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The Ultimate Guide to Productivity

Business effeciency is sometimes not always an easy thing to achieve and most of us can admit to procrastinate to some degree or level. We're all looking for new and easier ways to maximise productivity and it's amazing how a few simple steps can help you succeed and feel on top of things. David Allen's excellent book Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity, outlines an effective 'do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it' principle to mange your time and help clear the ever mounting to-do list.

Whether you're hunting for your dream job, managing revision for your finals,  or just trying to get more out of your day, hopefully these five top tips can help you be more productive with the limited time in the day.

1)  Clear your head

Brains are optimum at making fast decisions - not storing information. The best thing to do is write down all the thoughts that come to mind in a safe place. To save paper and avoid using post it notes or pads, there are a few excellent apps which can help to note down key information and create project management processes. 'Things' is one particular favourite, or there are other free versions too. 

2)  Know what being "done" looks like

Imagine running a race but not knowing where the finish line is. Set yourself a clear vision of what you want to happen. If you are looking for a new opportunity, be it in a large blue chip organisation or in a smaller, entrepreneurial start up, set yourself a clear target of how many applications you will do within a specific time period. 

3)  Work in a thorough way

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers is famous for quoting that hard work requires no less than 10,000 hours of commitment. If time is tight, in order to get things done, David Allen, swears by 5 processes: Collect, Process, Organise, Do and Review!

4)  The "2 Minute Rule"

Don't stress yourself over small tasks. Ask yourself: Could this take me less than 2 minutes? If yes, the answer is, don't procrastinate, just DO IT NOW!

5)  Record Someday/ Waiting for tasks

Record things that you would like to do 'someday'/ 'eventually' but don’t have time to do immediately. It's also really useful to keep a note in your 'to do list' of people you are 'waiting to hear from.' If you've applied for a job for example, keep a note of applications you've sent out or people you are waiting to hear from.

When speaking to a friend on the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, I asked her how she manages to fit so much into her life - she said: "I don't waste time- I get on with things and just do them rather than wasting time thinking about what I have to do!"

Time is precious - use it wisely and enjoy Getting Things Done!