Simple Steps to Increase Productivity
Many people have a hard time focusing, being productive and getting everything they want to do, whether working from home or in the office.
You don’t have to rely on willpower, productivity tools, or a gallon of coffee, just a few simple, powerful strategies that have helped you increase productivity and achieve great results. Then it will help.
Get rid of the most common productivity killers.
Making unproductive routines more “efficient” does not increase productivity. So, before using a new productivity app, website blocker, calendar app, or time tracking tool, get rid of the common things that hinder productivity first.
Avoid email, social media, or the news first thing in the morning.
76% of people check their phones within the first 30 minutes of the day. 55% of Americans check email before going to work.
However, checking your emails and messages early in the day will overwhelm you with all sorts of stress and tasks before you reach your goals. Worse news makes people feel more negative, stressed, and pessimistic. It further affects productivity.
Ultimately, productivity is about achieving your highest priorities effectively and efficiently. But if you start your day while checking Instagram, you haven’t taken a step towards your goal and you’re already filling your mind with distracting things, none of which will help you get your biggest job done.
Instead, set a strong precedent for your day and protect your mental and emotional energy so you can do your best later.
No matter how hard you try, if you get a notification every few minutes on your phone or computer, you can’t focus on what you’re doing. Then, when you get back to what you were doing, you waste a lot of time getting back to the same level of productivity before you get distracted.
A simple solution is to create better boundaries when working. Turn off email notifications on your computer, close useless tabs or apps, set your phone to airplane mode and start right away.
Dominate the most important times of the day.
It’s easy to be productive. Conquer the first 3 hours after waking up. This is usually the most creative, focused and energetic period.
Study confirms that the brain, especially the frontal cortex, is the most active and easily creative right after sleep. During sleep, the subconscious mind wanders loosely, creating a temporal connection with the situation. So right after sleep your mind is most active to do thoughtful things.
That is why it is very important to protect the morning and make use of that time. Even if you are not the “morning person” or “early-wake person”, having a concentrated breakfast will set a strong precedent for the rest of the day.
First, do a strong morning routine for a few minutes at the start of the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated or long, but do things like meditate, walk, read inspiring things, write goals, and more to help you stay focused, inspired, and feel momentum.
Spending time getting ready to work in the morning may seem counterintuitive, but those few minutes will change your productivity. When you start working, you have a tremendous momentum to stop any project.
Second, avoid too many insignificant decisions and do the same simple things every day. That’s really the secret of elite athletes. They do the same boring routine every day. They eat the same food, do the same exercise, and warm up the same.
Again, morning is the most productive and focused time. Don’t waste your mental energy on small decisions. We have limited mental performance to a high level every day, so use it for what’s important to you and put the little details of your life on autopilot.
Set better priorities with the 80/20 rule.
People who struggle with productivity usually have a hard time prioritizing. Everything is urgent for them, so they will do the work in any order. At the end of the day, you can get a lot of work done, but there will be very few results.
Instead, use the 80/20 rule to help you prioritize, which explains that 80% of the output comes from about 20% of the input. In terms of productivity, it simply means that only 20% of the work generates 80% of the results.
Of all the operations, only a few are incurring the “biggest cost”. Pick the three most important things and put them on top. Then don’t touch the other items in the list until you’ve finished three.
To find the top 3 tasks, ask yourself the following question: “What are the three things I can survive if I’ve done it but don’t do anything else? What are the three things that will have the greatest impact on my life?”
You can use up to three hours of high-quality mental energy per day, so doing the highest priority tasks first will help you do the best possible tasks and get the best results every day.
Make the job overall small.
Most of the people I’m talking about think they’re unproductive because they’re lazy, lack willpower, or can’t concentrate. But in general, I found the reason a lot simpler. For example, here’s a to-do list:
Build a new website
Instead, it breaks down the task into specific, actionable steps that can be completed in less than an hour. For example, you can do “write an outline”, “write 200 words”, etc. instead of “write an article”. Specific, actionable and measurable.
Making tasks smaller allows you to complete more tasks in less time and gain momentum and confidence. Also, you can actually see the finish line instead of getting overwhelmed by the big ones with small ones.
Use time limits to increase productivity.
You’ve done small things in a week, but do those “little things” take you all week?
There is a law for it. This is called Parkinson’s law. Basically, if you take some time to complete a task, it takes that time, no matter 20 minutes, 2 hours or 2 weeks.
That’s why if you want to be more productive, you really need to reduce the time to complete the task. Set aggressive deadlines and increase both speed and quality. You can get things done a lot faster and do better because you can focus entirely on meeting tight deadlines.
Save more time by “batching” your work.
Email is a big part of our business today. On average, people spend 28% of their work hours reading and responding to emails, and on average they check emails or messages every 6 minutes.
But every time you check your email, you waste time refocusing on what you did before. That’s why doing this is a lot more productive. Check all emails and messages only 1-3 times a day.
Tim Ferriss calls this “batch processing”. Instead of checking your email countless times throughout the day and reducing productivity, you get rid of all waste by “batching” it at a certain amount of time.
If you need to constantly check your emails in a task, try the next solution. In my iPhone’s Mail app, I set it to only see the sender and subject, not the preview row of the email.
This way, if you need to check your emails frequently, at least not be distracted by non-critical emails, you can check from customers or bosses, or if something really matters about an important topic.
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