Becoming more productive should be everyone’s goal. It is, however, difficult to find time to actually work on that goal. If you are reading this article I assume that you also want to become more productive and that it is actually much easier than you think. I will, however, give you some exercises at the end to help you realize just how easy it is to become more productive.
You might be surprised, but this article will not tell you anything about those fancy apps or those new fangled pills. You know what does work though? If so, let me congratulate you on your amazing psychic abilities even though these do not exist as yet! This article will guide you through scientifically established means of improving productivity. Please bear in mind that there are no shortcuts to becoming productive; we’ll try to make it as fast as possible though! The main idea behind this process (and indeed any other approach) is motivation and self-control. You have to want it, and you have to work for it!
1. The first step is being mindful of how much time you spend working on unimportant tasks
Ask yourself “What did I do today?” before you go to bed every day. Write the answer down in your smart-phone if necessary or tell someone about what you did so that they can remind you of what actually happened when you wake up next morning (you will be surprised by how many times this has actually helped me). It is quite easy to get lost in our daily routines and forget about unproductive activities which might take 0 minutes but still require effort from your brain nonetheless. Be organized at all times; carry a diary with you which contains important deadlines and appointments.
2. Now it’s time to fill your time with more productive activities!
Make a list of all the things you feel passionate about, then disregard those that actually require a lot of prior knowledge or preparation (such as playing a musical instrument). You can still do these activities but only when you have spare time after completing less demanding tasks.
Create a to-do list based on priority
Schedule essential tasks in the morning.
Take time to write down ideas and capture thoughts, even if they are unrelated to what you are working on at that moment. This will help you ignite your imagination whenever needed.
Work on one job at a time without distraction unless absolutely necessary. It takes discipline but will lead to better results.
Focus on most important tasks first
Do some of your most important tasks as soon as you can. This may be difficult if those tasks are not enjoyable but it will make the rest of the day better.
If you make a habit of working on the most important tasks in the beginning, even when they are hard or unenjoyable, you will build momentum and motivation.
You will feel a sense of accomplishment and feel much more inspired to continue working.
3. Now that you have a sense of direction, it’s time to work on yourself!
You might not believe this but self-discipline is a learned behavior and can be practiced just like any other skill. It requires setting up rules for yourself which you must follow under all circumstances. Start with simple changes such as ‘No fiddling with the phone’ or ‘No going on Instagram when I should be working’. Once those become habitual, start creating rules such as ‘Do at least one productive thing every hour’ or ‘Spend one day per week without social media’. If creating new habits is too much for your brain to handle, try imposing restrictions upon yourself; this way it will learn how to behave in accordance with those restrictions without trying to figure out the underlying logic.
Keep a distraction list to stay focused
Create a list of distractions that you know will lure your attention away from your work. This can include checking social media, taking breaks or going to certain websites.
Avoiding these distractions will help keep your mind on task and make it easier to get in a ‘zone’.
It is best to avoid going too long without a distraction break because this may cause stress and make working feel pointless.
Taking regular breaks for small activities such as stretching or having a drink can refresh the mind and give you time to reflect on what has been accomplished so far.
Do not let yourself be distracted by things outside of your control – do not think negatively about other people’s success or happiness, instead use those feelings as motivation to work harder.
Avoid large distractions
If you have a big problem that needs solving, break it into smaller problems that can be solved independently.
Do not multitask as it does not work well for most people. It’s better to go from one task to the next without distraction except when absolutely necessary.
Stay away from social media if you’re having trouble focusing or need a boost of energy. You may find a post or email notification distracting which is real reason your productivity suffers so much even though you don’t know why.
4. When you have developed a sense of self-discipline, it’s time for an even harder task!
You need to train your brain not to think about doing things that require self-control as they are too difficult and will cause you anxiety so pushing yourself is essential. If you can get over this hurdle, all other hurdles become small bumps in the road.
Try to consciously resist ‘bad’ behavior at least once per day (I know, I know but get over it). Start with relatively easy tasks such as resisting checking social media or answering text messages while commuting on public transportation. Then work your way up gradually by increasing the difficulty level; there is no shame in taking baby steps
Use the 80/20 rule
What is the 80/20 rule?
The 80/20 rule is a business and productivity method which states that around 20% of your actions will lead to 80% of your results and output. You can apply this across your tasks and life in general.
This is also why when getting the hard things over with first, you get so much more accomplished.
Short-term gratification vs long-term benefits
Waiting a little while for a reward or pleasure may be a good idea if it will help you achieve greater things in the future. This can be as simple as going on a short vacation to give yourself a break, finishing off various tasks before heading out for the weekend so they don’t pile up during your free time.
