Being productive is important in all areas of our lives. Whether it be at home, in a career, or wherever you are doing something that needs to be done. However, most people aren’t as productive as they can be. Why? Because they simply don’t understand what productivity is and how to be productive throughout their days.
This post will go deep into productivity. In the end, you will understand what productivity is and you will be equipped with many tips, tricks, and suggestions to make your days and weeks more productive than you ever thought possible.
What is Productivity?
According to the Business Dictionary, Productivity is defined as:
“A measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.”
In plain English, productivity is your ability to get things done in an efficient and timely way without wasting time.
What Affects Productivity?
How productive and efficient you are can be affected by many factors, both negatively and positively. Let’s take a look at some of those factors now.
- Your Health: If you are not in good health, your productivity will show signs. You will not have a clear state of mind, and you will not “feel like” doing much when your health is poor.
- Your Sleep Habits: Sleep affects productivity and if you aren’t getting the required hours your body needs, your productivity will suffer. No one can be productive when they are tired. A sleepy mind is not alert enough to be productive. According to Inc., cutting down to five or six hours of sleep a night drops your productivity by 19 percent loss at work the next day.
- Your Attention Span: Knowing how long you can stay focused on a task will help you plan your time better. If your attention span is short then you should schedule shorter spurts of focused time.
- Distractions: It is almost impossible to be efficient and focused when you are constantly being distracted. Learning what distracts you and eliminating those distractions will increase your ability to be productive.
- Hunger and Dehydration: Being hungry and/or dehydrated will also cause your productiveness to slack. In other words, eat normal meals and always have a quick pick me up snack available. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water regularly.
- Levels of Support: Everyone needs support at some point. Consider an accountability partner. Just find someone you can go to when you feel stuck that will help motivate and encourage you in your journey.
How To Increase Productivity
We cannot get back lost time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day. So we must learn to use our time wisely. The following tips will help you step up your productivity game.
Start Your Morning With Focus and Routine
Every morning should start with a positive mindset. Therefore, a great suggestion for starting your mornings positive is to establish a specific morning routine. For example, you may wanna check out The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
Make Reasonable To-Do Lists
It always feels great to cross things off our to-do list. But having too many items on our list may feel a bit overwhelming. Limit that to-do list to only the tasks that are priorities.
The rest of the items can go on a master to-do list that you can pick and choose from later.
Group Similar Tasks Together
If you have tasks that can be combined with others, group them into a project and set a specific time to work on that project only.
Pick One Task and Focus On It Until It Is Done
Whatever task you choose to work on, stay on it. Don’t stray from the task at hand. Above all, don’t allow for distractions. If you have an email to write, write the entire email until you are done.
If you have to come back to a previously started task later, you won’t be focused right away and you could waste valuable time trying to regain your focus.
Take Breaks Regularly
No one should work straight through 8 hours. It is not healthy. Therefore, try to work for a set time then take at least a 15-minute break. Go for a walk, meditate, or just walk away from the task at hand.
Overworking kills productivity because eventually, your mind loses focus. Taking a break is like a refresher for your mind to reboot and get back into the game.
Trying to do more than one thing at once may be quite a talent but it is never beneficial to your productivity. Swapping between tasks will allow you to lose focus. According to Very Well Mind, “multitasking, or switching from one task to another makes it difficult to tune out distractions and can cause mental blocks that can slow you down. “
Multitasking was the old school way of being productive but studies have proven that this is no longer the best way to be efficient.
Tackle The Most Challenging Tasks At Peak Hours
Everyone has a time of day that they are most productive. It is that time when your mind is at its best and you can focus. For some people, it is early in the morning, and for others, it may be in the evening.
Figure out your best productive time and schedule the hardest and most demanding tasks for that time.
Follow the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule of productivity says that 80% of the results you achieve come from 20% of your doings. This is known as the Pareto Principle.
Know Your Main Goals
If you are clear and focused on your main goals then it will be easy to determine whether your tasks are a priority or not. Take each task you have and ask yourself whether doing that task will get you closer to your main goals.
If the answer is yes then proceed with the task. If the answer is no, however, move that task to the master list. Staying within the tasks that advance you closer to your goals will provide much more results.
