Are you always trying to use your time wisely and get more things done by the end of the day? You could be spending more time trying to be productive and doing very little production. The super-productive people around the world of course do a few things right which is why we are in awe of their success, inventions and lifestyle.
How do they do it? We have outlined 10 secrets that make them more productive.
1. Break your day into 15-minute intervals.
Think of your work day in terms of hours. Start envisioning each “chunk” of time as being 60 minutes long. This is how most of us are trained to think.
However to get more done start thinking of the “chunks” as being 30 minutes long. Don't be surprised when you reach a point where you take it a step further and think of time chunks as being 15 minutes long.
When you think of each unit of productive time (15 minutes) as being smaller, that perception will make you aware of everything you can accomplish in a shorter time window. Once you are used to this you will no longer think that you need an entire hour to complete a given task or project. You will start to appreciate how much you can accomplish in a quarter of the time.
2. Ignore your inbox as long as possible.
It might take you a while to grasp this lesson and you might be thinking that all emails could be emergencies. If that is the case a quick scan will do and you will see what to respond to immediately. However, if you begin your day by checking your email and messages from social media in the morning you will end up spending a lot of time reading and responding to messages. However, when you check your email in the afternoon, you will be more efficient in responding quickly and moving on to other tasks. This might be difficult considering that we live in a society with people demanding an immediate response.
Still don't be compelled to drop everything you are doing just to respond that instant when you receive a message. You can leave it for later . Napoleon Bonaparte was also known for putting off reading letters as long as he could and by the time he did, most issues had already sorted themselves out. For that reason, did you see how much he accomplished? That is why today we know of Napoleon. So next time you see messages from your email and social media, ignore them and get real work done, then come back later to read them.
3. Memorize your etiquette rules.
Email etiquette is still important but you don't need to spend a good chunk of time reading and making sure your email is flowing smoothly. You can always save yourself time by saving your email drafts and use them for the emails you send of course after making little changes regarding the subject of discussion. Instead of beginning your emails and letters from scratch, use templates that include your own etiquette rules. This way, replying to those email should eat a chunk of your productive work time.
4. Imagine yourself being on an airline flight.
Diplo a very successful producer and songwriter once said, "I’m most productive making music on the road, in hotels, or in planes, because that’s when I have no distractions.” We are all different of course and you might do nothing but sleep when you are on the road. However, if Diplo's comments ring a bell with you, use them to your advantage. When you are in the office with a gazillion tasks, imagine yourself on an airline flight the minute you sit down to work. Block out everything all around and solely focus on your work. If you really focus and block everything else out, you will definitely get more things done.
5. Designate a “workplace” if you work at home.
If you work from home, make sure you have a different space for work than you do for play. Having a separate work-space plays a great role in your productivity. First, you’ll train yourself to get into a work mindset when you occupy it. This will help you to get into a flow state, and get more done in less time. This separate workplace will also encourage you to leave work behind at the end of the day. You won’t be tempted to check your email when you are supposed to be relaxing with your spouse. You won’t be compelled to finish a spreadsheet when you should be watching a movie with your family or playing with your kids.
With a designated work area, you will work more productively since the amount of time you spend in your work-space is limited.
6. Avoid multitasking.
Multitasking might sound great in an interview but in reality it is not such a good thing. Multitasking introduces switching costs. When you switch from task to task, you never get “in the zone.” You never manage to achieve a flow state. This takes a huge toll on your productivity. Also, research shows that switching back and for between unfinished tasks hampers our performance compared to focusing on – and completing – them one by one.The next time you’re tempted to multitask, don’t. You’ll get more done through single-tasking. Besides multitasking might leave you stressed by the end of the day.
7. Learn to say “no.”
If you’re over-committed, you’re going to have a hard time keeping up with all of your obligations – at home and at your job. Worse, you’ll start to lose perspective concerning which obligations should receive a higher priority than others.
This is the constant dilemma of folks who can’t say “no” to others. They end up getting recruited for more tasks and projects than they can handle. Eventually, things start to fall through the cracks, and their productivity plummets. If you find it difficult to tell others “no,” practice. Develop the habit. The world’s top CEOs actually and routinely decline invitations to participate in projects that are inconsistent with their schedules. And because they can say no, these corporate showrunners are among the most productive people on earth. Borrow a leaf from them.
8. Create an agenda and stick with it.
Adora Cheung, CEO of Homejoy, prides herself on making full use of her time. She once said, “At other companies I used to work for, meetings would just go on forever.” She made sure that didn’t happen at her own company. She noted that she’ll “prioritize everything that I think we should cover, and then during the meeting we just go down the agenda. If it’s not on the agenda, we don’t talk about it.” This is excellent advice for any type of meeting, whether with a client, your departmental team, or a board of directors. Rather than share random ideas, and seeing where they lead, create and stick to an agenda. You’ll save a lot of time.
9. Focus on the things you are accomplishing.
When it comes to productivity, we’re hardwired to measure the success of our efforts according to the passage of time. We glance at the clock to gauge whether we’re on track. We mentally note the amount of time we have left to work on the project in front of us.On the one hand, this does improve our productivity. As Parkinson’s law states, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” To that end, deadlines are useful.
On the other hand, it’s important to not lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. As with deadlines, working toward a desired outcome can help to boost your productivity. You’ll be invested in your work, willing to focus on it, and motivated to bring it to completion.
10. Avoid getting too obsessed with productivity secrets.
Finally, don’t overdo it! It’s easy to spend so much time focusing on how to be more productive that you actually end up wasting time. If you spend most of your time reading about how the top CEOs are running their shows the you have it wrong. Now is the time to begin implementing what you have learned. Consider the above tips and practice them then note how your productivity improves.
If anything works make it a great part of your everyday process. Remember that your circumstances are unique which is why you have to create this tailored formula from the above ideas in order to be more productive.