Are you struggling with productivity?
Welcome to the club.
Ticking off tasks in a timely manner is easier said than done.
You see, mastering productivity is an art… But it is an art form that can be learned.
Grab a pen and note down these 10 ways you can boost your productivity. Chances are, you’ll get far more done in less time if you follow these steps.
1) Quit multitasking
Let’s start by eliminating one of the biggest things that kills productivity:
Yep, you might think juggling multiple tasks at once is helping you get more done in less time…
But you couldn’t be more wrong.
Believe it or not, you’ll be causing your tasks to take twice as long if you try to balance multiple things at once.
You see, if you don’t give your full attention to a single task at hand, you’ll cause your concentration to waver!
I know this from experience.
Truth is, I often start by working on multiple things, especially if my to-do list is a long one!
But I quickly realize that I’m not making much progress at all and just jumping between things…
Simply put: I’m a serial tap-hopper… I go from one web page to the next!
Now, if you’re similar, it pays to be honest with yourself.
Trust me, you’ll get a lot more done in less time if you can overcome multitasking.
2) Work out when you’re most productive
Productivity doesn’t have a set time.
You see, we are all made differently, meaning when you’re most productive is probably different to me!
While I’m a night owl, who will happily stay up until 2 am working, you might be more of a morning person.
In other words, we all get our surges of energy and inspiration at different times of the day… And that’s ok!
Now, if you have your own business or work a remote job, you have even more freedom to make your productivity window work for you!
The trick is to be able to identify when you’re the most productive if you really want to boost your output…
… You’ll be able to get a lot more done in a shorter time if you take the time to work out when you excel in the day.
If that’s in the evening, double down on this rhythm and block out the evenings to work.
In my experience, I thrive when the sun sets and I don’t feel obliged to do anything or be anywhere.
The best bit? There’s no right or wrong time to be productive!
3) Try the five-minute rule
Don’t underestimate how productive we can be in a tiny window of time…
We can get a lot more done in five minutes than we know!
In just five minutes, we can turn our attention to the thing we’ve been putting off for days or even weeks.
You see, five minutes is enough to get the ball rolling and to start tackling something head-on…
…It doesn’t mean you’re going to complete your task in this pocket of time, but you’ll at least be able to get going and boost your productivity.
Five minutes is enough to begin outlining the steps for a project, or to draft an email and make contact with someone.
These small actions can seem like mountains to climb, especially when we put them off and they become all the more daunting.
But you can beat this procrastination with the five-minute rule, where you block out five minutes to give a task your full attention.
Simply put: if you’re someone who often procrastinates with your to-do lists, this rule will become your best friend.
Rather than focusing on how impossible the task is, just giving it five minutes makes it manageable.
The best bit?
Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll likely want to carry on after five minutes!
4) Map out your time
Never underestimate the power of time blocking if you want to boost your productivity.
Truth is, mapping out your time is one of the best actions you can take if you want to get more done in less time.
This productivity strategy will help you achieve your goals in a timely manner…
…Without any procrastination in sight!
In my experience, procrastination is the biggest productivity killer:
I can often find myself coming up with things I need to do that cause me to avoid my most pressing tasks.
I once even started rearranging my bookshelves by alphabetical order when really I needed to call the bank and order a new card… Seriously!
I’m sure you’ve found creative ways to procrastinate too!
But it’s difficult to procrastinate when you have time specifically blocked out to work on something…
Simply put, it’s a struggle to find an excuse when you have time allocated to a task.
So how should you go about outlining blocks of time? I personally think it pays to decide on your ‘blocks’ ahead of time.
Think about the week ahead on your Sunday night, marking the blocks in your schedule or making a note of them.
I would suggest working with 60 or 90-minute sessions… with breaks in between!
5) Schedule breaks
As I say, breaks are necessary.
You’ll want to take regular breaks if you want to get more done in less time.
It sounds counterintuitive, but breaks will boost your productivity massively.
In other words, stepping away from what you’re doing for a moment will reinvigorate you!
I don’t suggest taking hours and hours off when you have an important task at hand, but give yourself a five to twenty-minute break if you want to work wonders on your productivity.
You won’t be losing time, but you’ll be gaining energy and focus from time out.
Here’s the thing:
We can’t maintain our focus over extended periods…
…We might think we can, but we’ll more than likely be struggling to maintain a level of quality focus.
