Productivity is the art of doing more of what’s important in less time than usual.
There are different ways to be more productive, and the following are the ten ways I most use to maintain a high quality standard of productivity in what I do.
1. Avoid distractions
Distractions don’t add value to your work. Learn to procrastinate on low value activities (how awesome is that?) and spend your energies doing high quality activities.
2. Remove items from your ToDo list
Chances are that you have a lot of stuff in your todo list, yet most of them are probably things that are not really important to you. Try to clean up your todo list and leave just a few tasks that’ll make the difference in your work.
Hint: apply the 80/20 rule.
3. Read emails only twice per day
There’s no reason why you should check emails every 10 minutes. Check them only twice per day and never first thing in the morning. If you think that the world will end if you don’t check your emails, setup an autoresponder that says that you’ll read emails only at 11am and 16pm and that you have a phone number for critical emergencies.
4. Wake up early
Waking up early has been proven to be an excellent productivity tip. If you wake up early in the morning you can go out for a run and then feel great for the rest of the day. If you want to try this habit I suggest you to set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every few days.
5. Do important things early in the morning
Now that you wake up early and you don’t check emails straight away, it’s time for you to do the important things. As a general rule, pick the two or three most important tasks from your todo list and commit to do nothing else until you get them done.
6. Use single focus and don’t multi-task
Turn off notifications and work on a single task if you want to maximize your productivity. Scientists agree that our brain does not function well when we try to multi-task, so don’t try to work against it.
7. Set a time limit
It’s very hard to maintain focus for long periods of time. I usually set a time limit of 25 minutes in every activity I do and then I take a five minutes break to let my brain and muscles relax. This particular technique is called pomodoro technique, and it works very well. Try it!
8. Plan the day before
Planning the day before is a dirty trick I started to use only lately. Basically the idea is that when I plan my activities the day before, I set higher goals because I’m optimistic about the day that will come. As a result I have a very focused and high quality work to do every day, and I have no reason to procrastinate.
9. Say no
Learn to say no to things that you don’t want to do. There’s no reason to do something that has no value to you, and if you do it anyway, you may end up doing a poor job which is usually worse than doing nothing. Another great tip is to delegate your tasks to other people, assuming that you have the opportunity to do so. Learn to delegate the unimportant tasks first, so you can focus in your real business.
10. Take breaks often
You are not a robot, and you need to take some time to rest. Take a break at least every hour, but don’t use it for checking emails. Instead go outside a few minutes and enjoy some fresh hair, you’ll be amazed by how powerful is this. Give it a try.
You don’t have to apply all these tips from day one, as you would probably feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Try to take one tip at a time and see how they work for you.
When you apply productivity concepts you also have to remember that your goal is to do less and enjoy life more. There’s no reason to be more productive if you’ll have to work more hours at the end of the day.
Now, I’m looking to you for some wisdom:
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