For many of us, summer is a time to enjoy weekends at the beach – maybe even take an exotic trip. It’s a time to recharge.
But now autumn has arrived, and with it, a faster pace and more obligations. It’s time to get productive once again, particularly when it comes to furthering your career and improving your bottom line. Here are some ways to get more efficient this fall.
Get to the office before everyone else
Starting your workday earlier isn’t so much about putting in more hours. Rather, it’s about giving yourself time to focus. Notes U.S. News & World Report, when there’s no one around to distract you with questions, you can get much more done.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not an efficient way to get things done. According to U.S. News, those people who can concentrate on completing one task at a time will be most productive. The publication quotes business coach and strategist Maria Tabaka, who asserts that multitasking will waste 40 percent of your workday. Instead, she recommends blocking out time to accomplish tasks.
Some distractions, like a five-minute walk, can help clear your head and help you get back to work with a fresh perspective. According to U.S. News & World Report, the brain needs this kind of break roughly every two hours.
Become more efficient with email
If you answer every email the second it arrives, you may be derailing your productivity. Here’s a rule: If replying to or deleting an email takes less than two minutes, take care of it when you get it, suggests Forbes. Otherwise, wait. Other suggestions: Set your email preferences so you don’t get a distracting alert each time an email arrives; send fewer emails to receive fewer emails; keep emails short.
Set up systems
Through the season, you may take on projects both big and small. Stay on top of them with some basic project management. Forbes recommends keeping multiple lists, some for short-term projects and others for the longer-ones. You may be surprised by how a little organization can keep all of your projects moving.
In Personal Finance
Track your finances
Just like in the workplace, getting organized will help keep you productive as you take care of your financial obligations. According to GoBankingRates.com, this can mean setting up your own system, such as with an Excel spreadsheet with columns listing your accounts, due dates and amounts due. (If you actually list your account numbers, make sure to password-protect your spreadsheet.) The site also recommends Mint, which tracks your account balances as well as your spending patterns (by category, in fact).
Digitize your files
Having to hunt through piles of statements, receipts and tax documents can really slow you down. GoBankingRates.com recommends reducing the paper clutter by receiving your bills and statements digitally (more on that below). Bankrate, meanwhile, recommends scanning those documents and uploading them to your computer.
Pay bills online
Writing checks, balancing checkbooks, addressing envelopes and dropping payments in a mailbox can be very tedious and time-consuming. You can handle your obligations in a fraction of the time, by using online bill pay. You can even take bill-paying efficiency one step further: As MoneyNing points out, you can automate the process by setting up auto-payments either directly through the company that bills you or through your bank. Ally Bank, for instance, offers automatic eBill payment, which you can set up to cover the minimum or full amount due on eBills (electronic statements sent right to your Ally Bank account). Plus there’s no fee to pay your bills through Ally Bank’s online bill pay.
How do you get productive for fall? Which area of your life do you work hardest to organize?