Your productivity is basically a measure of how efficiently you complete tasks. For example, when you are more productive at work, you are able to get more done. Typically, that means you’ll also produce higher quality work on the job.
In addition to your work performance, productivity skills can help with many aspects of your personal life as well. You won’t waste as much time, and you will be more effective at accomplishing your goals. In this post, we’ll outline some essential tips you can use right away to boost your productivity.
1. Remove Distractions
Distractions are the number one issue when it comes to productivity. While technology was designed to make life simpler, it has also brought numerous interruptions to the average person’s already-full schedule. For instance, instead of just checking your work emails after arriving at the office, do you also need to check your social media accounts, instant messenger apps, personal emails, and other online platforms?
The internet is a fantastic resource, and for many, a source of income. How can you separate the multiple distractions it poses yet remain focused on the task at hand? The first step is to become aware of just how much time you spend glued to your phone or other connected devices. Be brutally honest with yourself. Next, resolve to do something about it. Many apps are available that can help you monitor your screen time and assist in lessening interference from outside sources.
Finally, set boundaries. If you know you need uninterrupted quiet time to get something accomplished, put a note on your cubicle or office door (at work or home) that you will be unavailable for a set time. Inform your coworkers or family of your intent to focus on a task and ask them not to interrupt. There is nothing wrong with stating your needs. If your spouse, kids, or colleagues try to talk to you while working on a project, politely tell them that you are too busy to chat.
2. Start Thinking Smarter
A big part of boosting your productivity is about developing a more productive mindset. Thinking smarter is about making the most of your resources, as well as your time, effort, and energy. It takes time to transition to a new way of thinking, so be patient with yourself. Here are some of the most important traits of a productive mindset:
- Don’t let your lack of information about a task keep you stuck. Be willing to ask questions and explore new concepts and ideas.
- Motivate yourself to spend your time more efficiently by using tools like timers, mind-mapping, and daily planners.
- Visualize your goals – and think about the steps needed to achieve them. Picture your preferred outcome and what it will feel like to have accomplished your project.
- Have more self-confidence in your own abilities. You are likely much more capable than you think you are.
- Be persistent. Don’t give up until the job is done. Once you prove to yourself that you can follow through with something, every challenge after that will become easier.
- Find the right work-life balance to avoid career burnout. All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you take time out to enjoy the people and the activities you love.
3. Develop Better Time Management Strategies
When you don’t plan your day, it’s easy to get behind on your responsibilities and feel overwhelmed. This is true whether you have a job, do online gigs for cash, or you’re taking care of a family. Consider taking free surveys for cash if you have extra time and want to make extra money. Luckily, if you learn to manage your time effectively, you can complete all your tasks with ease.
Get a planner and start using it. There are calendars and planners to match nearly any personality type, from thick, heavy, three-ring binders that help you organize your life down to the last detail to basic lined notebooks. The system you choose matters less than your ability to implement it and use the tools at your disposal.
A word of warning about trying to do too much at once: while you might think multitasking will help you get more done, many people actually boost their productivity by focusing all their effort on a single task at a time. A big part of stepping up your productivity is about planning your day wisely. Write down everything that you need to do. Then, assign yourself a certain amount of time for each task. Adjust as necessary.
4. Declutter Your Life
Clutter can include both physical and mental things that negatively impact your productivity. For example, you might have a disorganized workspace that makes it hard to find what you need when you need it. A messy house could make you feel overwhelmed, depressed, and not knowing where to begin. If your clutter is running the show, it’s time to take control. Here’s how:
- Deal with piles of paperwork head-on. Then, create a good filing system, so it doesn’t get away from you again.
- Keep your workspace clear of any unnecessary items. Empty space is okay. It helps fuel creativity
- Delete old emails so they don’t fill up your inbox. While you’re at it, unsubscribe to all those newsletters you no longer read.
- Develop a household cleaning schedule or chore chart and stick to it. Enlist the other members of your household to pitch in.
- Get rid of items you no longer need. If you can’t part with the excess just yet, pack the stuff away in bins and store it out of sight.
5. Practice Healthy Habits
Believe it or not, your productivity level can be tied to your overall health and well-being. Many people don’t even realize their unhealthy habits are having such a profound effect on their productivity at work or at home. You don’t need a complete overhaul; simply get back to basics.
Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Eat a well-balanced diet with all the right nutrients. If you smoke, try to quit. If you drink a lot, cut back or consider abstinence. Make sure you get plenty of exercises too. The healthy habit tip alone can boost your energy levels immediately, allowing you to get more done. You may even surprise yourself!
6. Focus on the Most Important Tasks
Being busy isn’t the same as being productive. The most productive people focus their time and energy on their most important tasks. Not everyone was born with the ability to prioritize, but it’s a skill that anyone can learn.
Write down everything that you typically do during the day, along with a list of everything you want to accomplish. Go through the list and put a number next to each task by order of importance, with number one being the most urgent and number three being the least critical.
Identify those tasks which—if you put them off—will have negative consequences. Paying bills, going to the dentists, doing your homework, or remembering your anniversary fall into this category. Basically, if you are procrastinating about something, there’s a good chance it needs to go in the high-priority category.
Once you’ve tackled your most vital tasks, you can move on to less urgent activities. It may take hours, days, or even weeks, but once you get a handle on it, you’ll be able to prioritize like a pro. Don’t forget to ask for help if you get overwhelmed.
7. Reward Yourself
Finally, everything has a dark side, even productivity. If you are trying to do too much, you risk suffering from burnout that can adversely affect your physical and mental health. While productivity is typically seen as an admirable trait, Even the most productive people need to find ways to reward themselves and stay inspired.
Treat yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant after finishing a big project, or plan to play a round of golf with your buddies on your day off. The important thing is that you choose a reward you can look forward to and enjoy.