Even the perfectionists among us struggle to work at 100% efficiency all day long. We want to be more productive and rely on sheer willpower to help us attack tasks and get through the day.
But it’s all too easy to finish your day and wonder what you actually accomplished. In today’s article, I’m giving you 10 tips to boost productivity instantly.
Tips To Increase Productivity #1 Eat The Frog
Imagine if you had to eat a live frog that was trying to wriggle out of your mouth. Sounds like the worst thing imaginable, right?
Do tasks on your to-do list ever make you feel like that? I thought so.
‘Eat the frog’ means you eat those tasks for breakfast. Ask yourself, “What am I avoiding? What do I really not want to do?” Be honest with your answers, and do those tasks FIRST.
I don’t always put the hardest task first. Sometimes I prioritize whatever’s going to bring me the biggest return. If I film a video first thing, I feel great for the rest of the day. If I put it off till the end of the day I feel pressured.
This approach also helps you avoid feeling artificially accomplished. You start by ticking all the easy tasks off your list and think you’ve done enough for the day. But you haven’t done a single IMPORTANT thing. Eat the frog and do those things first.
TIP: I find it easier to be honest with myself when I make my to-do list the night before. I put the hardest task first so it’s right there when I wake up.
Tips To Increase Productivity #2 Gamify Everything
Structure is key to productivity and one of the best ways is turning everything into a game. Gamify your tasks by breaking them into more doable chunks like a game’s objectives.
A lot of games feature time limits. Try setting some for yourself and sticking to them. This will help you avoid spending hours on a single small project. Even if getting everything finished in time is unrealistic it’s better to turn something in than nothing at all.
Finally, set rewards for yourself.
- If you beat your time limit, have a cookie.
- Go for a brief walk after completing tasks.
- Plan an exciting activity for after work (a BBQ with friends, playing a game).
Tips To Increase Productivity#3 Plan For Things To Go Wrong
You never know when your kids will get sick, your grandmother will need dropping off at the hospital or a critical task will come out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, too many men forget this and design rigid plans with surgical precision that only work on paper. Whether they are designing a Gantt chart or booking work into Google Calendar, most men draw a straight line from A to B with no room for deviation.
If you think this is efficient, you’d be wrong. All you need is one thing to go wrong and suddenly everything is delayed. This then has a knock-on effect on anything else you are working on. Everybody is upset and you are going to have your work cut out trying to get things back on track.
Moral of the story? Expect the unexpected. Build a buffer into your schedule.
#4 Use Your Time Intentionally
If you don’t manage your time, your time will manage you. Be intentional!
Create ‘time blocks’ for work, for personal interests, AND for rest – it’s important to schedule rest or “playtime” throughout your day, so you can return to your work energized and inspired.
Try the Pomodoro Technique:
Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. It was created by an Italian student with a tomato-shaped oven timer.
How does it work? Set a timer and give yourself a short block of time to work – like a sprint in the programming world. This artificial time limit is called a pomodoro. The classic setup is as follows:
- 4x 25-minute pomodoros
- 5-minute short breaks in between
- 15-20 minute long break at the end
This is just a guideline. You can have anything from giant ‘beefsteak pomodoros’ to tiny ‘cherry pomodoros’. Whatever works best for you.
I use the Pomodoro Technique to get writing done every single day. I set 25 minutes and usually end up working for longer. Why?
‘Work for 25 minutes’ is an input-based goal: just work for that amount of time. An output-based goal might be ‘write this article’.
You’ve got to have output-based goals but they can be daunting. How long will it take me to write this article? What if it takes ages? I don’t WANNA write this WHOLE article… but sure, I’ll work for 25 minutes.
See how that works? I know for me when I get something started – boom! Magic happens. I get into a groove. You can too.
Before you started, there was probably resistance in your mind. You didn’t want to do it. But once you started and got into it you didn’t want to stop!
#5 Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you’re working on a new idea or project, talk to someone else about it! Talking things out will refine your idea and allow other people to make your idea or project that much better.
And with a better idea comes more clarity in making that idea a reality, which will elevate your productivity!
Keep Yourself Accountable
In school, we’re always taught that peer pressure is bad – that we should ignore it at all costs. It’s true to an extent. You don’t want to give in to things that could prove detrimental to your health and status. However, peer pressure can be a powerful motivator – that’s where this tip for productivity comes in.
Holding yourself accountable to a friend will make you more productive.
You need to make yourself beholden to someone, whether it be a friend or a family member. An example could be the gym – you may not want to go by yourself, but if you’ve got somebody waiting on you to work out together then it’s a different story.
What if I told you there was a way to create more hours in the day? The truth is, nobody can do everything by themself.
Delegate what you don’t have time to do or what you can afford to outsource. You’ll free up more time to focus on your priorities.
#6 Focus On One Goal Per Day
This might sound unambitious but you can do more by doing less!
You have a fixed number of hours each day – focus on which task will give you the biggest results.
If you’ve got a mammoth list of tasks for the entire week, it can be overwhelming to look at them all. So, pare it down. Make a daily task list and try picking ONE key item for each day.
If you get that item done, you can always add more later.
You can apply the ‘pick one thing’ principle to anything. Let’s say you want to improve your style and you’re starting from ground zero. Suits, shoes, ties, pocket squares, watches… it’s overwhelming!
So start with just one thing. Learn what to look for in a single essential item, maybe a nice sports coat. That’s all you need to worry about.
When you set a clear goal and focus wholeheartedly on it, you naturally eliminate distractions from disrupting your work.
