How to work less and do more – 10 tips to boost your productivity

Mark Haller


Do you work effectively?

  • Have you ever felt the whole day just passed away and you did nothing you were supposed to do?
  • When the task is supposed to take you 2 hours you still can not accomplish it throughout the whole day?
  • When you create a TO DO list all the tasks just stay there unticked?

If you said yes to the 3 questions above  you might have a big problem with productivity.

Does it always have to be this way?

The hard part is that, if you did this for many years it became ‘the way you do it’. But if you are aware of the problem you can fight your patterns and make it better next time. You will probably fail a lot in the beginning but if you keep fighting you can change the way you act. You can change it!

So what can I do?

There might be different reason why you avoid doing something. You might not like doing this, you might not know how to do this exactly, you might just feel lazy that day. What ever keeps you from doing things read list of tips below, some might help you.

1. Clean and organise

Give yourself enough time to clean and organise the space you work in. You can even reserve a whole day to do that. Clean your desk. Clean your computer. Get rid of all unused icons on your desktop, delete old files and folders. Place everything in it’s place, bin old documents, throw away pens that run out of ink. Leave only items you use everyday. Make space for you and you mind. Do not let surrounding environment distract you.

Clean every morning for 10 min. Put things back in place before you start work.
It will make you will feel fresh and ready to start the day.

2. Prioritise

If you have to much on your mind, you will probably spend more time worrying about all things you have to do, then doing them. The key is to decide what is really important to you. Create list of all tasks and write them all on paper. Then chose one task that is the most important thing to do that day. Everything else is on the list, do not worry about it now.

3. Do one thing at a time

Your mind can not multitask, it can only focus on one thing at the time. Remember to chose one  specific task to work on – that will protect you from distraction. Focus totally on accomplishing it and do not think about other things, they can wait until you finish with the most important one.

4. Take small steps

If you have things to do that are supposed to take more then 2 hours you must definitely split it into smaller chunks. Define all steps that will lead you to success, write them down on paper and start with the first one.

5. Do not over plan

If you create a plan for the day, never ever plan all your time. If you work 8 hours, book 4 – 6 hours of your day. You will need other hours to deal with contingency. This can also save you when you have underestimated time needed for tasks you have planed for today.

6. Work when your are the most effective

Most people are most effective from 6am to 12 am. Between 2 – 6 pm your productivity is quite low. There is a simple conclusion – do most important and demanding tasks in the morning when your brain is rested, fresh and much more able to focus than in the evening. Get up early and go straight to work on your most important task. You can often get more done before 8am than most people do in a day.

Remember to take small breaks to give your brain time to recover. Take a 10 min break every 60-90 minutes. Ideally go outside to get some fresh air.

7. Focus

Ok, so here you are sitting in front of your laptop writing some report… and they come… all the temptations. Should I go make a coffee, check Facebook, read e-mails, browse the net…
Avery time there is a thought like this coming to your mind be concious. Think about it, but don’t move, let this thought pass away. Stay in your place, when temptation is gone focus on your task again.

8. Stop procrastinating

It could be so hard sometimes to gather yourself together and do things you need to do. People tend to do want they need at the last bell. Do you know this? Learning to exam a night before, writing a report an hour before the meeting. Well, couldn’t you make it before? You ask yourself often. Yes, you could  and you could avoid all that stress.
You need to know what is the most important thing to do and decide to watch TV series and browse web after it’s done.
Just sit down and start on your task. Just start!

9. Keep calendar updated

It’s a magic trick. You can really make your plans happen when you have all small tasks planned within a time. Things that are planned in calendar tend to happen. So reserve few hours to accomplish the task you need.
I also create a task calendar for the whole year,  where I put important things that should happen in particular month. For example there is a certification to be done in January. There is a trip to Paris in April, and there is a course taking place from Feb to May. Such a big picture of the whole year can really keep you on track and help you accomplish important things this year.

10. Find someone that will do it for you

Well, the day has only 24 hours,  you are just a human and sometimes it’s just not possible to do all you need to do. Then think who else can do this for you. Even if you have to pay them, they will save your precious time and might do it better then you if you find a good expert.

11. Should I really do this?

Always ask yourself for the purpose of all things you do. Maybe this task makes no sense at all, maybe it’s not you who is really supposed to do this? The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it.  If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your To Do list.


Hope these tips will help you, as they help me every day :)

Maybe you know some more that work for you? Share them in comments.