It happens all too often.
You look at the clock and discover it’s almost time to call it quits, but you still have so much to get done. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Now you can accomplish more and still punch that clock right on time.
These 7 productivity hacks are designed to keep you on top of your work while ensuring you leave the office by 6 pm on the dot.
1. Ditch the Massive To-Do List
Let’s face it. You have a lot to get done.
That piece of paper with your braindump all over it is sitting off to the side — mocking you. You know it’s there, but thinking about it automatically takes away every ounce of your energy.
Long lists of countless tasks can be overwhelming and even intimidating. There’s so much to do that at day’s end you don’t feel like you got anything done.
It’s time to put that endless to-do list in a drawer and lock it away.
Prioritize your top three tasks for the day. Pick the three most important things you need to get done right now.
A shorter list of tasks will help you focus on one thing at a time rather than looking at the big picture.
When you don’t feel so weighed down by a hundred tiny little things, it’s much easier to navigate your day efficiently.
2. Set Aside Specific Times to Answer Emails
That inbox isn’t going to empty itself. But checking new emails every five minutes is a distraction from your productivity.
Don’t lose your focus by opening your email with each new alert.
Instead, dedicate certain times in your day to reading, answering, and clearing out emails all at the same time.
Having these specific times already set aside will make sure you aren’t interrupted countless times while you’re trying to get a project done. And you won’t constantly be thinking about your inbox.
First thing in the morning, after lunch, and right before you leave work are all excellent times to get your inbox to zero.
3. Schedule Your Days in Reverse
Packing your schedule is the perfect way to ensure you are stuck at work later than you want to be.
It’s easy to overschedule yourself when you start first thing in the morning. You’re sure you can fit it all in. You’ll figure it out.
The idea behind this productivity hack is to set 6 pm as a hard deadline. No negotiating. And then use it as your starting point for your day.
Work backward from the time you want to leave the office and schedule your tasks accordingly. By starting at the end, you ensure you’ll be ready to leave the office exactly when you should.
4. Add Blocks of “Me Time” to Your Calendar
It’s not enough to have free time in your schedule to get those important tasks done.
Leaving time open on your calendar means it could potentially be scheduled for you. Soon you’re being added to meetings and projects that take away from your personal work time.
Ensure you get your own priorities done by adding “me time” to your calendar.
Now you have plenty of time to get things done without having to worry about changing your plans last minute. Your time is valuable, and you should have plenty of it to yourself.
5. Use Small Tasks as Breaks
Getting a big task done in one sitting is mind-numbing at best.
The next time you feel yourself zoning out in the middle of a project, take a short break. Switching your focus for even small periods enhances your ability to think creatively and get those big jobs done.
But, this time, skip the Facebook scrolling and cat videos.
Have a few tasks on hand that won’t take you long to complete. Break up your big job with these little jobs whenever you feel your focus fading.
Use the work you’re not supposed to be doing to help you get your more important work done. That way, you end up getting more done by the time you leave.
6. Take Five Minutes to Tidy Up
No one enjoys coming into work to find a cluttered desk waiting for them.
By spending a minimal amount of time every day keeping things clean, you clear up more time to get your work done.
Keeping your desk clean is much better than spending half a day sorting through a big mess. It also saves you from having to search for things you need in the clutter.
Before leaving work each day, aim to pick up or organize five things. But don’t go crazy with it.
Those few minutes will save you precious time during the day that is better used on more productive things.
7. Create and Stick to a Routine
What you do outside of work has an effect on your productivity at work. Maintaining a routine is a fantastic way to keep your schedule intact, so you leave on time.
It’s simple — the more relaxed you are, the easier it is to fall asleep. When you fall asleep on time, you get enough rest. Going to work well-rested assures you spend your workday getting things done!
Incorporating a habit before bed like taking a walk, showering, or reading a book can help you disconnect from the rest of your day.
Doing something familiar every night signals your mind and body that it’s time to get to sleep.
Don’t be late for your dinner reservations or miss the new episode of your favorite TV show. Your time off work is just as important as your hours in the office.
Make sure you get the most out of those hours!
Put these seven productivity hacks to work for you and leave the office on time every time. Your social life will thank you for it.
Working with Alliance Residential at Jefferson EDGE, Caitlin Sinclair has more than five years of experience in the multifamily industry. In her free time, you will find her enjoying life on the Lake and spending time with friends.