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Last Updated on December 31, 2019

How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make

How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make

Everyone assumes that being more productive is simply about getting more done in less time. If you are a productive person, you definitely accomplish more in months than many people do in years.

But productivity is more of a way of being. You could be doing less and at the same time, be more productive. What do you think of when you think about ‘being more productive in your life’?

On your search for being more productive, you are likely to come across a wealth of information on different tools, techniques and tips to employ. Most of the time, it may seem like common sense; however, common sense is definitely not common practice and this is why many individuals struggle to increase their productivity.

Most of what you will read will improve your results, but another contributing factor is that some of the suggestions just don’t seem to resonate with people or cannot be easily applied.

I am not going to tell you where you can buy a magic pill to take away any effort you need to make to achieve what you want, but I am going to share with you 4 tiny tweaks that really work to be more productive.

It is not only about applying the best practices but also applying yourself more and in different ways. So how to be more productive?

1. Get out of Your Own Way

Sometimes all you need to do is stop sabotaging yourself and get out of your own way.

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What do I mean exactly?

You might tend to look at all the extrinsic factors of why you can’t be more productive and you might blame, complain and point fingers at everyone and everything, except yourself.

When the blame cannot be directed externally, you might then resort to using excuses, desperately searching for a justification that will give you comfort because ‘you have no control over what happens.’

How many excuses do you have and live by each day? ‘I couldn’t do this because…or I don’t have time to do this because…’ I am not saying that your excuses might not be valid, but I strongly believe that more than 80% of the time, they are not real; it is an avoidance technique that we subconsciously use.

Not dealing with procrastination is a clear example of standing in your own way. Nobody else is going to suddenly make it go away; it will be there the next time you attempt to do whatever it is that you are procrastinating.

Put results before comfort, get out of your own way, and stop making excuses. Like Nike says, “just do it!”

Ask yourself honestly:

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‘How are you standing in your own way in some areas?’

2. Talk to Yourself Differently

Productive individuals think very differently than others. You need to challenge your thoughts and develop a productive mindset.

What is the main difference? A productive person doesn’t think along the lines of ‘Oh no, I have got so much to do. What am I going to do?’ ‘I am so stressed. I can’t think straight’ or ‘I am so overwhelmed. I wish this…or that…’

But instead, they think:

  • I need to do x and y. What is the best way for me to get everything done?
  • What is causing the stress? What needs to change so that I manage this situation better?
  • What can I do to improve this, considering the current circumstances?

The words and phrases you use immediately empower you or they don’t; they either make you feel better or more stressed.

The words you use, ‘your self talk,’ is pivotal to everything in life because you always act on them, whether they support you or not.

How could you change the way you are thinking to be more productive and empowered? Here’re some essential tips: Self-Talk Determines Your Success: 15 Essential Tips

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3. Adjust the Suit to Fit Your Body

Time management supports productivity. They go hand-in-hand.

Most people often overlook the fact that time management is not a cookie cutter though, and what might suit you won’t necessarily work for your colleague or best friend.

You need to take the advice given from a meta view and then adjust it to your situation specifically.

Think about clothes shopping:

Sometimes the suit doesn’t fit and you need to make adjustments and tweaks so that it fits your body perfectly. The same is true with time management and being more productive. You need to personalize what you read to your needs.

If some tips and techniques don’t work for you, instead of throwing in the towel, find a way to adjust them to suit your situation. Otherwise, it is like wanting to get healthier but resisting a change in lifestyle.

You can’t avoid it, so if you don’t like it, adjust it to suit your specific needs and make it work for you.

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4. Identify Your Time Thieves

We all have time thieves but most of us don’t even know what they are.

If you can identify your biggest time thieves, the activities or situations that throw you off course, distract or interrupt you, or the bad habits that keep you from performing better, you will improve your results much more quickly.

If you try to study and apply different techniques and you ignore your current thieves, the effort will remain fruitless.

If you just aim to change one of your worst time management habits, you will change your results immediately. It will most likely also give you the impetus to change what else isn’t working, once you feel the reward of your efforts and you see the clear connection between what you do and what your reality is.

Think about one thing, that if you changed right now, would have the biggest positive influence on your productivity. Write this down, think about what causes or contributes to this and what your solution will be moving forward.

If you aren’t sure what have been distracting you, this guide can help you: How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

Don’t forget to put results before comfort, if that is what you really want. Most people give up without ever knowing that they really can achieve their goals, meet their objectives and transform their lives!

More to Boost Your Productivity

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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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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