Is your productivity running at the level you want it to these days?
Are you clearing your tasks without being slowed down or derailed?
We all experience those days when we have countless things needed to be done in our lives.
Days when we have no idea where to start or how to get on track with our endeavors.
From personal to work hassles, from family to relationships, we could all benefit from more time and balance.
But since no one can create more time and everyone has the same 24 hours within a given day, it is critical for us to make the most out of our daily routines. Because by comparison, there are some people moving faster and getting more done in those same hours.
So how do they do it? How did they become better? And how can you do the same?
It's an honest question most people have on their minds. And yet, not many know how to intentionally reach that level of performance.
But fortunately for us, getting more done and being relentlessly productive is a habit, and habits can be reinforced and mastered.
Below we outline six key tips that you can start applying today to take charge of your overall productivity as you aim to surpass your highest performance with just a few new positive habits.
1. Lay-out your work into a daily to-do list.
"If you're serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. Don't trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down."
Having your daily ideas and tasks scattered only in your mind and unprepared for when you start off your day can keep you in quite a messy position, no matter who you are.
It can decrease your workflow and make you spend invaluable time on continually deciding which tasks you have to focus on next.
This leads to reduced clarity on your job at hand, thus, diminishing your commitment to push through your day and get it all done.
Just as a pilot needs his checklist ready before take-off to have everything under control during flight, so do you for your whole day, week, and year.
With that in mind, we can recognise that there is little to no benefit in devoting time and efforts in always trying to figure out what you need to do next - when instead you should be taking action.
So creating your to-do list and clearly outlining your tasks for the next day will help you stay prepared and organised for all expected and unexpected events.
By doing this, you will stay one step ahead of what you need to be doing, potentially save yourself hours of preparation, and be able to seamlessly tackle your daily goals at any moment of the day.
A well thought out to-do list shouldn't take you more than 15-30 minutes to arrange. And if you revise it at the end of your working day while still being engaged in your tasks, it should take you even less.
Plus, you won't have to be concerned about completing it the next morning or having to recall all the useful ideas you had in mind before.
You'll just be ready for action.
Which brings us to the next step.
2. Prioritise your list.
Having your to-do list done and up-to-date already positions you above a high percentage of the competition. But having that list in a disorderly fashion can still become an obstacle to your efficiency.
If it's not properly prioritised, it could make you consume time and energy on minor tasks that might not need your full focus and attention in those particular moments when you are most active.
Therefore, we need to steer our day dealing smartly with our most important, challenging, and time-intensive tasks.
One way to narrow down your priorities is to simply imagine that you are going out of town for the week. Then, hypothetically ask yourself one simple question; what one main task do I want to be sure to have accomplished before I leave?
Put a circle around your answer and start with that as your number one task.
Now you can both plan your day in advance and organise it by priority, value, and importance.
3. The golden hour of your day.
Evidently, we also create and produce best when our energy and alertness is at its highest, so we must also recognise the power of investing in the golden hour of our day.
Because what we work on is just as significant as when we work on it.
For many, that first peak phase is usually at sunrise, right after waking up and nourishing our minds and bodies.
So before anything else, have a healthy breakfast and seek to focus single-mindedly on your most valuable task until it's complete.
You see, when you start and finish a major task first thing in the morning during your golden hour, you will actually trigger yourself into a flow. A flow in which you then perform at a higher level throughout the day. Where you experience a surge of energy and confidence and get far more things done.
The famous quote by John Ray didn't emerge out of no where:
"The early bird catches the worm"
Simply meaning, those who take any opportunity early have a greater advantage over those who don't.
So make sure to start off your day with a head-start, properly nurtured, and with your list already structured and prioritised to hit the ball right out of the park in the morning. And the rest of your day will follow at that pace.
4. Complete quick and easy tasks in less-busy hours.
Too many people work on large tasks at random. But what's just as ineffective is that they don't use their time or energy wisely when approaching their smaller ones.
You need the right mix.
This could mean all the difference between real efficiency or continual delays in many areas throughout your day.
Because even the most devoted of professionals can't work on large-scale tasks for hours on end.
So by prioritising your list, you'll also have your low-intensity tasks ready to tackle and complete during your less busy hours of the day - helping you use your time more constructively.
This way, you won't loose your flow of productivity when you lack the energy to start or continue on major assignments.
