I’ll let you in on a secret. The best way to increase your productivity, no matter what the task, is to simplify. I know it sounds too easy to be true, but it actually works. When you simplify a task or a process, you spend less time figuring out what to do and how to do and instead get to focus on getting it done.
Let’s look at a couple of different examples from both work and home to see how this simplification principle applies. While they may or may not apply to you, they should give you a pretty good idea how simplifying can help you in all areas of your life and save you time.
Cleaning off your desk and cutting back on what you allow back on there is a great first thing to try at work. Take everything off your desk. Then decide what you absolutely need on there. Go for a clean, uncluttered look. Toss what you don’t absolutely need and find new homes for things you need to keep around but don’t need at your fingertips right away. For example, keep your notebook and pen in the desk drawer. File paperwork in your file cabinet or get things filled out and moved on ASAP.
Since we’re on the topic of paperwork, that’s another great area where you can simplify both at work and at home. Look through any piece of paper you touch and see if it’s really necessary. At home, consider setting your bills to either auto-pay or to go to online billing. Online billing is something you can take care of from your phone as you wait in line at the store. It will be much quicker than sending a check in the mail each month.
At work, talk to your superiors about cutting down on paperwork and moving to electronic delivery wherever possible. Cutting back on paperwork will not only save trees, but will benefit and profit the company by cutting cost and increasing productivity.
Learn to say no at work to things that would distract you from finishing your current projects. Of course that isn’t always possible, but do what you can to focus on your core workload and responsibilities.
At home, consider de-cluttering and simplifying all areas of your house one room at a time. You’ll spend a lot less time cleaning and looking for things. For example, by de-cluttering your living room, you can end up spending 40% less time cleaning, vacuuming and dusting. Over time that adds up to quite a few extra hours of time to do something you enjoy instead of dusting cluttered shelves.