This is not to say that rewarding yourself every once in a while isn’t helpful but depending solely on this method may reduce productivity during times when you really need it.
If you find yourself getting bored or distracted easily, set timers and alarms. Create folders where you label them with the amount of time required to complete each task and go at intervals of 20/30/40 minutes.
This will help keep your focus and make it easier to jump from one task to the next without getting caught up in a social media black hole or another form of procrastination.
To be sure that you are working on the right things, ask yourself these two questions:
– What are my top three priorities for this week?
– Are there any tasks that I can postpone until next week?
It is important to ask yourself these questions every day or at least once a week. This will help you ensure that you are working on the most important things and allow you to plan ahead for when essential tasks might take longer than expected.
5. Break tasks into digestible pieces
One small task doesn’t seem like much but if you break it down into smaller tasks and then take those one at a time, getting through each step until the final result is reached will allow you to feel accomplished and confident which builds momentum.
Be aware of how you work best
Every person has their own unique strengths so knowing your own ‘type’ can help boost your productivity. For example: if you find yourself feeling productive when someone else is telling you what needs to be done next, ask for advice; this should streamline the workflow and make things easier on everyone involved.
If working independently helps you achieve better results, delegate tasks that require other people’s input: this way you won’t spend half of your business day waiting for people to respond or come up with an answer.
Set realistic goals to complete each task
Do not bite off more than you can chew by creating an unrealistic timeline for yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you can do in the given time frame. If this means that something does not get done then it is okay. You should always prioritize your mental health over productivity; otherwise it will become unsustainable and could result in burnout.
Do something that requires concentration every 45 to 50 minutes.
Working for longer than 50 minutes without a break can lead to diminishing returns and errors. Plan your tasks so you have opportunities to take breaks, even if they are just five minutes away.
When you finish one task, look at what is next and ask: “Does this follow logically from the task before?” If not, find where the disconnect occurred and fix it. This will prevent gaps in your work and create better results.
Break down larger goals into manageable chunks: 10% completion every day gets bigger projects done faster.
Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted by email or phone calls unless absolutely necessary. Situations that require urgent attention from you are rare
6. Take breaks
It is important to take regular breaks to allow your mind time to relax. This will help you remain focused for longer periods of time when you get back to work.
Do something that doesn’t require much concentration but allows you a few minutes away from the laptop/desk.
Some good examples are:
– Going for a quick walk or doing a few squats if you can do it without looking too odd walking down the street; this will not only clear your head, but also give your brain some stimulating oxygen should be designed in such a way as to make them inconspicuous and easy where possible. (To avoid any weirdness while walking on the streets think about something unrelated like a pet or your favorite TV show.)
– Going to the kitchen and eating a quick snack; this gives you a chance to recharge as well as fuel yourself up for the next round of work.
It is important that you take some time off from focus intensive tasks if possible, particularly after periods of work that last more than 50 minutes without rest. This will help prevent errors and burnout.
If some tasks need to be done consecutively (like if you do not have enough time during the weekdays), make sure they can be interrupted: Work on one task until it is finished and then move onto another. If it does not interrupt your workflow too much, allow yourself to check emails or phone calls before diving back into your work.
By breaking your tasks up into manageable chunks, you will find it much easier to stay focused and avoid procrastination. This will help you get more done in less time.
Taking regular breaks is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and avoiding burnout caused by overworking yourself. It can be anything that allows you to relax your mind – going outside or doing a short workout are great examples of how you might spend these fifteen minute periods of rest between tasks. This will allow your mind the time it needs to recharge so when it comes back from resting, it can perform at its optimal level throughout the rest of the day/week/month etc.
7. Make fewer decisions
Making decisions and signing things deplete mental energy. Try to make as few decisions as possible; even seemingly little ones like deciding what groceries or clothes to buy can add up. You could also use a digital signature instead of writing your name over and over again, making multiple copies of the same document, etc. It will help you save time as well as mental energy.
Do work that is right for you
Whether it’s because you’re naturally better at it or just have a knack for it, try focusing on tasks that require more skill than focus when you’re tired or unfocused. Find out what works best for you and test different approaches until you know how to manage your energy most efficiently without wasting too much time trying to figure things out.
8. Eliminate inefficient communication
Eliminate back and forth emails by cc’ing people on the relevant documents/emails will save time for both you and whomever receives it.
Do more work in less time
Look at everything you do on a daily basis; find the most common tasks you complete each day; examine them closely to understand how much time is spent on each one, then see if there’s any way to perform them more quickly without sacrificing quality. You can also rearrange your schedule so that these shorter activities are performed when you’re feeling most refreshed.
