Do you often find that at the end of a day that you feel that you could have achieved more? Do you look at your to-do list and realize that you have not completed anywhere near the number of the tasks that you had set out to complete.

It could be that you are merely setting yourself overambitious targets. Or, it could be that you are not managing your time effectively. Either way, never quite achieving what you know you are capable of can be extremely frustrating. So, if you believe that you could be more productive, read on. Here are 10 productivity secrets that successful people use.

1. To-do Lists Often Do Not Work

The first secret that productive people know is that straightforward to-do lists do not help you manage your time. What you need to do is turn your to-do list into a schedule. If you keep a running to-do list, the list of outstanding tasks will keep getting longer. What you need to do is schedule a time on a calendar to complete each item on your list.

2. You Need to Plan Your Day the Night Before

Productive people know that the best time to plan your day is the night before. The evening is the best time to review the events of the day and adjust your schedule for the following day to account for any changes in priorities. For most people, the evenings are quiet, and there will not be any interruptions or distractions, which is why it is a good time of the day for planning and formulating strategies.

3. Responding to Emails Eats up Time

Opening and reading each email as it comes in distracts you from what you are doing and wastes your time. The most effective way to schedule any type of work is to batch similar types of tasks together. If you have a set time in the day to respond to emails, you will sail through your responses, and then you will be able to concentrate on the next task in hand.

4. You Must Apply the 80/20 Rule

One one of my favorite productivity secrets is to apply the 80/20 rule. A productive person knows that 20% of the effort will generate 80% of the results, so they prioritize using that rule. Look for the items that will yield the most significant benefit for the minimum of effort. Then, delegate the remaining 20% of tasks, or complete them when you have finished the top-priority tasks.

5. Managing is More Efficient Than Doing

Productive entrepreneurs and business managers are never afraid to delegate. It is more efficient to manage the resources you have available than it is to attempt to do everything yourself. The objective is to find the most efficient way to get a job done, and that will often mean that you don’t do it yourself.

6. Unorganized Meetings Can Waste Time

It’s no big secret that some meetings waste time, but productive people don’t only complain about meetings, they avoid them at all costs. Meetings invariably run late, and they often go off-topic. Before you accept an invitation to a meeting, always ask yourself if there could be a better way to achieve the same result.

7. Energy is More Valuable Than Time

Time is a finite resource that you can’t control. You can, however, schedule your workload to make the best use of the time you have available. You are at your most productive when you are feeling energetic and enthusiastic, so schedule the critical tasks for the time of day that you are at your best. Very productive people understand the importance of maintaining their energy levels as well, so they don’t skip meals, and they keep themselves healthy.

8. Your Memory is Not as Good as You Think

Business managers and entrepreneurs are busy people. They get bombarded every day with facts, figures, and questions. Super-efficient people know that they can’t always rely on their memory, so they always write down important things to remember, action points, and ideas in a notebook.

9. Being Busy is Not the Same as Being Productive

People who get things done know that multitasking doesn’t work. Trying to juggle many tasks simultaneously will only result in less than perfect results and a lot of time wasted. Productive people focus all their energy on one job at a time.

10. Procrastination is the Enemy of Productivity

Hyper-productive people rarely use the phrase “I’ll come back to that.”  If they have a task in front of them that is important, they will tackle that task straight away. Putting off jobs until later will lead to an ever-growing to-do list that will become unmanageable.

Summary – Top Productivity Secrets to Start Implementing ASAP

It’s important to realize that successful people don’t leave productivity to chance. People who get things done set out each day to achieve results in the most efficient way possible. Productive people understand that the most important thing that they need to manage is themselves.