Advertising

The First 6 Steps You Can Take To Become Productive Instantly

The First 6 Steps You Can Take To Become Productive Instantly
Advertising

Productivity is very important. Productivity means being able to achieve more than usual within the same amount of time. You’re able to squeeze the most out of life. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t very productive. The good news is it only takes a few practical steps to enhance our productivity.

Keep in mind that, while productivity improves gradually, there are ways to kick start it instantly. Here are 6 steps to follow right now:

1. Look at the Big Picture

When you’re losing productivity, the first thing to do is step back and think about what you’d like to achieve in the long run, and what matters to you the most. Next, look at the potential activities you can involve yourself in, in relation to that.

You’ll immediately get more clarity, you’ll feel more motivated to take action, and thus your productivity will instantly increase. Even if the tasks are hard, looking at the big picture will embolden you to do them .

Advertising

2. Anchor Yourself in the Present

One of the biggest productivity killers is distractions. Whether it’s a TV running in the background that routinely grabbing your awareness, or a series of thoughts that run in your head and are unrelated to the tasks at hand, distractions put much of your attention in the wrong place, and hurt your productivity immensely.

Overcome distractions and anchor yourself in the present. Sometimes this means eliminating external distractions, like turning off your TV. Other times it means being in the moment. Take a deep breath, clear your mind of unwanted thoughts, and become present. This simple exercise, done repeatedly, works wonders for your productivity.

3. Delay Gratification

Frequently we are not productive because the task is not as fun as some other activity. It’s tempting to abandon the less enjoyable task for the less valuable one.

This is where delaying gratification comes in. Don’t allow yourself to do that thing you enjoy most until you have taken care of that task with a lot of value. Put business before pleasure.

Advertising

Once your mind realizes that the only way to get to that fun activity is by doing some other activity first, you’ll become highly motivated to get this other activity done, which boosts in your productivity. This is how you make gratification work for you, not against you.

4. Eat a Healthy Meal

Even though it seems like a minor factor, what you eat influences your productivity. A lot of us eat in a hurry, and we eat really appalling meals, with lots of sugar, lots of unhealthy carbs, and low nutritional value.

A meal like that will make you feel full, but it will also make your energy level plummet. After eating you’ll feel exhausted and lethargic, so you can bet that your productivity won’t be too high, either.

On the other hand, eating a nutritious meal, containing fruits, vegetables, and lean meats will boost your energy and make you feel good, which will help your productivity. So pay attention to what you eat, and eat food that gives you energy instead of taking away from it.

Advertising

5. Chunk Everything Down

Sometimes we deal with tasks that are really big and will take months to accomplish. When we look at big tasks, their size can feel overwhelming, and this can de-motivate us. Handle this issue by breaking every big task into much smaller tasks, and focus primarily on the small tasks.

For example, let’s say that your big task is writing an entire book. You can break that down into writing a number of small chapters, and then when you work, instead of thinking about the whole book, concentrate on the chapter you have to write. Writing a small chapter is a much more manageable task than writing a whole book, and before you know it,  you’ll have written the whole book.

6. Take Regular Breaks

It may seem counterintuitive, but regular breaks actually increase your productivity, as long as they’re not too frequent or too long. Breaks give your mind and body a chance to rest and recover, so that when you get back to work, you’ll be more efficient and productive.

Conversely, people who almost never take breaks when they work in an attempt to become productive, only succeed in exhausting themselves. They may work more, but at a much lower efficiency, which is bad for them and bad for the quality of the work they do.

Advertising

 

The best thing about these 6 steps is that you can start applying them immediately. As soon as you begin, you’ll see your productivity improve. You’ll get more done, and the quality of your work will improve.

Small productivity boosts every day add up to big productivity shifts in the long-term. And big long-term shifts drastically alter your life for the better. Isn’t that what most of us seek?

Featured photo credit: Blumpy via flickr.com

Advertising

More by this author

Eduard Ezeanu

Eduard is a confidence and communication coach with 7+ years of experience.

7 Things to Remember When Going Through Tough Times in Life 5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships The First 6 Steps You Can Take To Become Productive Instantly 7 Great Ways to Be Social During the Holidays 4 Proactive Strategies to Build a Social Life

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Advertising

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next