Small Changes That Can Make You More Productive
Do you ask yourself ‘Why am I not able to do more?’
‘What’s holding me back?’ and ‘How can I be more productive?’
Do you feel your life is stuck and everyone else is progressing in life?
These are the exact same questions that used to torment me years ago but making 3 small changes to my life drastically increased my ability to get sh!t done.
These 3 small strategies will go a long way if you:
- Have a head full of ideas you just don’t seem to action
- Are bogged down and overwhelmed with your current workload
- Can’t find the momentum needed to get off your backside and do something purposeful
Change number 1. Live by your to-do list
A to-do list is an excellent tool to increase productivity when it’s used right.
Like the ‘New Year resolution’, people with all earnestness adopt a to-do list, but nothing much improves in terms of productivity.
We can lay the blame squarely on the execution for failure. Our enthusiasm to make progress gets the better of us; we fill the to-do list with so many tasks that the list itself becomes a cause of confusion.
To increase productivity, limit the items on the list, and organize it into two groups:
- The most important tasks. This list shouldn’t contain more than three items. These are tasks that really need your full attention and involvement, things that can’t be postponed to a later date, or could make the biggest impact to your life.
- The secondary tasks. This list contains the minutia that is bogging you down – but must still be done. Emailing a customer, paying a bill, ordering groceries. Do tasks on this list when there is no time left to start one of your three ‘most important tasks.
Start the day with the most important tasks, if you put them off, later in the day, you might not find time to do them.
If you’re able to knock them off, all three most important tasks, before two-thirds of the day is gone, getting through rest of the list will be a cinch.
Planning for the future.
Next week, next month, and next year is good, but make the to-do list all about today.
You can have a ‘master list’ with tasks that need to be done this week or month. But, the to-do list must focus only on today.
Another tip for the success of the to-do list is to make the list the night before. The morning, with a fit body and the mind firing on all cylinders, is the apt time to deal with the tasks, rather than preparing the list.
Change number 2. Break a Task into ‘easily manageable’ sections
A life coach or personal development professional will often stress on the importance of working smart, instead of working hard.
There is definite truth to it. So many of us associate success with hard work, and toil day and night, and put in hours and hours of work, with little to show.
That’s why, to increase productivity, I urge you to work smarter.
The term ‘work smarter’ often means to prioritise what is important, to know when to delegate work to others, to leverage from resources and so on.
An action that results in a saving of time or money – whilst still completing the task to a high standard – is also an example of working smarter…
But what I’m specifically alluding to is this – work smarter by breaking a task into easily manageable sections to improve your focus on it, your organisation and management of what needs to be done, and your productivity.
No task is impossible, nor too big to achieve, if you break it into small sections, and work on them one at a time.
For example, if I need to write a blog post such as this one – I’ll first break the content down into smaller sections such as research, outline, writing, images, revision, proofreading, and publishing the post.
I usually break the task and enter them in a ‘done list’.
After the completion of each item on the list, a small tick gives me a sense of accomplishment, and a little rush of joy knowing that I’m one step closer to the goal.
In addition, knowing what to do next saves precious time and energy.
The time and energy that I might have spent planning the next move, can be put to better use – to work on the task itself.
The size of the task won’t scare you; just the completion of each milestone will give you a sweet feeling of reward, and motivate you to approach the next one with increased vigor.
Adopt this neat trick today, and you’ll notice the difference in no time.
Change number 3. Track and avoid time-wasting habits
If you have tried and tried, but failed to improve productivity, it’s only natural you would want to make drastic changes to your daily routine.
From my experience, I can say that major changes to lifestyle won’t better the outcome. Sooner or later, you’ll fall back into old habits.
The real problem that’s holding you back and affecting productivity is the time-wasting habits that you have become accustomed to, consciously or unconsciously.
Track these time-wasting habits and find a way to avoid or reduce them.
You might be wasting time at home and work.
For a start, track your activities during work hours and identify the areas where you could multitask to save time.
Suppose you spend 30 minutes of each morning to sort and reply to emails. You can categorize in order of importance and reply only to those that are work-related or urgent.
The rest can be dealt with during the break; you can have your coffee or diet soda and reply to emails at the same time.
Technology can help you weed out time-wasters. Use tools like RescueTime, which analysis your activities throughout the day and shows how you spend time.
Look for patterns and find areas that require immediate attention.
For example, from the stats, you gather that the morning sessions are the most productive and post-lunch the productivity drops and time-wasting habits increases.
If this is the pattern day after day; identify the problem and find a solution.
The problem might be because of fatigue, mental fog, lack of mental and physical energy to avoid procrastination.
I used to suffer from these problems. I found relief in Nootropics, regular exercise, and quality sleep.
There are plenty of other ideas, but I plan to practice what I preach.
So, instead of bogging you further down with a list of some 100 tips, I have stated the three that I’m positively sure will help a vast majority of people.
Adopt all three strategies and measure your progress in a month’s time.
You can’t keep doing the same thing again and again and expect a different result, but you’ll never get it.
To improve productivity, you have to instil a little discipline, and some simple tools that’ll help transform your ability to get sh!t done!
So go get to it!
All the best,
Founder of Project Noo You
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