Whether it’s work or home, we could all do with becoming much more efficient in our day to day activities.
This doesn’t require drastic change, believe it or not.
By making a few small changes to the way you behave and your surroundings, you can get so much more done.
We all want to be the best we can be and getting the most out of the time we have.
So, you want to know what you can do to be more productive?
Don’t overthink the process.
Over thinking blocks us and stops us becoming a better version of ourselves.
Not to mention it’s the ultimate form of procrastination.
The problem is, we often think we need to be 100% ready before we start. You don’t need to completely remove self doubt to start, it will happen naturally.
These 11 steps will help you to stop overthinking, start doing and ultimately get sh*t done!
1. Take ownership
It’s easy to blame other things, people, complain and come up with excuses when we don’t get the things we want to done.
After this, we start to justify (in our own heads) why we weren’t able to get certain tasks done, as a way of giving ourselves comfort.
This is a clear avoidance technique and a sign that we are getting in our own way!
We need to own the fact that we are the only ones in charge of our own destiny.
Procrastination is a big problem with a lot of people and we must deal with it head on!
The majority of the time, the longer we leave things the worse they become and even harder to complete.
Drop the Excuses, set realistic goals, get out of your own way and face the tasks ahead HEAD ON..
2. Start the day as you mean to go on..
Brushing your teeth, having a shower and getting dressed as if you were going out are 3 really simple tasks that could help you be more productive throughout the day.
As silly as it sounds, these little tasks will set you up in the right mood to get sh*t done!
The alternative is rolling out of bed at 10am, in your PJ’s, watching a bit of TV with no clear idea of the things you need to do.
Regardless if you’re working from home or on your way to work, you should always wake up with the same mentality and daily habits.
3. Get into a routine
It’s important to get into a routine that works!
The best time of day to get things done can vary from person to person, however my most productive time of day is the mornings.
Do not check your emails, texts, instagrams (sigh) as soon as you wake!
Instead protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work or for priorities and projects with tight deadlines.
The first hour after you wake up should be treated as the “golden hour”.
Which means how you think and act during this time usually impacts how productive you are for the rest of the day.
Our brains are literally at our best when we wake up, so why not use this and plan the day ahead as effectively as possible, with the aim of achieving our goals?
4. Take on Heavy Duty Tasks First
Get the most heavy duty tasks out of the way first…
Once, you’ve found the time of the day that works for you, the next step is to take on the “ugly” tasks that either have a tight deadline or mammoth tasks you’ve been putting off.
Sometimes I am so efficient, that all my heavy duty tasks are all completed by lunchtime, allowing me to take the pressure off and settle down for the smaller tasks later on.
Break down the bigger tasks into smaller bitesize tasks.
This works well for the tasks that seem overwhelming. Tackle them in short time blocks and you will complete the big task in no time.
5. Don’t try to multi-task
It doesn’t matter how much of a multi-tasker you think you are, our brains aren’t made to handle multiple jobs at the same time.
Even when you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re not.
Our brains are not designed to switch back and forth between tasks.
It takes a while for your brain to switch onto to something to requires high level of focus.
When you attempt to do more than one thing at the same time, you actually lose time while your brain tries to refocus on this new task.
And if this happens every time you switch between tasks, think of how much time you’re losing!
Multi-tasking can actually hinder your ability to be more productive in every day life.
Multi-Tasking DOES NOT EQUAL Multi-Focus.
Fight the urge to Multi-Task!
Not only does it split your focus but it can also increase the risk of you not completing that task effectively.
Paying full attention to one task will always be the winner here because it makes you more effective and you’re to unlock full potential whilst all of your focus is on one thing.
6. Sit Down and Plan the week ahead
If you want to be more productive, you will need to schedule the week ahead.
Instead of waking on the first day of the week thinking of all the things you have to do, if you’re trying to make progress at work and in your personal life, make sure you plan the week ahead.
You’ve already lost the battle if you arrive at the first day of your week without some goals of what you would like to achieve.
An effective plan for the week would include to:
- Sit down with a planner at the end of each week
- Decide what your main goals and objectives are, otherwise it becomes too easy to lose track
- Write down each task & outline everything you need to do
- Detail the time your going to spend on each task
- IMPORTANT: Write down deadlines for getting the work done, the time pressure will help!
Getting things done is such a great feeling and the above steps will help you feel more prepared.
Priority lists (NOT to-do lists) are game changers
Organise tasks in order of priority.
The secret to “winning the week” is to ensure your most important tasks are not the ones left to the last minute or worse untouched.
To achieve this, look over your weekly plan and prioritise your tasks from urgent (these tasks MUST be completed), all the way to useful (but not as important as the other tasks).
Once you have done this, try to estimate how long it’ll take you to finish these tasks and get them done!
