When you think about productivity, what comes to mind?
Perhaps it’s getting more done in less time, or finding ways to achieve better results with fewer resources. It could be figuring out process improvements to save time and money. You may even consider improving your outputs so you can achieve more goals.
Actually, productivity is all about increasing your efficiency in getting things done. How many times have you quickly scribbled a To-Do List on the back of an old receipt only to find that most of those tasks never get done?
We all have something in common. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, of which, on average, 16 are waking hours. Research has found that the average workforce is productive for less than 3 hours each day. The culprit? Poor time management.
Individual productivity depends on multiple factors such as domain expertise, work environment, motivation, time management, support from others, as well as on setting S.M.A.R.T (criteria for goal -setting) goals and striving towards them, according to a plan of action.
Productivity means being more efficient. Being smarter about time. So, if you’re looking to increase your productivity, what you really need is to be deliberate with your time. One way that you can do that is through some simple productivity hacks.
Here I have put together for you 12 top productivity hacks to increase your daily productivity and help you get the most out of your day in a simplified way:
1. Write it down
Every task should be written down. This frees your mind from the energy-and attention-sucking job of trying to constantly remember everything. It helps clarify your priorities, intentions and goals. It enables you to be more focused and track progress.
2. Turn off distractions
When you’ve got an important task that requires attention & focus, create that clutter free space for you to give your best. You can’t control every distraction, but here’s something you can control: social media and technology.
3. Batch process
What does this mean? Try to group similar tasks and schedule certain times during the day to knock them out. Focus on one theme of tasks at a time to better utilize your focus.
– Respond to all your Emails
– Schedule several telephone calls
– Edit large quantities of photos
– Reading assignments
4. Tackle the hardest task first
Everyone has at least one task on the “To-Do” list that keeps getting pushed back. That task is actually the one you should complete first. So, instead of waiting until the last minute to finish it, get it off your plate ASAP!
5. Plan ahead
Sit down and identify the high-value tasks that you’re going to work on for the day. Which activities can you eliminate, automate, or delegate? This will help you save time and makes life simpler.
6. Don’t pile up
Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. So, try going ahead and make progress by getting things out of the way, in order to increase your productivity. Don’t allow the dishes to pile up in the sink. It becomes relentless and it leads to major discomfort “hamster wheel”.
7. Two-Minute Rule
The name of this strategy was inspired by the author and consultant David Allen. He has his own 2-minute rule for improving productivity, which states, “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.” It helps to get quick and easy tasks out of the way and doing this clears your mind so tasks don’t pile up.
8. Stop Multitasking
Clear and simple: multitasking is a personal-productivity killer. Don’t try to do two things partly well. Rather choose to do one thing really well.
9. Take Breaks
Working non-stop for hours on end day in and day out is a great recipe for burnout. Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. After you’ve finished a batch of tasks, take a break. By giving your brain and body a short respite, you’re mentally preparing yourself to tackle the next thing on your list.
When we allow ourselves to take more breaks, we feel less overwhelmed and tend to make fewer mistakes. This is the reason why it’s important to make time during the day to clear your mind. Slowing down a bit, taking a moment to pause and clearing your mind has a surprisingly positive impact on productivity.
10. Avoid decision fatigue
Reduce the amount of decisions that you need to make each day. Doing so will allow you to make better, clearer choices instead of trying to decide while in a fog of fatigue. Plan things out ahead of time, put systems in place, and limit the amount of real decisions you need to make. A great example is meals. I, for example, plan my meals in advance, and this helps me save a huge amount of time. When I enter the supermarket I already know exactly what to buy and each day I know what’s on the menu. Check out the AnyList App. It will be life-changing for you to not have to decide what to eat each day.
Another great method for saving time is to automate repetitive tasks. Think of things you can automate in your life and business, then set things up in a way so that you no longer need to deal with them. For example: set up automatic emails, payments, create templates, check-lists, etc. For automated emails or campaigns I, personally, use Mailchimp, with which you can create and save your templates.
12. Create a system that works for you
One of the best productivity hacks for executives, entrepreneurs, and people with high aspirations in general is to find your ideal timing. In other words, you need to uncover the time period during the day in which you are the most productive and effective – morning, afternoon, or evening. In order to best utilize your time, you need to understand in which period you are most effective and then tailor your schedule to capitalize on your time.
To sum up, you eat the elephant one bite at a time. So, working non-stop for hours on end day in and day out is a great recipe for burnout – and we all want to avoid that. Remember, write down what you need to get done and don’t be vague about it. Batch similar tasks and take short breaks after you complete them. Furthermore, instead of letting technology distract you from your tasks, use it to your advantage. Whether you’re starting your entrepreneurial journey, building your brand, your online presence or you are taking your business to the next level, all your goals will be easier to achieve when you’re more productive.
The above productivity hacks are a great way to get started and get more done utilizing your time better. But remember, they are just tools to help you achieve something larger. Apply these hacks towards your goals and begin making progress on that great life you’re building for yourself.
Lastly, don’t forget that our mind, our ability to think, plan, and decide, is our most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and boosting productivity. Our ability to set goals, make plans, and take action determines our life. The very act of thinking, reflecting and planning unlocks your mental powers, triggers your creativity, and increases your mental and physical energy. See you on the other side.