Journalist and productivity expert Emily Price reveals seven simple steps you can take to increase daily productivity.

You don’t have to spend all weekend planning your week in order to be efficient – that’s self-defeating for a start but also, you’ll find a little effort goes a surprisingly long way.

Here are the easy ways to be more productive…

1. Plan Your Week

“You don’t need to come up with a detailed, hour-by-hour schedule, but spending a few minutes at the weekend planning what you hope to accomplish during the week ahead can be a great way to set yourself up for success come Monday morning,” says Price.

“Divide the responsibilities you have for the week into specific days. This practice will give you a good idea of what your work week looks like, and it will help you to know whether or not you have time to take on additional projects.”

2. Create Six Daily Big-Picture Goals

“These can include both personal and professional goals,” Price says. “For instance, one of your goals might be to finish a big work project, while another might be to start planning your upcoming family holiday.

“The idea here is for you to give yourself a big-picture vision of what you hope to accomplish so you can better steer your diary schedule and yourself towards those goals.”

3. Break Your To-Do List Down Into Small Action Steps

“For instance, instead of putting something like ‘work on X project’ on your to-do list, break the task down into smaller, more specific steps like ‘email the X client’ and ‘research stats for the X project’,” says Price.

“By breaking down the larger item you’re thinking through the details of what needs to get done. You’ll also feel a lot more accomplished when you’ve knocked off ten items from your to-do list before lunch rather than none because you’re still working on that same large task.” 

4. Prep, Prep, Prep

“Before you go to bed each night, set yourself up for success in the morning by prepping things you’ll need when you wake up,” says Price.

“This can be as simple as laying out your outfit for the next day, or as involved as planning exactly what time you aim to do each part of your routine. When you wake up feeling a bit sleepy in the morning, you’ll thank yourself for making things a little easier.”

5. Always Include A Step Towards A Larger Goal On Your To-Do List 

“This way you’re doing something small in the moment, but you’re also setting the stage to complete a much larger project in the future,” says Price.

“For instance, if you have the larger goal of being able to speak German before your business trip to Berlin in five months, block off time each day to work on it. Not all goals can be attained overnight.”

6. Don’t Be A Multitasker

“A study by Stanford researchers found that people who multitasked were more distracted and had a hard time remembering what they were doing than those who didn’t multitask,” says Price.

“Instead of doing two or more things simultaneously, do one task and then move on to the next. By giving each task your complete focus, you’ll do a better job and get everything done faster.”

7. Follow The Two-Minute Rule

“In general, if tasks come along that can be done in two minutes or less, you should do them immediately,” says Price.

“The act of adding an item to your to-do list and coming back to it later will take up the better part of two minutes anyway. Completing tasks immediately will keep your to-do list short and your day moving along.”

Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways To Accomplish More At Work – That Actually Work! by Emily Price is available now