7. Have a positive mindset, despite setbacks
A positive attitude is a must have when you want to become more productive!
No one has ever achieved anything remarkable by harbouring negative thoughts or energy.
We all get a little negative sometimes, especially when something doesn’t go to plan or something is taking a little longer than originally expected.
It’s natural, however it’s about finding a way to climb away from the negativity and not allowing it to dictate how the rest of the day goes!
Don’t waste time being upset, switch up your attitude, adjust your calendar/timeline and get back on track.
When you experience a setback or lull in motivation, it’s time to refocus and ask yourself..
What are you trying to accomplish? How am I going to feel when this task is completed?
Every task you complete should bring you closer to the ultimate greater goal.
When you let go of what you can’t control and look at what you can control, you’ll take a huge step in getting your day back on schedule.
8. Catch up on your sleep
Gone are the days of working into the night trying to get as much as possible done.
Never neglect sleep thinking you can get more done.
We all need sleep without it we burnout!
Clearly, we are aware that poor sleep negatively impacts our productivity, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this.
Lack of sleep is a productivity killer!
Sleep deprivation devastates us, mentally, physically, and emotionally. The negative impacts of lack of sleep are evident:
- Increased fatigue
- Make more mistakes
- Blocked creativity
How do you make your sleep more effective?
- It’s important to find a sleep schedule that best suits you
- Introduce a calmer night time routine
- Don’t look at your phone right before be
Getting the right amount of sleep doesn’t just boost your mood and infuse your body with extra energy, but will drastically improve your productivity and creativity.
9. Always factor in breaks
Have you ever stopped taking breaks so you can get more done?
It can be tempting to work into the night to get something done, however there is an advantage to taking regular breaks in order to boost productivity.
Not one person can work intensely all the time and if you do this, you’re eventually going to burn out my friend!
How do breaks help your brain?
- It improves concentration: As you work, you naturally will have to make decisions, but this eventually will wear down your willpower and ability to think clearly. Humans are not wired to concentrate for 8+ hours on end. We can only concentrate for short periods of time and because of this, breaks are essential for a mental refresh. How many times have you taken a break, come back to the desk and known exactly what you need to do?
- Breaks can spark creative ideas and new solutions: Taking breaks replenishes the mind and helps you become more creative. How many times do we think up our best ideas in the shower or whilst community? There is a reason for this.
- It prevents fatigue. Stepping away for a few minutes at a time doesn’t make us lazy, on the flip side it prevents you from running out of steam.
- It can protect your eyes and brain. Staring at a screen all day is probably necessary for your workplace, but it definitely is not healthy. Take short breaks away from the screen to recalibrate and rest.
10. Eliminate distractions and FOCUS
While it is not easy to do, learning to identify and eliminate the biggest distractions in your work/personal life can lead to more productivity, free time and, ultimately, happiness.
The distractions we face from the world around us, especially on the internet and people in our lives, make it hard to focus on the task at hand.
If you can identify the things or people that throw you off course or interrupt you, you will be able to achieve a lot more.
According to a University of California Irvine study, once distracted “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” .
This amount of time you lose is significant.
Social media can be a massive black hole of wasted time, with the average user spending 3 hours on social media per day!
That’s 21 hours in each week you will never get back.
In order to be more productive you NEED to at least disable notifications of your apps, so you are no disturbed/distracted all the time.
If you really struggle with focusing on one thing or getting distracted often try out an app like Freedom.
Freedom will block time-wasting apps and websites so you can be more focused and productive.
11. Cleanse your environment
Whether you work in an office or from home, it’s worth taking some time to make sure your environment in clean, tidy and organised.
Trying to focus in a room or desk full of mess just does not work.
In a clean environment you are less likely to be distracted by clutter, which is proven to limit your brain’s ability to concentrate and process information.
More than likely you work from a desk, so take the time to put away non-essential items, files & documents which take up space.
Get some organisers in and assign an appropriate place for everything.
A great way to boost productivity is to start the day off with the clean desk/environment, so get cleaning the night before.
These small steps can make your life so much easier and make you feel like you’ve really got things under control.
My Bonus Tip(s)..
After all of that work and extra productivity, there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself.
Of course this isn’t necessary, but doing this can help you stay motivated.
Rewarding yourself releases a chemical within the brain called Dopamine. In that moment, your brain automatically triggers a positive response.
Therefore, if you connect the competition of every task with a positive feeling, you are more likely to complete that task.
It’s natural to feel less productive than others or go through days being stuck in a rut.
By using certain strategies, we can help keep ourselves on track and become even more productive.
Hold yourself accountable for how you spend your time, because it’s valuable.
Be open and honest about all of your flaws. That way you’ll be able to find ways to work around them and get more done.
Most importantly, be proactive.
A little bit of planning will go a long way to making you more productive every day.
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