Do you find yourself slacking or not earning as much money as you’d like? It could be a productivity issue. In today’s digital era, people get sidetracked constantly. Finding 10 ways to be more productive can save your life and help you to become more prosperous, while achieving greater life balance and satisfaction.
One University of London Study from 2005 found that within 80 volunteers, the people who were bombarded with distractions (such as text messaging, emailing – or in today’s era – social media interaction) performed worse than those who focused on the tasks without interruptions. The distracted ones had an IQ of 10 points lower, whilst their performance was likened to people who’ve lost a night’s sleep.
While decreased productivity can be linked to distractions, or inability to focus, the good news is that this bad habit can be broken. Distractions can be addictive, especially if you tend to zoom in on one thing, such as checking your Facebook frequently, or going outside to smoke cigarettes. These things take up your time, even if it doesn’t seem too long at the moment you’re doing it. The accumulative time within a day that you spend looking at Facebook or smoking cigarettes could be as much as a couple of hours if you lumped the time altogether.
Wouldn’t you like to overcome this?
Recognize distractions and apply the following 10 ways to be more productive:
- Each day or week make a list of things to do. Your ‘to-do’ list should include both small and large tasks! Just write it all down, no matter how trivial it seems. Mowing the lawn can be just as important as work. Then, after each task is completed, use a highlighter to mark it off the list. Transfer all the things you didn’t complete to the next day. Doing this holds yourself accountable for accomplishments. If you don’t want to see that list get longer, then make sure to transfer as few things as possible to the next day’s tasks.
- Hide temptations! If your social media or phone is the culprit for getting sidetracked, put it in another room on the charger. If it is your cigarettes, kick the habit or at least hide them somewhere far away from your work area. Make it difficult for yourself to get distracted, which will improve productivity.
- Get up earlier. If you have kids, you may already get up early. If not, then push yourself to get a good night’s sleep by going to bed earlier and getting up an hour earlier. Use that time to wake up, do some quick exercises (to stimulate your body and mind to be more alert), have a coffee and get your chores out of the way right away. Try this 12-Week YOGA Burn Challenge. Then, take a quick break and get to work! You should have more time to do this if you remember to apply tip #2 along with this.
- Set deadlines. You may have the list working for you, but you cannot keep rolling over those dreaded tasks to the next day, and the next day… eventually they must be crossed off. So, if you have larger tasks to complete, write a deadline next to them. Even if you are your own boss, you must give yourself a “due date”.
- Get organized. If your workspace is a mess, then tidy it up before doing anything else. Sometimes you get bogged down with mail, writing utensils, random paperwork, and other knick-knacks. Having clutter can make you less productive because you’re always looking for something. Knowing where your stapler or envelopes are is a great thing.
- Schedule checkpoints or milestones. If checking your email takes up a lot of time, but you feel the need to check it throughout the day, try allocating a specific time. For example, 9 am and 3:30 pm. Then, resist the urge to look at your email during the other times. It gives you more time to focus; with less likeliness of losing your train of thought.
- Record your accomplishments. Any simple accomplishment should be recorded because it will give you definitive steps to progress. It can also help you to realize how much more you can achieve, so you can thereby reward those accomplishments. For example, if you want to write a book, you can set yourself a goal of doing one chapter every two days, or if you want to start your own business, you can make a checklist of things you need to do to launch it.
- Create time blocks. Time blocks are “chunks” of time that you allocate to do a certain task, such as meeting a client or having lunch with a friend, etc. Creating these blocks, such as an “email time block” or “workout time block” may feel rigid at first, but making the effort can lead you to be more productive.
- Work smarter (not harder). It’s cliché, but so true. Give up control over some tasks that may be too much of a time waster. Or do things in batches to save time. Writing your blog, for example, can be done in batches of 10 blogs at a time, rather than one-by-one. Or, hire a freelancer to do things that you’re less skilled at or that you just don’t like doing.
- Outsource. It might sound like a foreign concept, but letting someone else do any small tasks that take up too much of your time is a great way to improve productivity. On a website called FIVERR, you can find freelancers from all over the globe to do small tasks for you. For example, video editing, transcribing, writing a blog, designing a website, designing an ad, performing social media tasks, creating a jingle, or serving as a virtual assistant are just some of the gigs you’ll find freelancers doing on FIVERR. Best of all, these tasks start at just $5 dollars, so the price is right. Imagine that your hourly wage for yourself is $100/hr., wouldn’t it be worth it to shave off a half an hour or more of your time, so that you could be focusing on something more productive? Give it a try.
In summary, these 10 ways to be more productive can be done and re-evaluated at any time. You may even find more tips that can be added to this list, so feel free to come up with more ways to improve your productivity.