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6 Ways to Become a Productivity Expert

6 Ways to Become a Productivity Expert

Are you looking to make the most out of every day? Wondering how to turn up your productivity and take it to the next level? Here are six tips that will help you get on the right path to productivity and ensure that you are getting the most out of each day.

1. Know what’s most important to get done.

This is probably the most critical action you can take every day. Know what your number one priority is and write it down. When you know the one task you need to accomplish for the day to feel productive, it becomes much easier to do. Don’t create a to-do list with 20 tasks to have done by the end of the day. Why? Because when you don’t get to all of them, you won’t feel productive. Set a small achievable goal each day and when the momentum picks up you can continue to get other things done.

Sometimes it is just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what you need to do. “I started with projects that I wanted to do, but then realized I didn’t really have the time and they were not high enough on my priority list to invest the time in completing them … You can complete a project by dropping it … It’s important not to have incomplete projects even if we never do anything about them because they drain energy subconsciously,” says Arianna Huffington, who wrote the book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.”

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2. Wake up early.

If you really want to create focus and productivity in your life, waking up early is essential. The hour or so you have in the morning before your family wakes up, before your coworkers distract you and before the emails overtake your inbox is just for you. Reserve your hardest tasks and the ones that mean the most to you for the morning. This is when your energy is at its peak, so make the most of it by focusing on work that matters.

Once you make waking up early a part of your routine and understand the exceptional benefits it has to your productivity, you will never turn back. Hal Elrod is the author of the “Miracle Morning,” which focuses on starting your day off right to ensure productivity. Elrod believes, “If you have a productive, powerful morning, you will have a productive, powerful day.”

3. Schedule your day.

Before you go to bed each night, plan out your next day. Schedule your appointments. Schedule time for your most important priority and for other work you need to get done. Mentally preparing for your day, armed with a plan, just ensures it will run that much smoother. Why risk trying to figure out what needs to get done the next day, when you can wake up and just go? So schedule out your day, but remember this includes scheduling appointments with yourself that you should honor just as much as you would with a manager.

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According to entrepreneur and productivity expert Peter Voogd, “A plan relieves you of the torment of choice. It restores focus and provides energy.”

4. Eliminate distractions.

Turn your phone on silent. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and surfing the web. The key here is remember your time is precious and it is essential to being productive, so don’t waste it on things that don’t matter. If you need to focus on a project, close out of the internet and set a timer for at least 30 minutes of pure focus on it. You’ll be surprised how much more you will get done when you don’t have a million things competing for your attention. Be mindful of your habits. Know your weakness and where you spend your distraction time and redirect that to focus time.

According to study done by Student Science, “Processing multiple streams of information simultaneously is cognitively challenging, thereby potentially causing reduced effectiveness in the performance of the overlapping tasks.” You’re basically just not as effective while you try to multitask or engage with distractions while also trying to get work done.

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5. Include “make up” time in your week for tasks that still need to be done.

No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just won’t be able to get everything you wanted to do in a week done, which can leave you feeling unproductive and unaccomplished. So, instead of settling for not reaching your weekly goals, set aside time to catch up on work that you missed out on each week. Maybe you schedule in two hours on Sunday to finish anything that you couldn’t get to earlier? It doesn’t matter when it is, it just matters that you know you have time in your week allocated to getting yourself back on track if you weren’t able to reach your goals.

Paul J. Meyer, an inspirational leader and coach, said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” You need to commit to being productive. It’s not something that just happens, it’s a deliberate action you take every day.

6. Review your progress.

It’s easy to wake up each day and just cross off items that we’ve done, but if you don’t take time at the end of the day or week to review your progress, you won’t feel productive or accomplished. Before you start your weekly plan, slow down and recognize all that you’ve done. It’s okay to take a moment and pat yourself on the back. In fact, it’s encouraged because once you realize how much progress you are making you will be even more motivated to continue down your productivity path.

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“Let’s be honest: if you don’t think about your goals, you won’t make them happen. The key is to review these goals and set action steps each week. If you only do it once a year, or even once a month, you won’t remember them on a daily basis,” said Leo Babauta, the founder and writer of “Zen Habits.”

Featured photo credit: Matt Gibson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

Reference

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