What is your take on your own productivity? Would you want to increase it even more?
Productivity is always a priority in today’s competitive and hectic work environment. You want to spend your quality time as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Here are 20 tips that I use to increase my productivity. Please note that not all of the tips will work for you.
You may find that some of the tips works better for you and some of them don’t. Experiment and see which ones fits your needs:
1. Be Totally Focused On What You Are Doing:
Close off all distractions around you: YouTube, Linkedin, Internet and email. You should devote 100% of your concentration on the task before you.
2. Understand The 80/20 Rule or The Pareto Principle And Apply This to Your Daily Life.
The Pareto principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, where he coined this term after numerous observations that leads him to conclude that roughly 20% of action contribute to 80% of results.
So do a quick review and asses where in your work or daily activities you got the most result: which 20% activities are contributing to your 80% of results.
Any extraneous and redundant activities should then be reduced.
An excellent book on this particular phenomenon is the book by Richard Koch: The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less (book version) or Living the 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More (kindle version).
3. Find Ways to Relax Your Mind
This doesn’t mean you have to sit down cross legged and chant mantras all day. Any activities that contribute to relaxing and calming your mind is going to work. For example for me it would be taking a bubble bath while listening to some peaceful Enya music.
For my husband it is chilling out by playing some games with his friends on his iPad.
Find out what are the key activities that have the ability to clear your mind and relieve stress and incorporate them as part of your daily schedule. It can be reading a book, playing with your pet, doing prayers, chanting, meditating, playing piano, singing Karaoke, dancing or cooking.
If you are stuck in your thinking process or need to brainstorm, open a MS word document or even better, use a journaling software to dump all your ideas off your mind. I currently use The Journal for writing down ideas, problems and daily encounters.
The act of writing is very helpful in formulating your thoughts and helps you free your mind of too many haphazard ideas. Putting them on paper (or computer screen) would make your ideas more concrete and tangible and give you the opportunity to draw mind maps or decisions trees out of it.
5. Take A Walk Or Go To Another Room In The House
Get up and go to your living room if you are working in your bedroom. Or go to the kitchen to fetch something to drink or grab a snack. Or take a scroll around the block. If you couldn’t find motivation or inspiration to work on something then you need to take a break and do something “distracting” before you sit down again for work.
You might gain a new angle on your problem or come up with new ideas for it.
6. Do Things When You Are Motivated
Don’t force yourself to do work for the sake of working. My approach to writing is if I have a idea, I will start right away and start typing into my WordPress editor. But usually after completing around 50-60% of the blog article, I will hit a plateau and couldn’t think of anything to write about.
Then I will let it sitting on my computer for a couple of days while I will start other potential blog posts. And when the inspiration hits I go back again to the first article and write some more. My post 28 Tips To Get The Most Out of Life took me 5 days to write because my ideas came in spurs throughout the week.
7. Create A Time Box
Parkinson’s law states that: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. That is why it is so important to track and write down your time spent throughout the day and have an accurate understanding of how long each project takes to get it completed.
Use a timer to track: I use e.ggtimer to track my time spent on work and projects.
8. Take Full Advantage of Time Breaks Throughout The Day
If you are commuting or waiting in line, you can do brainstorming or reply to emails using your smartphone or tablet. Or even catch up on a book that you have been reading are all ways to maximize your time pockets throughout the day.
9. Create A System
I mentioned this before in my post #9: How to create a system. Use a proven and systematic way to automate the mundane tasks as much as possible such as filing papers and replying to emails. For instance, for writing posts, I have a mini step by step guide on brainstorming, headline and body writing, and doing research.
The goal is to minimize the time spent on thinking on the “how to” of approaching any project or work.
10. Carry A Notebook And Jot Down Every Idea that pops into your mind and work on them if you feel inspired.
Sometimes your inspiration for ideas or solutions can come in the most unexpected places so be prepared to write them down if they pop up.
11. Brighten Up Your Office/Work Space.
Don’t overlook the atmosphere of your work environment. Does it look bland? Does it look too dark? Brighten it up with lights, posters and bright colors. The environment should inspire your creativity and productivity.
12. Create A To Do List.
That is why I create Prosperity To Do List :). I love to do lists for the simple reason that it is concise, practical and to the point. Remember to have a plan and strategy in place before you write down a to do list. Creating a to do list is essentially the execution of your strategy/plan.
13. Reduce TV Watching Time.
14. Ask For Help or Outsource
If the task is very difficult or it takes you a inordinate amount of time to complete it, consider asking your friends who has relevant knowledge for help or outsource it. For instance if I want to improve my blog’s design I rather pay for it than attempting to do it myself.
15. Multitask on repetitive chores.
If the task on hand doesn’t require you to be cerebral, then it might be time saving to do them at once: For me it is cleaning the house and watching TV/listening to music at the same time.
16. Have everything ready the night before:
it could be your folders, car keys, backpack, suitcase, your outfit etc.. so you can just grab them and head for the door to work the next day.
17. Set your clock 10-15 minutes ahead of time:
I learn this tip from my aunt; all her clocks and watches are set 20 minutes AHEAD of time and then she pretends that that is the actual time to go to work, set appointments, meet up with friends etc.
18. Don’t Always Say Yes
Learn to say no or say that you need time to think it over. It will cut down a lot of time wasters or mindless pursuits.
19. Have A Plan In Place
With a long term plan you know exactly where you are going. Don’t just dive right into your projects but use strategies or do research on what tools and information you need to make it succeed. Strategy comes first before execution.
20. Find A Mentor
Learn from the best in your field and that also includes their strategies for improved productivity.
If you have any strategies for increasing your productivity, feel free to share in the comments below 🙂