Do you want to be more productive and clear that never-ending to-do list you set yourself every day? Even though everyone gets 24 hours a day, some people are more efficient and organized than others.
Somehow they have a knack at squeezing every last drop out of every moment and getting things done, on time. Productivity is a huge challenge for many of us and is something you will need to master to become successful.
The good news is that you don’t need to have special powers or be a genius to be more productive. It’s more a case of figuring out how to harness your energy and stay focused throughout the day by introducing some simple disciplines into your routine.
To help you out, I’ve put together 15 tips to boost your productivity.
#1. Set A Sleep Schedule
Set and stick to a sleep schedule. This creates a routine that your body and mind will thank you for. Regular sleep is also essential for productivity because sleep deprivation prevents our brain from focusing.
While you may not need the 8 hours sleep that everyone prescribes, find out what works best for you and then stick to it.
#2. Get Up An Hour Earlier
Your mornings can make or break your day and many successful people start their day well before 6 am. While you don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn, arising an hour earlier will force you to get started on your to-do list and help you zoom through your tasks.
If this is too big a jump, try getting up 15 minutes earlier every day then gradually increase the time.
#3. Don’t Check Emails
You already have a to-do list so don’t check your emails first thing in the morning or you will be sucked into responding to other people’s demands. Leave your emails as late as possible in the day or use a scheduling plugin like Boomerang (for Firefox and Chrome) to manage your emails.
#4. Turn Off Your Phone
When you need to get things done, the last thing you want is people calling you. If it’s urgent the caller will leave you a message or email you.
It’s not just calls either. Texts and emails can also be a major distraction as is every little beep, flash or whizz to notify you of their arrival.
Turn off your phone until you are ready to take calls. It will make a huge difference to your productivity levels.
#5. Prioritize Your Tasks
“Eat that frog” as Brian Tracy says and that is also my advice to you; start with the biggest, most important task first not the easiest. Don’t get lost in busy-ness, focus on priorities.
#6. Time Yourself
Most of us can’t concentrate continuously for hours on end. Work in spurts of 30 minutes and set an online timer, your watch or your trusty alarm clock to go off after this period. Take a short 5-minute break to refocus then start again.
#7. Use A MindMap
When you are embarking on a big project it can be difficult to picture everything that needs to be done. Using a mindmap can help you visualize the tasks and plan everything out. Either draw one by hand on a piece of paper using colored pens or use a great online tool like MindMeister (affiliate).
#8. Visualize The End Result
It’s all too easy to get engrossed with doing individual tasks that make up a project. You can lose sight of the big picture or end goal. Keep yourself motivated by imagining what the end result will look like and how it will make you feel.
What is it you want to achieve today? What would put you in a great mood when the day ends? When you visualize the end result you’ll be amazed by how much more you can squeeze into your day.
#9. Take Regular Breaks
Every 2 hours, walk away from the task and give yourself a longer break of up to 30 minutes. Go for a walk, do some push-ups, put some music on – anything that will you clear your mind and help you relax and refocus.
#10. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you drink enough water while you work; not tea, coffee, fruit juice or soft drinks but pure unadulterated water.
Studies show that not drinking enough water can cause fatigue, mood swings and difficulty concentrating.
Fill a large pitcher (jug) of water and keep it nearby to remind you to keep sipping. Refill it during the day so you don’t have to think about drinking 8 glasses of water.
#11. Keep It Brief
When you begin writing your to-do list, a strange thing happens. Your mind starts scanning your memory bank to come up with a gazillion items to add to it. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Choose just three tasks you want to complete by the end of the day and do them. This will help you stay on track and be more productive than if you wrote down 10 items.
#12. Chunk It Down
Every project consists of many smaller items, tasks or stages. Break down big jobs into smaller bite-sized pieces. This will help you get some perspective, avoid overwhelm and be more productive.
#13. Don’t Overthink
“Just do it,” said Nike.
The more time you spend thinking about your work and worrying about getting it done or whether it’s perfect or not, the harder it becomes to ever start.
Stop procrastinating and be proactive. Make a start somewhere and you’ll soon figure out what you need to do next.
#14. Do Some Exercise
Even if it’s only 15 minutes, working out will help you stay alert, feel more positive and increase your energy levels. Starting your day with some light exercise or even a trip to the gym can help you feel stronger both physically and mentally, and you’ll find you get more done in far less time.
#15. Be Accountable
This is huge! You need to be accountable to yourself and to others. When you say you will do something, mean it. Too many people break their promises, so don’t let this be you. You are much more likely to follow through when you have an accountability partner.
Find someone you trust like a partner or buddy, or better still get a mentor and tell them about your intentions. Sticking to them will help you make it happen.
For your business to be successful you need to productive, but productivity doesn’t come on its own. You need to work at it. These 15 tips are a great way to make the most out of your time and train yourself to be as productive as possible.
Start by introducing one or two of these tips into your day and persist with them until they come easily, then add a few more. It won’t be long before you establish a new routine and your productivity soars.
What About You?
Do you struggle with your productivity? What helps you stay productive and on top of your workload?