More often than not, I find my attention wavering if I push past a point that feels comfortable for me.
What’s more, as you give yourself a break and a moment to quieten your mind, you’ll be opening yourself up to new ideas!
6) Try the Pomodoro Technique
There’s a science surrounding when to take your breaks.
You see, taking a break when you fancy it is just going to derail you from your goal…
…Instead, it’s worth following a tried-and-tested approach.
Enter the Pomodoro Technique.
This time management method is based on the rhythm of doing 25-minutes of work, followed by a 5-minute break, four times…
…Before taking a break of 15-30 minutes.
That’s a total of 100 minutes of concentrated work.
In my experience, I get the optimum amount of productivity when I combine this approach with the time blocking method.
Simply put: I set aside 100 minutes to focus on a task, while knowing I will have a series of short breaks throughout.
It allows me to stay sharp and engaged throughout… And I get way more done in less time!
7) Cut out the distractions
In 2023, there are more distractions than ever before!
Our smartphones are a blessing and a curse, creating the biggest distraction of all.
From doom scrolling to responding to a constant ping of messages, we can lose so much time on our phones.
In my experience, I always get a shock when I take a look at my screen use and I realize how much I’ve actually been glued to my phone.
Simply put, our phones can zap our productivity… They are one of the worst offenders when it comes to creating distractions.
But truth be told: distractions are everywhere!
It’s up to you to limit your distractions when it comes to focusing on an important task.
This could look like:
- Turning your phone on airplane mode
- Telling your friends that you won’t be around because you have something to do
- Putting on noise-canceling music
- Not working somewhere where you’ll be interrupted
These actions might sound simple, but don’t diss them until you try!
8) Tackle the hard part first
Sometimes we can put tasks off because they just like too big of a challenge.
This one is real for me! I’ve been in this situation so many times…
…It’s as though I’m scared to start because I don’t know where to start!
But something happens when we get through what we thought was the ‘difficult’ part of a task:
The rest feels a breeze… And it’s enjoyable!
Here’s the thing:
Once we realize that we’ve done the most ‘challenging’ part of the task, we feel like we’re gliding through the rest.
In other words, when we realize we’re capable, it sets the tone for the rest of the task.
So, next time you find yourself stalling and feeling like you’re wasting time, throw yourself into what scares you about the task…
…And see that you can handle it well!
It will only get easier.
9) Set small milestones
If you want to make your workload manageable and to get satisfaction along the way, set small milestones for yourself!
Simply put, milestones are key moments in the journey of getting to your end goal.
Your milestones totaled up will amount to the finished piece of work.
Let’s take an essay as an example:
While the end goal is to have a completed piece of work, your milestones might include:
- Decide on a focus
- Write an introduction
- Come up with an argument
- Write a conclusion
- Include a bibliography
In my experience, it pays to write out my milestones beforehand and to tick them off as I go!
You see, by getting clear on each of the steps that a task requires, you can break it down to feel less daunting and more doable.
What’s more, you’ll be able to celebrate your progress as you go…
…Rather than fixating on how far you still have to go.
10) Delegate to others
Being able to delegate tasks can help boost productivity massively.
It can mean that you’re able to give your sole attention to more pressing matters, while other people help you out.
Simply put: if you work in a team and have the option to delegate, you should.
Now, there are many reasons that people have issues with delegating to others.
- The fear that someone else won’t be able to get the job done as well
- The worry something will go horribly wrong
- The need to micromanage all parts of a project
But you’ll need to leave these thoughts at the door if you want to be more productive.
Although it might seem like it’s a better idea to handle things on your own, it’s often not the case!
You see, not being able to trust others and delegate will just mean you have more to do and less time.
If you have the option to collaborate with others, make the most of it.
In my experience, there is always strength in numbers.
What are the benefits of better productivity?
Having increased levels of productivity offers a whole host of benefits beyond getting the job done.
Not only will being more productive mean that you’re more effective and you get more done in less time, but it will boost your levels of motivation.
In other words, you’ll feel driven to complete the task at hand… And you’ll feel motivated to show up for things!
As if that’s not enough, people who have high levels of productivity also have a greater sense of fulfillment within themselves.
This means that boosting your productivity is actually linked to having better mental health and a more positive outlook on life!
Simply put: you’ll not only be beating procrastination and working efficiently when you commit to boosting your productivity, but you’ll be improving your general outlook for the best too.
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