We all want to make the most of our time at the office to get things done better and faster than we're currently able to. Your average work day should be a showcase of office efficiency and these 13 tips and life hacks will help you achieve this goal.
Aim to get 80-90% of your work done before lunch and use our sweet life hacks to complete this objective.
1. Complete your most important tasks first.
Generally speaking, the projects at work that are most demanding tend to also be the tasks that are most important and the hardest work you'll do. Place them first on your to do list and get them out of the way in the morning when you first arrive at the office, if possible.
The Pareto Principle, which is also know as the 80/20 Rule, states that 20% of your efforts will produce 80% of your results. Those 20 percent is what you want to focus on in the beginning of the day. This frees up the rest of your work day for easier tasks and sort of already begins to refresh you before going home.
(Side note: This is how I'm typing right now.)
2. Pro Tip: Put push notification ads on your list of most important tasks.
Another great example of the 80/20 Rule is our push traffic for media buyers and website owners. If you devote 20% of your time to putting our push notification ads on your websites and landing pages, this can easily become 80% of your long-term income.
Advertisers love buying this kind of traffic because it's opt-in and very non-intrusive, but the advertisements are delivered directly to the end user, so they're willing to pay a lot for it. Currently in top countries like the USA, Italy, Germany and Russia we're selling this traffic at average CPC bids of $0.06 (so $60 per 1k clicks on average).
3. Wake up before vampires go to bed.
In a recent motivational speech, Arnold Schwarzenegger (whether you like him or not, we can all agree he is very successful) said you should sleep 5-6 hours per night. If you need 8 hours, he said you should learn to sleep faster. While that may not be the healthiest advice, a good take-away there may be to get to bed earlier and get the amount of sleep you need. Time it so you can still get up very early.
With this in mind, being better and more efficient generally means you need to get your media buying or webmastering butt out of bed early. Most people aren't up at 5 or 5:30am; so if you are one of the few that are up that early, it means you can take advantage of an extra hour in the morning before co-workers and other people begin imposing on your time.
4. Exercise in the morning.
Getting some exercise in the morning will lead to better productivity, which is what we're after here... so hop to it! Whether it's 30 minutes of yoga, lifting weights or jogging is up to you. But it should get your heart rate up and trigger that much needed release of endorphins in the morning.
5. Keep a clean desk.
This is a nice task to have planned for the end of your work day. Give yourself 10 minutes to make sure your desk is clutter-free, before you leave the office. Trash what's unimportant or a distraction, and file away things you'll need again. The next morning, you'll have a clean desk instead of a cluttered mess, so there'll be nothing to stop you from getting your most important tasks of the day done in a timely manner.
6. Maintain an empty inbox.
When you read an e-mail, make a decision right then about it.
- Can you take care of what's needed immediately? If so, do it.
- Do you need to store it for later use? Put it in the appropriate folder.
- Should someone else take care of it? Forward the e-mail and get it out of your inbox.
This will allow you to keep a clear inbox without clutter or distractions. Your organizational system should operate like this in all matters you have control over.
7. Take frequent breaks.
There is expert advice that you should take 10 minutes to rest for every 50 minutes of work completed. While this isn't always realistic, you should try to stick to this guideline as much as possible. It will make your next 50 minutes of work that much better, and you will overall complete tasks faster.
8. Make work-flow decisions quickly.
I'm not talking about huge impact decisions that require a lot of in-depth research to get right, but moreso small decisions you have to make as you're completing daily tasks. Don't spend more than a minute on the average decision. A decision that takes you longer than 60 seconds to arrive at won't be any better than the one-minute decision you'll make, so set yourself a time limit for the sake of efficiency.
9. Wear headphones to eliminate distractions.
Specifically when you're working on important tasks, where you need to be "in the zone", it's quite detrimental to get distracted and taken out of your work flow. In a busy office, a pair of headphones to listen to music that gets you focused can be an efficiency tool in itself. Try it out yourself!
10. Don't get scatterbrained. Focus on one task at a time.
Multitasking can be so tempting sometimes, but it's much more efficient to devote all your focus to one task, get it done (ideally) and then move on to the next one. When you're in the flow with a task, it's easier to complete it more quickly. Factoring in the 10-20 minutes it takes to get into a good work flow on a task, it's important not to jump back and forth between things, whenever it's possible to avoid this.
11. Buy one, throw one in the trash.
If you buy an item, let's say a pair of jeans, you should get rid of a pair you already own. Do a good deed and donate it, plus maintain a clutter-free life. If you're already drowning in a cluttered mess now, you should go a step further and adopt a "buy one, throw two in the trash" mentality. At least until the disorder has been removed from your life. This is a very important life hack to take seriously, if your goal is to be more efficient and speedy.
12. Learn to say no.
It will be hard at first, if you're not used to telling people no, but sometimes the best way to complete the important tasks you have is to not take on less important ones. If you're asked to do something and you don't think you can give it 100% effort or (at minimum) meet the expectations of the other person, it's likely a good idea to say no and remain focused on your most important projects that you can finish 100 percent, while meeting or exceeding expectations on them. This is more efficient as a long-term work strategy and it will save you a lot of work life headaches.
13. In the evening, make a to do list for the next day.
I'm not talking about large projects here that you cannot complete in a day. Think of the daily to do list as more of a collection of sub-tasks you need to complete. Micro-tasking can help you arrive at a big goal much more efficiently.
If you have to schedule a haircut appointment or do laundry the next day, those are items for your daily to do list. Just like work-related things like checking e-mails or preparing a specific part of a project.