Advertising
Advertising

Wow! 27 Ways to Boost your Productivity in 7 Minutes a Day

Wow! 27 Ways to Boost your Productivity in 7 Minutes a Day

Micro-actions are a powerful productivity tip. A micro-action is a tiny step. It is an action you can accomplish from start to finish in seven minutes or less. For example, in seven minutes you can:

Lifehack Productive Dog
    Red Dog leaping into the day!
    • Leap out of bed with excitement, like this red dog.
    • Make a phone call to your best client to invite him or her to lunch
    • Set a reminder on your phone so you won’t be late for the staff meeting
    • Write a thank you note
    • Clean out one drawer at your office
    • Throw away binders from workshops you attended five years ago
    • Call to follow up with a prospective customer
    • Choose a book on productivity you would like to read
    • Reserve a conference room for your team meeting next week
    • Handwrite your thoughts for three objectives you have for the team meeting
    • Walk around the block. Walk up a few flights of stairs. Stretch.
    • Drink a cup of water or laugh out loud (it has been proven–happier people are more productive)

    If you choose to take tiny steps forward every day, these tiny micro-actions can compound and boost your daily productivity exponentially. Understanding the power of micro-actions and consciously choosing which you will use and which you will delete from your life are the keys to improving your personal time management and your productivity.

    Think of it this way: every action you take during the day is actually a micro-action. From crawling out of bed, to brushing your teeth, to getting dressed for work. Every single action is a micro-action!

    Micro-actions are incredibly powerful because they are so easy to do. They can help you become “unstuck”. When you begin working on a new project ask yourself, “What micro-action could I take right now that will help me finish this task/activity/project/goal?”

    The objective of this article is to help you understand how much time is lost in the gaps of life. There is a lot of hurry up and wait. But if you have five places in your work day where you are stuck in a short gap–you can accomplish five micro-actions. There are many small, unfinished tasks you never seem to have time to complete.

    The list below is categorized so you can make use of the gaps in your schedule and boost your productivity starting today!

    Advertising

    14026451128_3c842f8917_z

      The Night Before Work

      1. Keys. Always put your keys in the same place.

      2. Closet Organization. Terri Fulton, Certified Professional Organizer®, encourages her female clients to place all of their clothes in the closet based on color and sleeve length. If a woman has five different black tops, it takes very little effort to look at the section of the closet with all of the black tops and move from short sleeves to long sleeves to find the appropriate shirt without wasting time.

      3. Clothes. Decide what you will wear the night before. Place everything you plan to wear in one location. This includes socks, shoes, ties, jewelry and any other accessories you will need. (How much time have you spent looking for the right shirt when you have a meeting that begins in less than an hour?)

      Getting Ready in the Morning

      4. Water. One of the most important habits to dramatically improve your productivity is to drink more water. You already know you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This is a simple productivity hack. Drink eight ounces of water when take your vitamins, or when you first wake up.

      5. Walk. Beth Ingram, a retired Sr VP from the Arkansas Hospital Association shared one of the best getting ready practices I have ever heard. When she was working, each morning she would walk on her treadmill for 10 minutes and then get ready for the day. If her goal was to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, she knew this 10-minute discipline would help keep her on track.

      6. Review. Before leaving the house take a quick look at your calendar and to-do list. How many times have you made it halfway to the office and realized you left something important at home?

      Arriving at the Office

      7. Leave for the office seven minutes early. My brother taught me that arriving on time means you are arriving late. Leaving a few minutes ahead of schedule each day can easily reduce the amount of stress you might feel if you are caught by one too many stoplights.

      Advertising

      8. Arrive on time. Consider the impact of arriving on time and ready to work at 8:00 every morning, rather than dashing into your office at 8:15 and still having to grab a cup of coffee, pull your mail out, say hello to a couple of people. By the time you sit down, it’s already 8:30. Assuming you work 20 days a month, you are wasting at least 10 hours of productive work time each month, or 560 hours per year.

      During the Work Day

      9. The 10 Minute Tidy. John Arnold, Chief Inspiration Officer of The 7 Minute Life, shares what he calls “The 10 Minute Tidy” concept. Take 10 minutes each morning to “tidy” up your desk and 10 minutes each afternoon to “tidy” up your desk again.

      10. Office Supplies. Have all your office supplies easily accessible. While I am not a personal organizer, I have many friends who are and one of the most intuitive but often overlooked productivity needs is to have all of your regularly used office supplies easily accessible. As an example, I moved my work desk into a new space about six months ago, and for six months I was digging through my desk drawers looking for Sharpies, my ruler, sticky notes, scissors, adhesive tape. By my own estimate I wasted at least 10 to 15 minutes a day looking for these items in various places.

      11. Everything should have a place. Every single work item or supply that you use regularly should have a single location specifically for that supply. Scissors should have a home and paper clips should always be in the same place.

      12. Prioritize each task. Once you know the outcome of a project, create a list of action steps that will allow you to complete the task. Then prioritize each of the steps in an order that works in the most efficient way with the least waste of time and effort.

