8 ways to dial up your productivity
In a busy world full of busy people with busy to-do-lists, it can be hard to find time for what’s important. Working days can get longer and longer, leaving less time for what actually matters to you. Worst of all, constant busyness can lead to burnout.
If you find yourself wondering where time is going and getting to the end of the day without completing what you’ve set out to do, it’s time to dial up your productivity.
You can do more in less time.
Boosting your productivity is not about loading even more onto your to-do list, but rather simplifying your life, getting intentional with your time and making smart use of it.
You’ll create more time for what’s important and do less of what’s not.
1. Get clear on your goals
Before you can start making your life more productive, it’s essential to have clear goals that ensure you know what you need to be focusing on. Whether you work in a company or run your own, it’s also important to understand employer or customer goals so you deliver what’s required and don’t waste time on activities that have no impact.
Want to set great goals that will transform your life? Try these goal-setting tips.
2. Set daily priorities
With your mind focused on clear goals, it’s easier to make decisions around what you need to do. Not what you could or should do but what you must do. These are the things that will have the greatest impact on achieving your goals and getting the success you desire.
Begin with these handy tips on how to prioritise. This will help you get clear on what to do first, what to schedule, what to delegate and what to delete from your life.
Setting one to three personal priorities a day will keep you focused and help you get the most out of it. Write your priorities down in your planner daily and keep it in view.
3. Think big but start small
When you’ve got something important to do, especially if it’s a big task, procrastination can creep in. This is your mind’s sneaky way of escaping reality to reduce overwhelm.
Procrastination is the thief of dreams, so how do you beat it?
The most effective way is to commit to completing a mini step that takes no more than five to ten minutes. The best mini steps should make you feel ‘I can do that’.
Want to write a chapter of a book? Tell yourself you’ll start with just 100 words. Want to walk five miles? Tell yourself you’ll begin with just 5 minutes outside. Need to contact ten potential customers? Tell yourself you’ll make just one phone call. By the time this is done, you’ll have created momentum and you should feel you can keep going.
How many of your big tasks could begin with a mini step? Take one and give it a go.
4. Make positive action easy
To make it even easier to get started on the important things, make it convenient to do the things you need to do and inconvenient to do the things that will hold you back.
If you want to go for a run in the morning, for example, lay your running gear, trainers and house key by your bed in the evening so they’ll be there waiting for you first thing.
If you want to stop getting distracted by social media, put your phone in another room, turn off notifications or make use of one of the distraction-blocking apps available.
5. Play to your productivity clock
Some people thrive by joining the ‘5am club’ and getting ahead of the day; others are night owls that are buzzing when others are winding down. We’re all different.
Get to know when you’re naturally more alert and when you complete certain tasks best. When is it easier to concentrate on planning, detail work or creative tasks, for example?
Keep a notebook close by for a week. Record when you feel awake, when you’re most motivated to complete certain tasks and, equally, when you feel tired and unfocused.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try getting up at different times, changing your schedule around and tackling activities in different orders. Make a note of the impact.
Once you’ve figured out your productivity clock, design your days around it.
6. Avoid productivity crushers
Observing yourself and recording insights in a notebook can help you identify the things that crush your productivity, such as stressful conversations, bad news or creative block.
Once you’ve identified your ‘productivity crushers’, you can avoid them.
If stressful conversations affect your motivation, would it help you to avoid all phone calls before and during an important task? If bad news affects you, could you avoid watching or reading the headlines at certain times of day? If creative block is the issue, could you use your notebook to collect ideas that you can draw upon when you’re feeling uninspired?
Some people who work in fields where the day can be unpredictable find that it helps to complete their personal priorities before the ‘work day’ begins or after it is over.
7. Reflect often
Regular reflection creates an opportunity to observe what’s working for you and what you need to adjust to remain at peak productivity.
Remember, life is constantly changing. Reflection will make you conscious of this, enabling you to tweak your approach so you’ll remain at your best.
8. Take time out
It’s a myth that long hours mean greater productivity. Use your planner to schedule in time for your wellbeing and relationships so life is not all work, work, work.
Great balance is the foundation to success. It’ll keep you fresh.
Make time for breaks too. Proper breaks. Regularly recharging your body and mind will keep them performing at their best. Holidays also make motivational rewards!
By being intentional every day, you really can achieve more in less time.