Whether you work for a church or nonprofit, staying on top of the deluge of tasks sometimes feels futile.
We’ve compiled some of the best daily productivity hacks to help.
If you follow these three simple rules, you may just find more items checked off your to-do list and maybe even more hours in your day.
1. Avoid the temptation to check your email first thing in the morning
Studies show that we’re given roughly two hours of intense focus each morning. Use it wisely. Constantly checking your email—and especially wasting your most productive hours on mindless work—is a sure-fire way to limit your effectiveness.
We know it’s unrealistic to completely cut ourselves off from the beloved inbox, so set alerts for important requests, be it from specific people or about an upcoming project or event.
Otherwise, carve out time, preferably in the afternoon, when you’ll respond, keeping these email best practices in mind:
- Empty your inbox
Once you answer an email, move it to an appropriate subdivided folder. Empty inboxes mean fewer tasks fall through the cracks.
- Evaluate with the 2 minute rule
As you empty your inbox, if it takes less than two minutes to respond, do it then.
- Touch it once
Be sure you’re only touching something once, not reading it in the morning, rereading it in the afternoon for context, and feeling too worn out by the end of the day to actually deal with it.
- Unsubscribe from unwanted emails
You’d be surprised how much time we waste deleting unwanted emails. Unsubscribe instead—just don’t write us out of the will!
2. Instead, tackle the worst first
While we’re on the topic of first things, remember how we’re only allotted a small amount of intense focus time?
Try to schedule your hardest tasks first thing in the morning. You’ll feel energized knowing you knocked it out of the park.
And whatever you do, remember to avoid multitasking. We’re all bad at it. We can stop pretending a hundred open tabs is a badge of honor.
3. Spend 15 minutes mapping out your day
Rather than checking your email, redeem those first—or last—minutes of the work day to visualize clear goals and break them down into actionable steps. Write these out using an old-fashioned piece of paper or a tool like Evernote.
Obviously, as the day develops, you’ll need to practice flexibility, but having an idea of where you’re going and what you need to accomplish is crucial.
In that, be mindful of your work and where you’re spending your time and maybe, using some of these hacks, you’ll start reclaiming your day.
Who knows? You might have more time to think, read for pleasure, take a walk, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's...