      13. Capture all of your notes and to-do lists in one place.  As you begin to improve your organizational and productivity skills you will want to choose to have a single place to capture all of your goals, notes, action steps and to-do lists.  You may choose to use some sort of daily planner or even a spiral notebook. For the tech-savvy, there are many apps available for your smartphone to help with this.

      14. Start and finish one task at a time. Many people start a project or task and move it to 98% of completion, only to stop short of finishing the last 2%.  Make it a point to start and completely finish one task at a time.

      Advertising

      15. Create repeatable processes and systems. Take the time to stop and think about the routines you and your team do over and over every day. Choose to create processes and systems to streamline those activities.

      16. Use checklists. As you create your processes and systems, create checklists to use each time.  A checklist provides consistency and serves as a protocol for you and for your team. It also provides the opportunity to cross off what has been accomplished and it will clearly show what is left to do.

      17. Staff meetings. Arrive seven minutes early to your next staff meeting and use that time to make a list of people you would like to write a thank you note to.

      18. Just say no. Don’t be afraid to politely say no. Productivity is often a “yes” or “no” decision. If you are asked to participate in an activity that doesn’t line up with what you are trying to accomplish, politely say “No, thank you.”

      19. Get rid of the distractions. True productivity occurs when you are able to totally focus all of your mental and physical energy on one task at a time. To improve your productivity, you may need to get rid of the distractions in your day.  

      20. Stretch. The human brain can only take so much. Make sure you take time during the day to stretch, walk and stay hydrated.

      21. Use a timer. A timer can help you improve and monitor your current productivity skills. Set the timer for 30 minutes and focus on completing one task at a time. Work until the timer goes off, and you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you are not looking at your watch every five minutes.  

      Advertising

      22. Work with concrete deadlines. Aren’t you amazed at how much work you can get done the day before you leave for vacation? Knowing that you have a concrete deadline can have a positive influence on the volume of work you accomplish. 

      The End of Your Work Day

      23. Clean out your car. It is surprising how much trash and clutter can accumulate in your car. Take a few minutes every day to clean the trash out of your car.

      24. Create a written daily plan of action. Take seven minutes to think about what you would like to accomplish the next day, and create a written daily plan of action. Having a written daily plan of action ranks as one of the most powerful time management and productivity tools person can implement.

      25. Relax. Even seven minutes of truly relaxing without noise or interruption will make you more productive.

      26. Be happy. There are so many articles that talk about the power of happiness and laughter. Happy people are simply more productive.

      27. Go to bed. It takes less than seven minutes to decide when you will go to bed and when you will choose to wake up. Get a good night’s sleep for a vast improvement on your productivity.

       

      Featured photo credit: The Absurdity of Time [Explored] / jDevaun via flickr.com

      More by this author

      Allyson Lewis

      Allyson is a nationally acclaimed author, motivator, speaker, time management, productivity strategist, and executive coach.

      77 Books That Changed My Life and 3 Recommendations to Help You Read More Uncommon Quotes That Can Change Your Life Every iPhone User Needs To Know These Smart Ways To Use Siri How Strategic Thinking Can Boost Your Performance at Work Wow! 27 Ways to Boost your Productivity in 7 Minutes a Day

      Trending in Productivity

      1 What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating) 2 10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2019 3 The Secret to Success Is Failure 4 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 5 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually)

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on July 23, 2019

      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

      If you have so many things to do that you often find yourself struggling to finish projects and tasks and move on to other stuff, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that over 20 percent of the adult population put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.[1]

      So what is procrastination? And what can you do to prevent procrastination?

      In this article, I am going to explain to youwhy procrastination is so difficult to beat and how you can stop procrastinating once and for all by following a step-by-step guide. But first, you need to understand how procrastination happens.

      What Is Procrastination?

      Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, defines procrastination in this way:[2]

      “Procrastination is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”

      In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. The end result is that important tasks are put off to a later time.

      This comic is one of the typical examples of procrastination:

        The Challenge of Getting Over Procrastination

        Human beings have limited self-control. Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida State University, has been studying self-control and he has found that just like any muscles, human’s self-control is a limited resource that can quickly become exhausted.[3] When self-control is close to being depleted, human tend to choose what’s more pleasurable– the immediate procrastinated tasks instead of the actual works.

        At its core, procrastination is an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators choose to do something else instead of doing what they need to do because it’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.

        In short, procrastination is so difficult to beat because it is a battle against human’s natural enemy, a human weakness that is in-born.

        How to Stop Procrastinating (Step-By-Step Guide)

        Despite the fact that it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, here I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow so as to stop procrastinating.

        Advertising

        1. Identify Your Triggers: The 5 Types of Procrastinator

        Identifying the type of procrastination you personally experience is an essential step for you to fix the problem at its root.

        Take a look at this flowchart here to find out what type of procrastinator you are:

          Which type of procrastinator are you? Let’s take a look at the triggers for your procrastination type:

          Perfectionist

          Being perfect is the pleasure perfectionists want. But often this leads to them being too scared to show any imperfections. Because of this, they frequently fail to complete things, as they’re forever seeking the perfect timing or approach. Tasks end up never being completed, because in the eyes of the perfectionist, things are never perfect enough.

