If it seems like there aren't enough hours in the work day, the solution might be as simple as changing how you think about time.
In an email to his team, Jeremiah Dillon, head of product marketing at Google Apps for Work, offered several tips to make the most of your work day. His theory: A smarter allocation of your time in the office could be the quick fix to accomplishing the tasks that have plagued your to-do list for far too long.
Here are some key takeaways from Dillon's email.
1. Be specific about your goals.
Dillon notes that the workplace can be divided into two groups of people: makers and managers. While managers' days are sorted into 30-minute intervals, makers think about their time in half days or full days. They commit to "make time," or to completing tasks within a particular time frame of their day.
Dillon points to a study about exercise, in which three experiment groups were asked to exercise. The group with the most specific instructions--to commit to exercise at on a predetermined day and time--had the highest rate of success, with 91 percent of subjects actually exercising.
Similarly, Dillon advises that managers might be more productive if they think of their time as makers do, clearly indicating when and where they will reserve time for specific projects.
2. Rethink your meeting schedule.
Take a look the meetings on your calendar. Perhaps some can be made shorter or include fewer people, and others could be rescheduled or even canceled altogether. You can then reallocate the time you've saved.
3. Plan your days and weeks according to your likely energy levels.
Each day, try to push your "make time" toward the mornings, when you're at your sharpest. Don't put off essential tasks until late Friday when the week's meetings are completed, Dillon advises. Use energy from the weekends to plan your week on Monday. Conquer your most important tasks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when your motivation will be highest. Thursdays should be used for meetings, and Fridays, when enthusiasm ebbs, are useful for long-term planning and relationship building.