Productivity is getting the results you want with less time and effort.
When you’re trying to understand how to be productive, what you’re really seeking is a way to achieve your goals while having time to spend on what matters. Charles Duhigg defines productivity as “making certain choices in certain ways” that move us from being “merely busy” to “genuinely productive” in his book Smarter Faster Better.
Planning and Prioritizing things helps one save both time and energy which will allow you to set a Perfect Work-Life Balance.
Below are productivity tips that can get you started.
Lets get Productive
1. List it Out!
First, you have got to have a plan. Personally, I prefer to mix & match the old-fashioned pen to paper to-do lists and their tech counterparts. Some really good apps include Notion, Google Calendar, and Todoist. I also prefer to prepare my list a week in advance for routines, habits and goals then tweak it a day or night before for some tasks that need to be achieved the following day.
2. Eat the Frog
As Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Eating the frog means “Just do it”, otherwise, the frog will eat you-meaning that you’ll end up procrastinating the whole day.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” –Dale Carnegie, American writer
Each morning or the night before, write or markdown your top three tasks for the day. Be clear with what you write and use more than a three-word description.
3. Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
A Pomodoro is 25 minutes because it’s the perfect length of time to help you not procrastinate, be productive, create urgency and help you stay focused on any task you are tackling.
For most of us, time is an enemy. We race against the clock to finish work and deadlines this technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it.
4. The Two-Minute Rule
Small tasks pop up throughout the day, but you don’t want to waste time contemplating whether or not you should do them.
I always go by the rule “if it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes, just do it!”, this way some of the menial every day to do’s don’t stack up. If it takes more than two minutes then schedule the task to your to-do list (below your top three tasks for the day) and take care of it later.
Task batching is a planning process that groups similar activities together to improve focus and productivity. Batching tasks works because you’re maintaining the same frame of mind for all the tasks involved.
An example is by batching your “social tasks” together, like emails, text messages, and voice-mails together. It’s either you batch by time blocks or schedule by days.
Always batch similar tasks together when planning your day or week, it’ll definitely make your work process flow smoothly.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” –Tim Ferriss, American podcaster, author, and entrepreneur
6. Time Blocking
As defined by the app Todoist “Time blocking is a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of tasks.
- Start with your high-level priorities
- Set aside time for both Challenging & Easy tasks
- Schedule your breaks (not just lunch)
- Write down your daily to-do list (for work, home, and family/social) and fill it up
- Overestimate how long things will take (at least to start)
- Add blocks for reactive tasks each day
- Place buffers in between tasks
- Put in time for downtime, relaxation, and learning
It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less. Maximize what we do with the time that we have.
7. Schedule in Buffer time
Buffer time is extra time added to a task or service duration. For example, you have a 25-minute meeting, but there might be some conversations with colleagues afterwards, then you add a 10 minute buffer time. Give yourself time for unplanned things.
8. Prioritize and Set Deadlines
There isn’t time to do everything so make sure you prioritize your MVT (Most Valuable Task). Also, you’re more likely to get things done when you have a deadline to work towards.
9. Multitasking doesn’t work
Your focus will not be 100% if you are doing 2 to 3 things at a time. Give your all on one task before moving to the next, in this way you’ll produce a better output
10. Work in Sprints
Work in short bursts with breaks in between than long slogs. An easier way to do this is to Break Down Tasks.
11. Organize, Organize, Organize
File things where you can find them. Save time by making it easy for yourself to find work and things.
12. Automate what you can- Batch what you can’t
Spend time automating some of your tasks in advance so that you can do all the rest in batches.
13. Block out distraction, don’t rely on Willpower
Turn off your notifications and block out anything else that might distract you
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins, American author, philanthropist, and life coac
14. Always Take Notes
With so much information flooding in throughout your day. It’s impossible to remember everything. Don’t rely on your thoughts and ideas, you need to write them down.
15.Just get going
Last but not least—Just start working, even if it’s the smallest task, take a step forward.
Being more productive can make life easier for you, especially if you commit to the system that will work best in keeping you on top of things. There are many benefits of personal productivity. The biggest benefit of productivity is that it leads to a fulfilled and happy life.
If you enjoyed this article check out my similar post on LIVING FORWARD: 10 WAYS TO ACHIEVE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE