Do you feel swamped in work? That’s probably not so much the amount of work, as the way you’re handling it. You may be doing things you shouldn’t actually be doing, and leaving the work that really needs to be done. After reading the previous posts about causes for procrastination, how to deal with it and the Ultimate Way To Increase Productivity, enjoy today’s article with practical ways to become more productive right now.
Part 4/8 – 10 Surefire Ways To Improve Productivity Right Now
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
– Lao Tzu
Don't mess with the man
With a few small changes, you can set a chain in motion to get more done in less time. Here are ten possible changes you can make to achieve just that:
1. Work on your future self – today. Unless you do something about it in the meantime, you’ll procrastinate as much later as you do today. It’s like in Back to the Future – it’s up to you now, in the past of your future, to influence how your future self will tackle his present (gotta love that sentence). That doesn’t mean you should become the most productive person in one day, but you can make an ongoing commitment out of it. Keep working on it, and before you know it you’ll have created it a brighter future for yourself.
2. Be productive, even when you’re not working. Maintain a list with small productive tasks you can do as a break. Cleaning (parts) of your desk(top), calling a customer, looking something up for your next holiday… Things that need to be done and that take no more than five minutes. This kind of thing clears your head, gives you a breather and gets you ready for the next big task.
3. Get up earlier. Are you one of those people (like me) who get up just in time to shower, grab some grub on the go and rush off the work? Why not get up half an hour earlier! Ban the snooze button. It doesn’t make you any more slept out, and your day can begin with a lot less stress. You could even meditate before work!
4. Prepare your day. If getting up earlier isn’t your cup of tea, how about taking time at the end of each day to create some peace of mind for tomorrow morning? Plan your work, put things ready so you can jump right in. That way you don’t need to wake up with that slight feeling of panicky dread at the unpredictability of today’s tasks: you already know what’s going to happen!
5. Put a limit on your time. It’s ironic: so many people work long hours and think they’re doing great. Sadly, the amount of hours spent working are no reference to getting things done. Your mind works better and faster when it has constraints. An impending deadline makes you many times more productive. So harness the power of time: limit the amount of hours you work and work more productively while you’re at it.
6. Limit your todo-list. We often have the tendency to put too many things on the list, and then hop from one job to the other, just getting small parts of each done and generally losing loads of time getting into each task. So make that long, complete list… and then select the 3 to 5 things that you really want to get done. Make sure that when you get these done, you can be satisfied about your day. Start with the most important, before you do anything else (especially before checking your email).
7. Apply the principle of TV commercials. Some TV channels begin with a new programme as soon as the previous one finishes. A few minutes later, in come commercials. Why? Because by then, people are already watching the next programme. They want to see what happens. The same goes for your work: don’t take breaks in between tasks, but a little while after you’ve begun a new task. That way you also have concrete things to think about, and you’ll automatically start working sooner.
8. Take short breaks. Everyone deserves a treat after working hard. But don’t break too long! A few minutes to catch your breath is more than enough, rather than losing your momentum with a half-hour break.
9. Fix a time for recreation. Social networks like Facebook are a powerful way to stay connected, but two or three times a day for five minutes should suffice. After that it becomes a waste of time, like many other online and offline recreations. Fix a time for them, like from five to five thirty.
10. Stop reading about time management. There’s a big difference between and being able to do something. You probably already know everything you need, especially if you know the Golden Rule of Productivity. It’s like knowing how a car works, but not being able to fix it yourself. So take one practical thing and do it until it’s a habit.
Too much reading about time management can seriously harm your productivity
Check out the previous articles in this series:
- 6 Surprising Causes Of Procrastination
- How To Overcome Procrastination – RIGHT NOW
- The One And Only Way To Increase Productivity
Next week’s article is about setting priorities.
PS.: Now that you’re here, do leave a comment. Even if it’s a small one! A blog is so much more fun when people react to it…