Mastering productivity takes a lot of practice, time and effort. Those who now lead healthy and productive lives started out exactly where you are right now – overwhelmed, unproductive and stressed. Here are the top tips for those who wish to be more productive.
1. Wake up earlier
If you have ever slept in late on a weekend, you know how difficult it can be to get up and get moving when it feels like half the day has already gone by. Waking up earlier is one way you can be more productive throughout the day. Establish an early morning routine so that you can gradually get used to waking up earlier, especially if you do not consider yourself a morning person. Here are a few morning rituals you can adopt to establish a morning routine you will actually look forward to, so you can wake up on time and start the day off as motivated and productive as possible.
2. Do the thing you least want to do first thing
It is when we put off the thing we least want to do until the very end of the day that we end up procrastinating on every single task on our to do lists. If there is something you absolutely do not want to do, do it first. Get it out of the way. If it is the worst thing you have to do all day, at least you can push through it knowing your day is only going to get better from here.
3. Only focus on one task at a time
Multi tasking does not work, and if you are still one of many people out there trying to prove the research wrong, it’s time to put your multi tasking habit on the shelf and create a new habit: single tasking. This, as you can guess, involves focusing on only one task at a time. Don’t try to get work done with five different internet browser tabs all open to projects you are going to work on later. One thing at a time. Always.
4. Eliminate distractions before you start working
We make a lot of excuses for why we haven’t started on that project yet, or why we’re taking another break even though we just got back form lunch. “Just let me answer this one text.” “Just one YouTube video and then I’ll get back to work.” This way of thinking, however, does not work at all. Getting rid of distractions is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you want to learn how to be more productive in your daily life. Block yourself from the web sites that send you down an endless black hole of memes and cat videos. Buy a do not disturb sign and close your office door. Lock your phone in a drawer. Do whatever it takes, within reason, to focus.
5. If you know you are going to be interrupted, schedule it
Unfortunately, we are not able to be in control of every single thing that might interrupt our deep focus in the middle of a flow state. So make sure that if you know someone is planning on stopping by, or you need to make a phone call, do your best to schedule it in advance for a specific time so that you are not interrupted in the middle of working on something.
6. Set up rituals to form habits that promote optimal productivity
Psychologically, we operate most effectively in habits and routines. Establishing rituals to help you form better habits will in turn help you to be more productive. Let’s say working out is what you struggle with the most. Usually you intend to do it when you get home from work. On the nights you don’t work out, though, you also neglect all your other responsibilities. However, training your mind to associate mornings with working out will make it much easier for you to get that task out of the way, so that when you get home from work in the evening, you can focus on other things.
7. Use the 1-3-5 to do list making method
The 1-3-5 Method is a productivity tool that can help you organize and prioritize your tasks, focus on what needs to get done and ultimately lead you to accomplishing more in less time. It involves making a list that includes one large task you want to complete that day, three medium sized tasks you want to cross off and five very small tasks you want to finish before the day ends. An example of a very small task might be making a phone call or taking out the trash. A large task might be finishing an assignment or organizing your closet.
8. Use the technology the developers have given you
There are plenty of apps and programs out there that were built specifically to help you be more productive. Here is a list of some of the top productivity apps. Choose one you think will help you begin to work more productively tomorrow.
9. Create a holding place for all your new creative ideas
Have you ever had a great idea you just can’t get out of your head? The best thing to do in this situation is to write that idea down. Instead of fearing you will forget where you have stored your idea, designate a folder or document where you store all your ideas, so you can focus on what you need to get done now and go back to your ideas later.
10. Finish one thing before you start something new
This is similar to a multi tasking habit. Never start something new until you finish something else first. The more outstanding projects you have, the more overwhelmed you are likely to feel, and the less productive you will be able to become. You will feel much better once you have crossed the unfinished project off your list before moving on to something completely new.
Productivity is hard work, but it is not complicated. Form the right habits and you will be able to accomplish more than you ever imagined possible.