“Have a productive day!”, “I would like to be more productive”, “We’ve had a productive meeting”… These are all phrases we hear often. Productivity is a treasure for individuals and businesses alike in this day and age. We have so little time and want to accomplish so much. So what is left for us to do is make the best of all the resources we have. This is called productivity.
Since we all aim to reach new levels of productivity, we’ve put together a 7-step guide to take you there. Here are 7 productivity tips that will help you in no time:
#1 Eat the biggest frog first
This tip comes from way back, as it belongs to Mark Twain. So, if it managed to stand the test of time, it’s probably worthwhile to try to adopt it in our lives, too. Of course, Mark Twain didn’t advise us to eat a big frog, but to start our day with the task that is the hardest to do. In the morning is when we’re most energetic, well rested, and clear-headed. It’s the perfect time to tackle the biggest, most important task on our list, even if it may also be the one we’re the least excited to accomplish.
#2 Use lists to organize your tasks and objectives
Speaking of lists, whether you love them or hate them, they are essential to helping you stay organized and relaxed. You don’t need to feel the burden of having to remember things if you write them down as soon as they come up. And then you can’t forget them.
Write your to-do list for the day, week, month, maybe even year. That will give you a clear picture of what you need to work on at all times. Also, build goals lists. That way you will always have your final goals in mind and you’ll know what you’re trying to achieve through your work every single day. Each small step is a part of the journey that you couldn’t do without.
#3 Turn off distractions
You know how it is, you’re in the middle of drafting a report and you’ve finally got your groove on when the phone rings. It’s mom asking when she can drop by to bring you some goodies. Or you suddenly remember you forgot to add an important social media contact and that leads to half an hour of browsing mutual friends and more or less useful posts.
Distractions are a rabbit hole that you can’t see the end of when you jump in. And when you finally reach the other side, you get out feeling dizzy and guilty X precious minutes later. So, it’s better not to test your power to resist temptation and just turn off your possible distractions (phone, social media pages, time killing websites) when you’re in the middle of a task.
#4 Take breaks
That being said, you can get back to your favorite distractions during breaks. Just make sure your breaks are timed and you don’t end up coming out of the rabbit hole an hour and a half later. Other than that, breaks are definitely useful and important. It’s been scientifically proven that breaks make us more productive. So, you can either adopt one of the famous productivity techniques out there that tell you how to split your time between work and breaks, or you can go with your own flow and take a short relaxing break whenever you feel the need to. Whatever works best!
#5 Divide and conquer
Yes, we can definitely apply this strategy when we talk about productivity. When you’re given a huge task, it may seem daunting at first and you may not even know where to start. To bring in another cute Alice in Wonderland reference, “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Easier said than done!
So, it’s always best to divide your huge task into several smaller ones. And maybe those, in turn, into even smaller ones. You get the picture. When you’re comfortable with the shape and size of your tasks, take them one by one and the end result will fall nicely into place.
#6 Ask questions
The only stupid question is the one not asked, is what a famous saying teaches us. And we should learn this. Never hesitate to ask questions when you are not sure about something. Don’t assume you’ll find out along the way or someone will eventually tell you. It’s best to make things clear from the start, so you know exactly what you have to do. Working on a task when you don’t know everything you need to know about it may prove tricky in the end and may result in wasted time and effort. And nobody wants that, right?
#7 Learn to say no
Can you do this? Can you also help me with that? Do you know anything about this? Maybe the answer to all these questions is yes in your case, but getting involved in more than you can handle is never useful. It can be extremely stressful and time consuming, so make sure you don’t spread yourself too thin. Only take on as many tasks as you feel comfortable with and your results will be highly professional and no neurons will be killed.