While you can’t eliminate all distractions, there are a few you can easily tame:
- Turn off phone notifications
- Close your email
- Declutter your workspace
If you want to gain more time, ruthlessly eliminate opportunities for distraction.
3. Batch Tasks
It takes time to get into “the zone” for focused work.
For example, when I’m recording a podcast, it takes me a while to get into “podcasting mode.” I have to get my head in the right place and make sure I’m injecting my voice with energy. I also have to set up my gear and get the recording software attuned just right. So it’s kind of a waste to go through all of that effort and record just one episode. By batch recording several episodes in a single sitting I save a ton of time and energy.
The same is true for many types of tasks.
- Batch your email checking and responding into 1 or 2 sessions per day.
- Batch meetings back-to-back
- Batch doing chores around the home
- Batch checking social media
This chart from Todoist illustrates the power of task batching well:
Stacking small changes like these will help you gain back precious minutes and hours. And they’ll also help make your work more fulfilling because you’ll have a true sense of progress.
But most importantly, saving time like this will give you the confidence that you’re stewarding God’s time well.