However, if you feel that your efficiency is low when getting back onto your bigger tasks, this step might not be the best course of action for you and you might need another solution.
Instead of trying to address your smaller tasks in your down-time, you can resort to adopt a new, powerful productivity method known as the Pomodoro Technique.
It operates by us working in spaced out intervals and welcoming specific time-breaks.
Which brings us to the next point.
5. Take time-breaks and stay active longer.
For a large majority of us, our brains are wired in a way that they can only be solving complex tasks and performing at their highest efficiency for limited amounts of time.
So by working relentlessly, it may actually become more of a disadvantage than an advantage to your productivity.
This new Pomodoro Technique will help by reminding you to perform in cycles and time frames.
The ideal routine you can maintain is to work intensely in blocks of roughly around 25 minutes without interruptions, and then take 5 minute breaks in-between those heavy-duty hours.
That becomes the perfect workflow and balance for you to recover and refuel your mind, body, and overall energy.
This new method has been proven for many to be the most effective path to boost productivity.
Others prefer 90-120 minute burst sessions. But the principle of time-segments still remains the same.
So for most of us, it's important to remember to take those occasional small pauses within our working hours every so often, so that we can restore our energy by letting our brains recover.
This way you can fulfill assignments when your brain is most alert and lively - getting the most out of your productivity and attaining an optimal performance.
On your time-breaks, there are numerous other things that you can be doing.
Take some fresh air, stretch your legs, head out for a little walk, listen to some music, read an article, or socialise, even if it's only around your office.
After that, the moment you jump back to work, you'll find yourself returning clear, refreshed, and energised once again to quickly solve problems that will lead your day forward.
6. Stop the impractical multi-tasking.
It's easy to get distracted these days with all the technological advancements that are being released on the daily. For that reason, multi-tasking has now become a large part of people's routines.
But what many don't know yet is that there is 'the good' and 'the bad' multi-tasking. And the bad slows us down and derails our focus.
Because we get diverted with email blasts, phone notifications, and all other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all day long, 7 days a week.
It points us in the opposite direction to complete our goals.
But it's not much of a surprise. How could we not get slightly distracted?
These companies and mediums are all out there built on capturing and keeping attention, and they are all spending millions trying to do so.
They are invading people's space and compelling them to use their time unwisely with bulks of impractical but enticing content.
Because of that, most of our attention-spans have been proven to be reduced to that of a gold fish.
Many of the world's leading psychologists and educators have explained that to achieve our goals, the ability to focus and maintain our attention on a task is critical.
And our attention span directly reflects how long we stay focused on a single task without becoming distracted.
Instead, try switching off your phone and email notifications in your high-intensity work sessions. Stay disconnected from your social platforms when you are at work (unless you are using them only for your business).
Be one of the few who are able to set aside the least important activities to prioritise and stay on track with the more critical ones that have to be fulfilled and finalised.
7. Regularly switch-up your work-place and habits.
People get used to their surroundings quite quickly. Being in the same room, with the same lay-out and the same style around you every day can very well keep you in an excessively demoralising atmosphere for you to work and progress in.
And since we can't change locations every week. What's the obvious solution to this?
Switch things up in your work-place from time to time. Move to different spots. Keep everything tidy and well fixed up. Have some fresh, clean clothes and stay sharp every day. Be a direct reflection of the person you see yourself becoming and the type of environments you wish to see yourself in.
And simply don't stay in the same routine for months.
That will do the trick and will help substantially to keep your days bright and exciting.
By changing up and refreshing the environment in your work space and in yourself every so often, you'll feel your desired drive starting to come back.
And as you do, you'll see how once again you begin to raise your creativity and productivity to the level that you want it to throughout all of your day and throughout all of your work.
There will always be more ways to enhance your productivity and regain control of your life when being challenged. But in the long-run, it will always come down to your ability to stay organised, energised, and inspired.
And now you have a simple, yet effective approach in your hands to do so.
If you consistently apply these 7 ideas into your personal and business routines, it will just be a matter of time until you soon begin to notice your workflow increasing at a pace that surpasses your expectations.
These ideas will help you persistently complete your tasks, and ultimately, allow you to accomplish your goals much faster and with the right kind of focus.
Keep growing and keep learning.
- The Mainston Team