          Instead of finishing something, perfectionists get caught up in a never-ending cycle of additions, edits, and deletions.

          Ostrich

          An ostrich prefers to stay in the dreaming stage. That way, they don’t have to work for real, or deal with any negativity or stress.

          Dreaming gives this type of people a false sense of achievement, as in their minds, they envision big, ambitious plans. Unfortunately for them, these plans will most likely stay as dreams, and they’ll never accomplish anything truly worthwhile.

          Self-Saboteur

          A self-saboteur has bought into the line that ‘by doing nothing, bad things won’t happen.’

          In reality, self-saboteurs have developed a fear of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Their way to avoid these mishaps, is to do nothing at all. In the end, they may make few mistakes – but they also see few accomplishments.

          Daredevil

          Daredevils are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to enjoy time doing their own thing before the deadline comes around.

          It’s most likely an unconscious thing, but daredevils evidently believe that starting early will sacrifice their time for pleasure. This is reinforced in their minds and feelings, by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.

          Advertising

          Chicken

          Chickens lack the ability to prioritize their work. They do what they feel like they should do, rather than thinking through what they really need to do.

          Prioritizing tasks is a step that takes extra time, so chicken will feel it’s not worth it. Because of this, they usually end up doing a lot of effortless tasks that don’t contribute much to a project. They’re incessantly busy on low-impact tasks, but seem oblivious to urgent, high-impact tasks.

          2. Face Your Triggers and Get Rid of Them

          Whether it’s fear of failure, overwhelming feelings, avoidance or convincing yourself you’re just too busy to get something done, you can improve your ability to be productive by eliminating your procrastination triggers.

          For Perfectionists, Re-Clarify Your Goals

          Much of the time procrastination tendencies form simply because we’ve outgrown our goals. We’re ever-changing and so are our wants in life. Try looking over your goals and ask yourself if they’re still what you want.

          Take time out to regroup and ask yourself what you really want to achieve:

          • What steps do you need to take?
          • Is what you’re currently doing reflecting what you want?
          • What do you need to change?

          Write things down, scribble them out and rewrite.

          For Ostriches, Do the Difficult Tasks First

          Even if you feel you’re not a morning person, the beginning of the day is when your brain is most productive. Use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff done.

          If you leave your difficult tasks to later, you’re much more likely to put it off because you’re tired and lack motivation.

          Finishing lots of simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.

          For Self-Saboteurs, Write out a To-Do (And a Not–To-Do) List Each Day

          Writing things down is powerful and psychologically increases your need to get things done.

          Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, it brings these ‘difficult’ tasks to your mind’s attention instead of keeping them locked away somewhere in your avoidance mode.

          Remember, think how satisfying and productive it feels to cross of a completed task.

          Advertising

          For Daredevils, Create a Timeline with Deadlines

          It’s common to have a deadline for a goal which seems like a good idea. But this is basically an open invitation for procrastination.

          If it’s a self-created deadline with no pressure, we tend to justify pushing it back each time it comes into sight and feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.

          Create a bigger timeline then within that, establish deadlines along the way. The beauty of this comes when each deadline completion is dependent on the next. It keeps you on track and keeps you accountable for being in alignment with the overall timeline.

          For Chickens, Break Tasks into Bite-Sized Pieces

          A lot of the time procrastination comes from overwhelming thoughts.

          If something feels too big to tackle and we don’t know where to start, it feels like a struggle. This is also true if our goal is too vague and lacking direction.

          Break down larger tasks into smaller ones and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but it often leads you much more quickly to where you want to be due to the powerful momentum you get going.

          3. Take Planned Breaks

          The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task and this could be a reason for procrastination.

          Make sure you take regular, structured breaks away from your task so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.

          A break as short as 5 minutes is enough to keep your mind sharp and wards off fatigue. I recommend you to use the Pomodoro Time Tracker. It is a great tool to help you take breaks at set intervals. Simply start the 25-minute timer, and follow the prompts.

            4.  Reward Yourself

            It’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for achieving even the small tasks. It creates a sense of motivation and releases those feel-good, productive emotions that spur you on to achieve even more.

            Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away or fun activity for the bigger stuff.

            Advertising

            Personally I try to make staying focus more fun by using the app Forest. It turns productivity into a game. In the game, you can plant a virtual tree at the beginning of your work time. If you maintain focus for the duration of the timer, you’ll grow a tree to add to your forest. It’s rewarding when you can eventually grow a forest.

              5. Keep Track of Your Time in a Smart Way

              If you want to prevent the bad habit of procrastination from coming back, keep track of the time you spend every day.

              By having a clear idea of where you spend your time, you can always review your productivity and know which areas to improve.

              It’s not easy to keep track of every minute you spend throughout the day so I recommend you to use the app Rescue Time.

              It gets you a categorized breakdown of how you spend your time and helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task. You can even label activities as productive and non-productive so as to block your biggest distractions.

                The Bottom Line

                Procrastination exists for many reasons and only you know for yourself what these triggers are.

                Understanding what procrastination really is and the source of your avoidance tendencies is important in moving them out of the way and help you start the productivity momentum.

                Make procrastination under your control!

                More About Procrastination

                Reference

                Read Next