Be mindful of what does not need to be done right now
We often waste valuable energy focusing on things that don’t need immediate attention or could be put off until later. By taking the time to consider what needs doing now and what could wait until later, you can save yourself some stress.
Skip some meetings
By making meetings shorter, you will save time and energy. It’s helpful to schedule the meetings when everyone can attend so it’s not too hard to ensure that they happen on a regular basis. If you find yourself having extra time after your meetings, revise your agenda to make sure nothing was forgotten or skipped before the next meeting takes place.
9. Find repeatable shortcuts that save time and energy
Find the tasks that you perform over and over again throughout your day, figure out how to do them better, then provide yourself with an automatic shortcut. For example, if you often send the same set of emails after meetings, create a template/folder where it can be easily accessed; this will help avoid spending hours rewriting the same messages every time you need to send them.
Make sure there is enough space between your most important work and interruptions from things like phone calls or emails. A good rule when scheduling tasks is to have at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted focus on high priority items before allowing anything else into your schedule. This way you will not waste hours dealing with little distractions all day long.
10. Don’t multitask
You should avoid multitasking at all costs, especially since this often leads to mistakes and an overall lower quality result. If you need to get more done each day, try focusing on one thing at a time instead. You’ll still be able to accomplish tasks much more quickly this way while avoiding errors along the way.
When you find yourself getting distracted by things like social media or other websites, closing them down can help reduce distractions.
Many people find that they are able to get more done when they work in 25-minute increments. After each period ends, take a five minute break to recharge before moving on to the next task. This type of adherence can be difficult at first, but most people eventually start experiencing positive results after giving it some time.
If there’s any area in your life where you feel like you’re constantly falling behind, whether it’s within your career or home life, try tackling one thing at a time until you’ve finally caught up enough to move forward with something new. While this may seem overwhelming if you don’t have much wiggle room in your schedule, the end result will be worth all of the effort involved as long as you keep at it.
During your daily work, put all of the focus into one specific task until you’re done with it before moving onto the next. If you do this for every thing on your to-do list, you’ll save yourself a lot of time without sacrificing quality or productivity in any way. Don’t spend more than twenty minutes on something unless it’s absolutely necessary since this can make your day take much longer than necessary.
Even if there are certain tasks that you’ve been putting off for weeks or months, starting them up again can seem like an impossible feat once they’re back on your radar after taking a while off. The best way around this issue is to set aside some time specifically for these items during regularly scheduled appointments
11. Manage your energy (not just time)
There’s a lot that goes into being effective throughout the day, but energy levels play a key role in maintaining focus and keeping your mind on track. While it might be one of the most difficult things to control, there are some tactics you can use to keep yourself from getting too drained all of the time.
Many people find that they have an easier time staying focused when they avoid caffeine or other stimulants after noon so that their body starts producing natural feel-good chemicals again instead. If you’re going to go this route, just remember that a cup of coffee every once in a while probably won’t affect your ability to sleep at night as long as you drink enough water throughout the day. You should also consider taking more breaks than usual, since too much downtime can be just as harmful as not enough.
If the majority of your day is consumed by physical tasks that keep you active and moving, try focusing on something with a higher mental demand for at least some of the time. Even if you’re not naturally gifted when it comes to certain kinds of knowledge or skills, taking advantage of idle periods to brush up on some facts or figures before diving back into whatever comes next will help you stay focused once things get more hectic again.
As long as you can find a routine that works for you and allows you to stay productive while reducing unproductive behavior , there shouldn’t be any reason why you wouldn’t want to reap the full benefits from this type of schedule.
12. Get better at saying “no”
By learning from past mistakes and looking out for telltale signs of trouble before they become a major issue , you can significantly cut down on whatever headache-inducing tasks end up taking over your day. Even with all of the best planning in place, it’s easy to realize too late that something was never meant to be — especially if it ends up involving unreasonable expectations or obligations. If you don’t want this type of thing to happen again, make an effort to actively avoid committing yourself before anything is set in stone. Offering your input as much as possible is also a great way to exert some control over what happens next, especially when that means helping others find better alternatives than things they might have come up with on their own otherwise.
It can be pretty difficult to ignore the temptation of saying “yes” when you’re the one who’s usually expected to give a helping hand, but it’s important that you make an effort to prioritize yourself and your time above anyone else. This goes both ways though — if someone asks for your input or advice, don’t hesitate to express whatever concerns you might have before going through with their request even if they insist on doing things their way regardless.
While this might not always be possible in certain cases, try your best to get into the habit of saying “no” more often than not. Even if it seems like something that would end up being more trouble than it’s worth at first glance, remember that nobody should be putting too much pressure on you to handle anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you want to start making a change today then the first thing that you need to do is start keeping track of how often these types of situations pop up and what happens as a result — not just for yourself but for other people around you too. There’s no real way of telling whether or not this will be easy at the moment, but the more effort and research that goes into it, the easier it’ll be to make something work in your favor.
