How has your productivity been today? Are you satisfied? Do you wish it could have been better? When we work more productively we feel better and accomplish more. Getting more stuff done of course means that we move closer to the attainment of our goals and objectives. Higher levels of productivity can also help us gain valuable time to focus on other things besides work. Work-life balance is of course so very important in this day and age. But how exactly can we improve our productivity? There are of course plenty of productivity hacks out there, but possibly only nine that will make a significant difference.
1) USE CHECKLISTS, A CALENDAR AND A TASK LIST
When it comes to improving productivity, you’re only as good as the tools you use. Use the right tools, in the right way, and they will immediately help improve your effectiveness and efficiency throughout the day. When it comes to productivity, there are three tools in particular that are of most value. These tools include task lists, calendars and checklists. Use task lists to prioritize key tasks and projects you will work on each day. Use a calendar to schedule specific blocks of time for completing these tasks and projects. Use checklists to systematize and accelerate your workflow as you work through each individual task.
2) ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
Using the right tools is a great start, however they will end up being quite useless if you’re unable to separate yourself from distractions that interrupt your workflow. There are specifically two types of distractions that you must address. The first are external distractions, and the second are internal distractions. External distractions include people, noise, smells, physical discomfort, and visual stimuli that interfere with your ability to focus. On the other hand, internal distractions come as thoughts and emotions that affect your ability to concentrate. Be ruthless when dealing with these distractions.
3) FOCUS ON THE BIG ROCKS
In order to improve your productivity, you must commit yourself to working smarter, not harder. This is of course all about effective prioritization. Specifically it’s about focusing on the things that matter most. These are of course the big rocks, or in other words, the tasks and activities that have the greatest long-term payoffs. Yes, you can certainly focus on all the little things. They will no doubt keep you very busy. However, what true long-term value do these activities have? Consider also the opportunity cost. Focusing on the little stuff means that you may run out of time for the big stuff. What could that cost you in the long-run?
4) BE TASK EFFICIENT
Now that you have your priorities in order, it’s time to work through your tasks more efficiently. Productivity is of course first and foremost about working smarter. But in order to work smarter, you must utilize your time more effectively. One way to do that is to group related tasks together and then work through them within fixed time slots. This will save you the trouble of working through similar tasks several times per day. This is of course quite beneficial as it helps you avoid falling into the multi-tasking trap. Multi-tasking involves dividing you attention between two different types of tasks, which often ends up hurting productivity.
5) WORK WITH PURPOSE
Improving productivity isn’t purely about what you do and how you go about accomplishing those tasks. It’s also about the mindset you bring to each task. Specifically it’s all about working with a sense of purpose, a deep desire, and a passion for getting the job done. When you work with purpose all your energy and efforts are aligned in one direction. This naturally helps you to stay focused for longer. However, working with purpose requires an understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing. It also requires getting very clear about the true long-term value you will gain from working through each task.
6) USE A TIMER
One of the best and fastest ways to immediately improve your levels of productivity comes in the form of a timer. A timer is an incredibly effective tool because it helps create a sense of urgency. When we work with no deadline, we are more at ease and kind of relax our way into our work routine. However, when there is an imminent deadline on the horizon, that is when we muster up the extra energy we need to get stuff done in record time. With that in mind, schedule all your tasks into specific time slots, then set a timer for completing each task. This will provide you with that extra urgency you need to get stuff done.
7) BE TECH SAVVY
These days, there are an incredible array of tech tools that are designed to help us work more productively and stay focused on our highest priority activities. The goal of these tools is of course to simplify our lives, and to systematize and streamline our workflow. You could of course ignore what’s out there and just focus on using traditional productivity tools such as calendars, task lists and checklists. Technology can however enhance all these tools and provide you with more efficient ways of managing and tracking your progress. However, use technology with caution. As great as it is, it can also very quickly become a distraction.
8) MAKE WORK FUN
n order to sustain high levels of productivity over the long-run, it’s important that you stay sufficiently motivated. One of the best ways to do that is to make work fun and exciting. For instance, instead of dreading going through that budget report, why not turn it into a game and challenge yourself to complete it within a certain time frame. Or how about pretending that you are a secret agent on a mission to unlock a secret code that is found within that report. Or what about stimulating some friendly competition between you and your workmates. By making things fun, work no longer feels like a chore, but rather more like playtime.
9) TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
Working for hours on end, is certainly admirable. But is it really sensible? Does working for longer mean that we will achieve more at the end of the day? Well actually, it doesn’t. Research has found that we can sustain high levels of focus and concentration for short bursts at a time. After this period, our focus and concentration dwindle, until we reach a point where we start to feel mentally fatigued. This subsequently makes us more susceptible to distractions, which of course diminishes our levels of productivity. To avoid falling into this trap, it can be helpful to spend 25 minutes working, and 5 minutes resting every cycle.
So there you have it. Those are the nine productivity hacks that will help improve your effectiveness and efficiency throughout the day. Now it’s up to you to put them into action in your own life.
To begin with, select one productivity hack that you feel will have the biggest impact on improving your productivity. Now carefully introduce it into your workflow and routine. Test it out, make some tweaks, and fully integrate it into your life. Once you feel comfortable with this change, choose another hack and then integrate that into your workflow as well.
If you stick with it, and continue implementing these productivity hacks into your life, then progressively over time you will establish new habits and patterns of behavior that will help you to work more effectively and efficiently throughout the day.
Imagine for a moment you could develop new habits and methods of thinking where you naturally and effortlessly adopt these ideas into your life. How would that make you feel? Would you feel more fulfilled, empowered and in control?
Yes, there is such simplicity within this IQ Doodle, but of course there is a reason for that. Making positive change doesn’t need to be a complicated process. It just needs to be a consistent process where we progressively develop new habits-of-mind through repeated exposure and implementation. And that’s what these IQ Doodles are for.
We have prepared for you an IQ Doodle pack that includes several variations of this IQ Doodle that you can use for guidance and inspiration throughout the day. Use it consistently and you will begin making positive changes in the way you live, work and interact with others.
Visit the IQ Doodle Store to learn more about how to use this IQ Doodle and begin optimizing the way you live your life today.
Learn More About this Topic
Want to know more about this topic? Here are some helpful links to articles that you may find of value:
- 7 Simple Ways to Boost Productivity @ Inc.
- 12 Ways to Boost Your Productivity @ World Economic Forum
- How Single Tasking Boosts Your Productivity @ Fast Company
- How to Design an Office that Boosts Productivity @ The Next Web
- Practical Guidelines to Boost Productivity and Accelerate Results @ IQ Matrix