Productivity is how you find more time in your day to do what you love, and achieve greater results. It’s time to stop being lazy and make a few small changes that will help you win back extra time.
“Productivity is not about doing more; it’s about doing less”
After you’ve had a productive day, you feel so much better. The difficulty is that doing tasks that are on some never-ending to-do list creates a feeling of emptiness. To-do lists are not enough and they rarely make you more productive.
This is my very short, simple, no-brainer list of how you can become twice as productive:
Do the big stuff at the start of the day.
If you follow no other advice than this, then you’re already most of the way there. Start your day with the hardest, most fulfilling tasks. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, then do it when you first wake up the next day.
Save your boring and repetitive tasks like ironing and chasing up bills for late in the day when your energy starts to slump. I do my blogging in the morning and my housework just before I go to bed. This allows me to focus on trying to inspire people during the morning when I have the most energy and feel like I can do anything.
Chunk down and delete items off your to-do list.
Many tasks on your to-do list are actually part of the same single task. Chunk these tasks into one task. Next, take the tasks that are really not important and don’t matter to you, and consider deleting them off your to-do list.
Finally, don’t let other people’s tasks dominate the order in which you tackle your list. Do the tasks that serve you first. You’ll feel much better and more productive for doing so.
Phone over email for the win.
Never-ending text messages and emails lead nowhere. Instant messaging apps are not much better because the conversation never stops. Things get lost in translation and it’s tiring replying back on a tiny little keyboard while looking at a miniature little screen. Not to mention it makes you anti-social.
Be more productive by picking up the phone. A 5-minute conversation is way better than an endless line of messages that interrupt you from the task you’re focusing on each time a new response is received.
Have phone blackouts.
What’s this you ask? It’s blackout periods from your phone. Similar to a trading blackout if you’ve ever worked in a publically listed company. Have times of the day and week where you are banned from your phone. Enable flight mode, put it on silent, lock it in your car.
Escape from your phone so you can be focused and work without distraction for a set period of time. Avoid the temptation that has become your phone. The temptation that has become the destroyer of your success.
Don’t check social or email first thing.
Checking email and social media first thing in the morning sends your mind into reactive mode. Start your day with time to think and plan what you’re going to do. Be intentional about your day rather than let technology dictate what you’ll focus your time on and therefore what areas you’ll be productive at.
Schedule rest periods.
Always being on is not making you productive. We’re not robots, and we need to rest once in a while. Regular periods of rest, outside of sleep, allow us to be more productive. Chunk your day into blocks and rest in-between productive periods of work.
That rest might be eating a proper lunch, doing 10-minutes of meditation, listening to a podcast, or staring at your office window and doing absolutely nothing.
Give your mind space. It’s in these brief moments of nothingness that you will come up with the ideas, solutions and strategies to win in your career and in life. At the same time, it will make you productive.
Don’t lie to yourself.
“Creating a meeting, having a lunch, planning a strategy session and sending an email trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive rather than the truth: you do these things to put off doing the real work”
It allows you to be lazy and not think you’re being lazy. Look for ways to get to the solution or complete the task in the most productive way. If you find yourself not being in the mood for doing the hard work, schedule it for the next day, first thing in the morning.
It’s not that difficult to be productive. We can all do it with a little bit of effort and very focused discipline.
How do you increase your productivity?