Anything that can help mitigate distractions will allow you to increase productivity, produce more, and better, over the long run.
#7 Sleep Eight Hours A Night
It may be tempting to shave off a couple of hours of sleep so you can finish up a work assignment or project … but is it really worth it?
If you make a habit of this, you’ll eventually face burnout, resentment, or physical exhaustion that will undermine and override any of the marginal gains made from working longer hours
Sleep is crucial in relaxing your mind, resting your body and rejuvenating your energy for the following day.
If you’re not able to manage the other 16 hours in your day to get your work done, you should focus more on managing those hours instead of reallocating your sleeping hours.
If you want to increase your productivity, you need to sleep.
Doctors in warzones triage their patients: they treat them based on the severity of their wounds. Something I do every morning without fail is think about which of my ‘patients’ are in most urgent need of care (AKA which tasks need to be done first).
I spend 15 minutes or so after I wake up putting my tasks for the day in order of priority. It may not be perfect every single time, but it gives me a much better picture of the challenges on any given day…and how I can overcome them.
TIP: It’s never too late to go back to basics when it comes to productivity. Putting pen to paper every morning might just help you prioritize when everything is a priority.
#9 Make “No” Your Default Answer
Feeling overwhelmed? Take a step back and evaluate where and when you can commit yourself.
This may all sound pessimistic. Some people advise saying yes to EVERY opportunity so you can experience new things.
Most of us already have a full plate though. When you have work to do and a family to take care of, saying yes to everything is almost completely impractical.
Instead, embrace the power of NO. Your time is valuable, and I’m not talking exclusively about your office time either. I’m talking about those precious moments you get to spend with your wife and kids. Think about them – think about the hours you can dedicate to being a hell of a family man by simply saying no to worthless tasks. Know where your time is best spent, and then every YES will be infinitely more valuable.
#10 Clear Your Desk
Your workspace doesn’t need to look like you’re ready to quit at a moment’s notice. There’s nothing wrong with a family photo or a lucky charm from your girlfriend.
Once you’re finished each day though, tidy your workspace and file everything away.
Chefs call this mise en place, which means ‘everything in its place’. They clean and tidy everything before they start cooking and after they finish.
Think about it. Gordon Ramsey is famous for succeeding as a chef with his ‘take no prisoners’ mindset. If you walked into the kitchen of one of his restaurants do you think all the surfaces are covered with mess or are they clean and clear?
Do this and the next day when you come back in to work there’s no clutter to stop you getting stuck straight into your work. There’s no resistance because there’s no mess.
Ultimately, a clean workplace is more relaxing. Discover how men can manage stress by clicking here.
TIP: This applies to style too! Shine your shoes at the END of the day so you don’t need to worry about it during your hurried morning. Iron shirts before you need them. Fold your laundry right after it’s dry. Simple decisions like this make a big difference in productivity.
BONUS Tips To Increase Productivity
I couldn’t include everything in my top ten. Here are my extra tips for improving quality of work.
Understand there’s more to life than work
Most men see having fun as the opposite of being productive and that’s a problem. Maximizing your work output isn’t just about ticking off tasks and avoiding goofing around. It’s about recharging your batteries.
You can’t be productive if you’re low on energy or burnt out.
Make time before and after work for the people and activities you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s walking the dog or playing catch with your son.
Don’t burn the midnight oil every night either. Striving to finish your work is admirable but you need to set yourself a cut-off point for the sake of your sanity.
Taking a vacation is a good idea. Scheduling full days away from work will refresh your creativity and energy. I guarantee you will be more productive when you are back at work afterward.
Find meaning in your work
If your work isn’t meaningful, why increase your productivity? Why complete your work at all?
You can approach work better when you know ‘why’ you’re doing something. Having a ‘why’ in mind gives you a constant urge to push through those days where you may not ‘feel like it’.
This doesn’t mean you need to quit your job and work for a charity. Just take the time to understand why you are doing tasks. Understand how your daily and weekly goals contribute toward the annual and five-year goals your superiors probably have in mind.
Stop worrying about work
It can be easy to panic and freeze. It’s similar to our natural ‘fight or flight response’ when faced with a threat.
So many of us spend valuable time worrying about all the work that needs to get done. In the time that we spend worrying about something, we’re wasting valuable time that could be spent working on it!
Slow your mind, stay present in the moment and tackle one thing at a time.
Go with the flow at work
You can plan a day out perfectly but sometimes you can lose half your day because of unexpected meetings or phone calls. Ouch!
It can feel like a punch to the gut.
Don’t get despondent when stuff like this happens.
- Focus on the most important task at hand.
- Ask yourself what can still be accomplished today.
- Adjust your schedule as needed.
The 20-second rule
Getting started takes energy – activation energy. If you want to do something more often, reduce the activation energy it requires.
How? With this simple rule.
Make it take less than 20 seconds to get into the task at hand.
Let’s say you want to get better at the guitar. Keep your guitar on a stand next to a chair in your den. The result of being able to walk into the room and play in less than in 3 seconds? Playing much more often.
I use this rule to get up and work out at 5am on a freezing winter morning in Wisconsin. To make sure it happened, I would sometimes sleep in my workout clothes. If I’ve just got my shorts on and I leave the shirt under the covers at the base of the bed so it’s nice and warm, I can get dressed under the covers and then get out.
Click below to watch the video – 11 Things SUPER Productive People Do Daily
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Title: 10 Tips To Increase Productivity (How To Be More Productive)
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Published Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2021 15:30:00 +0000