Make Yourself Accountable To Someone
Having to be accountable for your progress towards your goals is a great way to increase your productivity. Find someone to share your goals with and how you plan to get there. Then give them deadlines for when you want to complete the tasks that are necessary.
By holding yourself accountable you will tend to make those tasks more of a priority to be completed. Remember that term paper in school? When you knew the deadline was coming you worked harder to get it done right? Same principle.
Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART Goals
Having SMART goals will enhance your productivity. SMART goals are defined as:
- S: Specific (focused, detailed)
- M: Measurable (has the means to be measured for success)
- A: Attainable (can realistically be achieved)
- R: Relevant (pertaining to what you are wanting to achieve)
- T: Timely (has a set deadline and milestones)
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Declutter and Throw Stuff Away
Having to much stuff can be a distraction. Therefore, clean off that desk or work area. Get rid of anything you do not need. Make space to work productively.
Having to look for that note or paperwork just takes unnecessary time. And wasting time means lower productivity levels. Do you need 20 pens and the stapler and all of the various other things on your desktop?
Put It On Your Calendar
One of the best ways to increase your productivity is to place those tasks on your calendar. It can be in a written planner, a digital calendar, a wall calendar or an app on your smartphone, but put it in there!
Placing it on a calendar or in a planner tells our brains that this is a priority and needs to be completed. It is another way of holding yourself accountable.
Creating habits will allow you to naturally complete your tasks. If you schedule 2 hours every morning at the same time to complete certain tasks, they will become routine. Above all, you will start to automatically do tasks at that time each day.
Make it a habit to update your to-do list each night and reviewing it each morning. In other words, by creating habits to accomplish tasks, we make it easy for our brains to concentrate on a task and expect to work at those times.
Ask For Help
You don’t know everything. No one does. It is okay to ask for help. Sometimes we just need another person’s point of view or input to complete a task.
Find a handful of people with different backgrounds and skillsets to have on hand when you are having a difficult time. Then reach out to them when you need help.
Automate Or Delegate Everything You Can
You don’t have to do everything! Is there a task you can have someone else do for you? If so, let them do it.
Can you automate any of your tasks? Many bloggers use social media schedulers such as Smarter Queue or Hootsuite to post regularly for them to save time during the week. So, find ways to automate the simple tasks to free up time for you. Consequently, you will be more productive with the tasks that can’t be automated.
Be Prepared To Fail
No one is perfect. Consequently, we all try things that just don’t work the way we want them to. However, that’s okay. Just have a backup plan.
Remember, the most successful people have failed many times before they succeeded.
Productivity Tools and Apps
There are so many tools and apps available to help you. From apps for the smartphone to software programs and courses, there is something for everyone. Below I have listed the best of the best tools and apps that can help you.
Remember, however, not every tool or every app works for everyone. You have to figure out what works best for you.
Apps For The iPhone
- Workflow Workflows combine a bunch of steps across apps into a single tap. Collect workflows like these to save time and effort every day
- Streaks A ToDo list that helps you form good habits
- Planner Pro A personal organizer app
- Paper 3.0 Sticky notes for the iPhone
- Wunderlist ToDo List and Tasks
- OmniFocus The most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.
- Todoist 10 for IOS To-Do List and Tasks
- 30/30 incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.
- Asana Project Management Software
Apps for an Android
- Evernote Allows you to capture, and organize your ideas on the go. Other capabilities include being able to attach documents, audio, and much more.
- Workflowy Best tool for taking notes and making lists.
- PomoDone Productivity Countdown timer to apply a timeboxing methodology for your Todoist™, Trello™, Wunderlist™, Asana™, Evernote™, Slack, Microsoft™ To-Do and Microsoft™ Outlook Tasks, Google Calendar, etc.
- Voice Recorder Best recorder for sound recording with high quality
- Wunderlist ToDo list and Tasks
- Hootsuite Social Media Scheduler
- Google Drive Allows you to store information from Gmail and Google Photos
Productivity Courses and Videos
- Udemy online courses on productivity, time management
- Linda.com Another online source for productivity courses among others
- Coursera.com A great number of courses on productivity
- Franklin Covey Superb amount of Productivity Lessons, tasks and practice
Productivity Books (free downloads)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
- Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen
- The Four-Hour Workweek by Time Ferriss
- Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
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