improve-yourIt seems as though we never have enough time, doesn’t it? No matter how carefully you plan your day, and no matter how hard you try to get everything done, you just always seem to run out of day before you run out of things to be done. Below, you’ll find five tips you can put to use right now that will help take your productivity to the next level. You’ll find yourself getting more accomplished in less time, and you’ll finally start getting a handle on things. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Power of No – Most people hate to say no. We instinctively try to be as accommodating as possible, but this can really drag your productivity down. Think about the law of supply and demand here. There’s only so much of you. If you start making yourself less available, not only do you have more time to do the stuff most critical to your day, but you also make yourself more valuable.

Limit Your Time on Social Media – Social media is a huge time sink, even if you need to be on it as part of your job. Limit yourself to twice a day, no more than twenty minutes at a stretch. By forcing yourself to keep strict watch on the time you spend on social media, you’ll be less likely to get sucked in.

Only Check Email Twice a Day – This is another huge time sink for most people: the feeling that you have to constantly check your email and respond to everything right away. Break the habit. Retrain yourself to check email just twice a day, and limit yourself to thirty minute sessions, both times. This forces you to prioritize your emails and only respond to the really critical items.

Proper Prioritization – Tackle the biggest, scariest task of the day first. Doing that builds momentum, and makes the rest of your day seem like a downhill coast from there.

Live By Lists – Of course, in order to properly prioritize, you’ve got to have a firm sense of what each day holds. That means learning to love lists. Break every item down into one of two categories: “must do,” and “it would be nice to do.” Your must do items go to the top. If any of your “it would be nice to do” items don’t get done that day, move them to “must do” the following day. If you still give them a pass on the second day, take it off the list. They are obviously not that important.