Bottom Line: Becoming More Productive is Hard
When you’re feeling like giving up or starting to feel frustrated, remember that there are people who will always appreciate your work. This should act as a reminder that the difficulty of these projects isn’t entirely your fault and that there’s no need for you to put more strain on yourself by continuing down this path further.
The best part is that everybody can make use of them without having any sort of special expertise. Anybody can use the above suggestions to their advantage and start living a pretty much stress-free lifestyle in which you have plenty of time for yourself without being expected to handle everything under the sun.
The following are 8 steps that were researched by psychologists that will help increase motivation, productivity, and creativity:
Step 1 – Find your drive
Find what motivates you. Why do you want to achieve these goals? What problems are you trying to solve? Why does this matter to you personally? Knowing why you want a certain outcome is a huge step towards achieving it. It gives meaning and purpose to your actions so it’s important to find out what drives your desires before moving forward with them. When we feel our work has purpose, it helps us to persevere in the face of adversity because we believe that our actions are vital to achieve these outcomes.
Step 2 – Set a goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, then you’ll never reach your destination. This is true when it comes to productivity and motivation as well. You need to set a goal that will help motivate and guide your efforts so that they can be focused towards achieving this objective. Without a clear target in sight, we often get overwhelmed by too many things at once and either become paralyzed or try and do everything at once instead of focusing on getting the important stuff done first . Not only does setting goals allow us to prioritize what’s most important for reaching them, but it also helps us to break down tasks into smaller sub-goals that are much easier to handle.
Step 3 – Make plans
When we’re given a task, it’s easy to just start working on it immediately without any idea of what you want to do or how you’re going about doing it. If you don’t have any sort of plan however, then there’s no way for you to know which steps come first and if they’ll even help reach your objective. This leads us back towards the problem of not knowing where we’re going so instead, make plans beforehand so that it can guide your actions and give yourself an idea as to what needs done at each step in order for everything else to fall into place later.
Step 4 – Set a schedule
Now that you know where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, it’s time to decide just what needs to be done when. When will each task be started? How much time is required for each one? If any of these things aren’t realistic then the deadlines attached to them won’t ever be met and this can lead towards feelings of failure, disappointment, and even resentment because we had too many goals with no way of handling them all at once . By setting a schedule however, we can both organize our efforts and ensure they stay on track while we work through them.
Step 5 – Make use of reminders
There are some people who always seem to be able to stay organized while others struggle to remember even the simplest of things. This isn’t a matter of intelligence but rather organization and taking advantage of the tools available to keep yourself on track. A lot of these tools come in the form of simple reminders or notes that can be left for yourself so that you don’t forget what needs done later. Whether it’s setting an alarm on your phone, writing a note on a sticky-note to put somewhere visible, or anything else like this, make use of whatever is most comfortable for you as long as it helps remind you at the appropriate time.
Step 6 – Find others who share your drive
Working with others who have similar goals and motivations can greatly help our efforts towards reaching them. By having somebody to work with, we no longer have to go it alone with our problems so this gives us the motivation necessary to keep moving forward. There are some who say you shouldn’t work with others because it can lead towards jealousy or competition but that’s only true if there’s a problem between you two that isn’t dealt with. If you trust somebody then sharing your goals and working together shouldn’t be an issue by any means, especially when one of those people is yourself.
Step 7 – Keep records of what works
When we fail at something, whether it happens once or several times, it can be easy to lose hope in ever achieving these goals. Instead of letting this happen however, keep track of why things didn’t work out as planned so that you’ll know for next time. When we know what doesn’t work, then it becomes all that much easier to find out what does and will allow us to keep moving forward even when the going gets tough.
Step 8 – Reward yourself
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done! As long as whatever you choose isn’t unhealthy or harmful in some way, feel free to treat yourself with something nice every once in a while so that you can relax a little and let go of any stresses from the past week. These rewards don’t have to be big either since even just taking an hour off from working towards your goals is enough of a break as long as you feel refreshed upon returning! So there you have eight that can help push our efforts towards reaching our goals and finally feeling like we’re in control of the future. Are there any others you’d like to add? Feel free to mention them in the comments below!
The road towards reaching one’s goals can be long and difficult, full of twists and turns that can sometimes leave us shaken or even lost. However by following a few simple tips, we can not only find our way but also do so in a manner that is quick and efficient as well! So don’t despair if you’ve been struggling to get where you want to go – just take a look at this list for some inspiration today!
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