What can you do to make your day longer? Short of getting a time machine off eBay, your only choice is to become more efficient. Productive people get to take on the most interesting jobs, and they also have enough free time to discover new passions.
So how do you get more productive? You probably have some tricks of your own. But here are some tried and tested approaches that will increase your productivity.
- Become a Taskmaster
How do you feel about delegating? For people who care deeply about their work, delegation may present a special challenge. After all, how can you be really sure that everything’s getting done right unless you do it yourself?
But maybe you just need a new point of view. You’re not giving up control, you’re just redistributing it.
Maybe you need to improve your communication with your coworkers. Maybe you work alone but you can hire a professional who’ll need a day to finish a particular task that would take you all week. Either way, it takes a bit of time and experience to learn who you can trust.
But after you do it a few times, delegation will become second nature to you, and you’ll be amazed by the results.
- Become a Mapmaker
Experience shows  that mind maps are an excellent time-saver. You can use them to make a complex task simpler or to find the best way to explain what you’re working on.
If the thought of drawing a map yourself doesn’t appeal to you, there are apps and websites you can use. Don’t forget: your mind map doesn’t have to look neat, it just has to make sense to you.
There are other visualization techniques you can try as well. It’s exceptionally important not to lose sight of your end goal, even while you break your tasks down into small and manageable parts.
- Become a Hero
What does a hero do? They ride straight into battle and they defeat the main villain. Secondary villains are left to the sidekicks.
If you’ve working on several things at once, start with the biggest, most challenging one. Canadian self-development author Brian Tracy calls this the Eat That Frog  method. Once you’ve eaten the ugliest frog, all the other frogs will be much easier to swallow.
So why is it a good idea to start from the toughest job? Won’t it exhaust you?
Sure! But you’ll also get a much-needed confidence boost, and a thorough understanding of the thing you are working on.
Even more importantly, you will be able to give the remaining, smaller tasks your full attention. Lots of people make the mistake of trying to clear away the smallest stuff first. It always takes much longer than it should, because their minds are preoccupied with the difficulty up ahead.
- Become an Expert
It’s tempting to think that you’ll save time by skipping the research and staying on the beaten path. After all, if you can get decent results with familiar methods, why would you want to branch out? Won’t you be fastest if you stick to what you know?
Some people refuse to learn how to use new software because they think it’ll be quicker to do it by hand. Lots of students decide to memorize their study subject by rote instead of trying to figure it out. Every now and then, you may come across a cool new piece of information that could speed up your job, but you shrug it off because you’re happy with the way you usually do things.
It’s true that routine can make work go quicker in the short term. But in most cases, you need to think long-term too.
So put some time aside for research. Read up on innovations in your field. Try new methods, new apps, new ways of thinking about things.
The more time you put into learning about your field, the easier it’ll be to get your job done quickly and without digressions or doubt.
- Become a Scribe
You will become a lot quicker if you write things down. So get a journal or an app and start developing a note-taking habit.
Alerts can be a huge help, but don’t overlook the benefits of seeing your tasks all written down in one place. Some people love having massive to-do lists at hand, while others benefit from a few well-placed post-its. Make sure to take pleasure in crossing completed tasks off your list.
In addition to plans, you might want to write down new ideas and insights. Don’t tax your brain by making it remember everything for you. Find a better use for it than storage.
Writing thing down unburdens you, but it can also be a huge professional help. When you look over your notes, you may be able to connect the dots or recognize patterns that will help you figure out how to become even more efficient.
- Become Attuned to Your Own Moods and Needs
Here’s a challenging piece of advice. Doctors say that happiness can be the key to working effectively, but a bad or neutral mood can help you be productive too. 
Put simply, you should pay attention to your state of mind. If you’re feeling cheerful and you’re bubbling with energy, you shouldn’t shy away from complicated challenges. Your creativity is running high, and so are your logic skills.
But if you’re feeling kind of flat, it’s a good time to make instinct-based decisions. The stakes won’t feel as high as usual, and you won’t feel compelled to overthink things.
What about your needs?
This can be tricky if you’re prone to procrastination. You may feel like you absolutely need to take a nap or have a snack instead of working. All you’ll achieve by doing this is put your work off and make yourself miserable.
Setting up a tight schedule can be a smart solution. Schedule your meals and your workouts. Make sure your diet is varied but includes food you like. After all, the goal isn’t to make yourself miserable, just to set up a system that will save you time and mental energy.
Don’t forget to include your most basic need: sleep. If you don’t get enough of it for several days or weeks on end, all the effort you put into being productive will prove useless. But if you treat your brain and body well, you’ll be surprised by your own ability to grow and excel.
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