Do less at once
iStock/Rawpixel-Ltd Dr. Dow also suggests trading in multitasking for strategic “doing.” “Hurriers think they’re saving time while multitasking, and this may be true when you’re doing two very simple things like stapling a stack of papers while you’re watching TV, he says. But brain scans show that what you really do when you multitask is rapid single-tasking, and, in doing so, you lose time and efficiency by switching back and forth. “This is especially true when you are doing something more complex like working on a spreadsheet while having an important conversation with your significant other,” he says. “Do one thing at a time, and you’ll end up saving time. The more time you save, the less you need to hurry.”
Build in space between appointments
iStock/Choreograph Therapist Mallory Grimste says that when she first opened her therapy practice, she made the awful mistake of scheduling six clients back-to back, all in a row. “Thankfully my clients were kind and understanding when I needed to step out between appointments to use the bathroom or sneak a quick snack,” she says. Her advice: Schedule time for bathroom, lunch, and reset breaks. “Just because you have space in your schedule, does not mean it needs to be filled with work, appointments, or other obligations.” Also, feel free to book nothing on your calendar—an hour to literally do nothing.
Prioritize, and don’t always schedule to the minute
iStock/xijian Grimste also suggests making a general plan for the day, rather than a tightly programmed schedule. “Obviously there are items that need to be scheduled at a certain time such as an appointment, however, having a general list of tasks makes it easier to follow and complete,” she says. “I try to keep my main list to three MITs (Most Important Tasks) to complete that day; then if I complete those items I can move to the rest of my list which I often am able to do.” Don’t miss these effortless ways to be more productive.