Have you have ever found yourself at the end of the day — or the week — wondering where the time went? Sometime during your day or week you likely have 10 minutes lacking in productivity, whether because you are on Facebook or Twitter, getting coffee (for the third time), or just zoning out altogether. If you’re finding your productivity is lacking, here are five ways to be more productive in just 10 minutes.
Ask to Change Your Office Hours
If you’re zoning out or even falling asleep throughout the day, you likely need more sleep. The average adult needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may need more to be well rested and alert while working. Unfortunately, this is not easy for most people, so consider taking 10 minutes to ask your boss for a later start time, or even asking to telecommute. The latter option is also more green and economical, which could be necessary selling points if getting to the office in the morning is a serious struggle and affecting your productivity during the day.
Sync Your Email and Calendar
If you have a smartphone, your iPhone or Android could be your best solution to being more productive. By keeping your email and calendar with you on the go, you’ll never miss an important event or message that could end up setting you back in productivity in the future. Most smartphones make it easy to sync your email as well as a calendar to the phone, and can easily be configured in under 10 minutes.
Many companies have gone paperless, but some industries (such as the legal system) still push enough paper to support entire other industries of copying and messenger services. If your desk is so cluttered that you can’t find your desk — or find that important document due back to your client — take 10 minutes to sort and organize your workspace. If you’re lacking storage or organizational tools such as file folders or a memo board, use these 10 minutes to make a list of what you need to stay organized and be more productive, and then ask your office manager if these supplies are available or can be ordered. Those who are self-employed or work for a small startup may have to take the extra time to order these supplies, but it will be well worth the resulting increase in productivity.
Block Facebook, Twitter, and Other Wastes of Time
For some, Facebook is a requisite part of a job. For others, it can be distracting to the point of resulting in a loss of productivity. If you can’t stop yourself from going to Facebook or using Twitter during the workday — and if your company hasn’t already blocked access to these social networks and other wastes of time (like blogs), then you may need to install your own method of blocking these services. Chrome users may find downloading and using SiteBlock useful for this purpose, and a similar add-on exists for Firefox, too. Just type in the Web sites that distract you, and you’ll no longer be able to visit them or see links to the blocked Web sites — at least until you deactivate the extension.
Read — and Delete — Your Email
If you’re behind in productivity and swimming in a swamp of unread emails, take 10 minutes to read and/or delete any email that is spam, junk, unimportant (such as that cute cat YouTube video your mom has sent you for the 10th time), or to which you’ve already responded. In just a few minutes you should have an inbox that is occupied primarily by important emails or tasks that must be responded to or acted upon. If your inbox is more overwhelming than a simple cleanup can help control, consider using a tool like ActiveInbox, which applies the GTD method to prioritize emails automatically.
How do you stay productive during the work day? Let us know your tips for increasing productivity in the comments.