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 .
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.
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.
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.
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