13. Hide your phone. (Not your desk phone, of course.) Research shows that we touch our phones 150 times a day. Avoid the temptation and put it away during work hours. [Kleiner, Perkins, Cauﬁeld and Byers]
Work fewer than 49 hours
a week. After working 49 hours a week, your productivity decreases dramatically. So when you hit that magic number, call it quits and head home! [HubSpot] 1.
2. Listen to music that’s
best suited for the type of boost you need. Need to relax? Listen to nature sounds or instrumental music. Feeling down? Queue up a feel-good playlist. Need motivation? Find songs that pump you up. Here’s one you can use! >>
3. Do your most important
tasks in the morning. Research shows that you’re most cognitively active two hours after you wake up. So don’t spend this valuable time surﬁng the Internet or checking email. Use it to tackle your hardest project. [HubSpot]
4. Stop multitasking. Our brains
aren’t built for multitasking. Even though it might feel like you’re doing several things at once, you’re really just switching between multiple tasks. And research shows that multitasking can actually decrease your IQ. [Forbes]
5. Schedule internal meetings strategically.
Schedule meetings back-to-back or around lunch so you’re not sitting down and getting back up all day. Are you a manager? Hold one day a week for one-on-ones with your direct reports.
6. Build time into your
schedule to prospect every day. It’s easy to skip prospecting if things get busy, but neglect your pipeline and you’ll shoot yourself in the foot. Call your prospects between 8 and 9 a.m. local time, and do email prospecting during oﬀ hours. [HubSpot]
7. Reserve speciﬁc hours on
your calendar for prospect meetings. If you hold a consistent time for sales meetings, you’ll avoid conﬂicts with internal meetings and won’t have to reshuﬄe your schedule. Of course, defer to your prospect’s schedule if they absolutely can’t meet within this window.
8. Leave 10-15 minutes between
every external meeting. You can duck out of internal meetings if they start to run over. Not so when you’re speaking with a prospect. Always leave yourself buﬀer time in case the conversation runs long or the prospect arrives late.
9. Remove unnecessary recurring meetings
from your schedule. As a sales rep, the only recurring meetings you need to have are pipeline reviews and career discussions with your manager. If a recurring meeting has fallen by the wayside or isn’t helpful to you, get it oﬀ your calendar.
10. Put “available to book”
times on your calendar. Let your colleagues know when you’re available to meet by making it explicit on your schedule. That way, they don’t have to ping you asking if they can book you. They can just do it.
11. Build lunch into your
schedule. Even on your busiest days, you can’t aﬀord to miss lunch. The mental break and time away from your desk are essential to keeping you sharp and focused for the rest of the day.
12. Every Sunday, review next
week’s schedule. Throughout the week, surprises will inevitably crop up. But you should start your week as organized as possible. Spend a mere 10 minutes updating your calendar and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning.
13. Hide your phone. (Not
your desk phone, of course.) Research shows that we touch our phones 150 times a day. Avoid the temptation and put it away during work hours. [Kleiner, Perkins, Cauﬁeld and Byers]
14. Touch things once. It
takes 25 minutes to return to productivity after an interruption. So when you’re working, ﬁnish a task before you move on to something else. Breaking it up will only increase the total amount of time you’ll have to spend.
15. Try the (10 +
2) x 5 technique. Step 1: Work for 10 minutes with absolute focus on one task. Step 2: Break for 2 minutes. Step 3: Repeat 5 times in total (4 additional times) until you’ve completed an hour of work. [Adapted from 43folders]
16. Or use the 52:17
ratio. Research by DeskTime shows that the highest- performing 10% of employees work for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break spent away from their desks. (Hey, if science says it, it must be true.) [The Atlantic]
17. Or the Pomodoro Technique.
Step 1: Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task. (25 minutes is one “Pomodoro.”) Step 2: Take a short break. Step 3: Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break – from 15-30 minutes. [Lifehacker]
18. Or, use the Dead
Battery Sprint to get things done – fast. (Note: only works if you use a laptop for work.) Step 1: Charge your computer to 100%. Step 2: Unplug. Step 3: Try to ﬁnish a task before the battery dies. [HubSpot]
19. Set both long- and
short-term goals. It’s helpful to have a ﬁve-year plan, but it’s not always easy to see progress day-to-day. Setting attainable smaller goals will keep you driving forward to eventually reach your ultimate objective. [Psychology Today]
20. Get into the oﬃce
early. A recent study found that “morning people” were more likely to feel in charge of their work and spend time identifying goals. And if you beat the morning rush, you’ll have guaranteed alone time to work before distractions from your colleagues start rolling in. [99u]
21. Turn oﬀ any channels
that you’re not using. You don’t need to check your email while you’re making prospecting calls. You don’t need to have Facebook open when you’re sourcing leads on LinkedIn. Free yourself from the constant ﬂow of new notiﬁcations by physically closing out of windows you’re not using.