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So, maybe you’re noticing your work performance has decreased. Or you are not able to achieve your goals. If you find yourself in these situations, it’s time to learn to be more productive!
But where do you start? Is there a special secret to being more highly productive and maximizing your time?
Maximizing time during the day and increasing your productivity comes down to a few fundamental changes to curtail bad habits. But despite their simplicity, they can still be challenging to implement if you’re new to them.
No matter the reason for your downturn in productivity, we are here to help you and share productivity tips so that you can live a better and more fulfilling life.
What Does Being Productive Mean?
If you have sought out this article, you know that productivity at a surface level means doing everything you need to do in a specific timeframe. Additionally, the word productivity is constantly thrown around in workspaces as a unit of measurement for how many correlative tasks are being completed.
But ask yourself this: What if you redefine the meaning of productivity?
It is better to look at productivity as getting the “right” things done in a certain amount of time.
Having this outlook on what it means to be productive will help you focus on what you need to add to your daily schedule. It eliminates all the little minute tasks you once thought necessary to meet a more important goal but are eating away at your time and not helping you make the strides you desire.
You are bound to feel more accomplished and closer to where you want to be when you cross off the most important tasks on your schedule. Ultimately, you want to focus on the quality and impact of the tasks instead of the quantity you complete.
Why Is It So Hard to Be Productive?
Okay, maybe you have the definition of being productive down, but why do you still find it challenging to get things done? Shouldn’t it be as simple as crossing the desirable items off your newly curated to do list?
When you dig deeper, you may find that some of your daily habits hurt your productivity and time management skills. You need to make some changes if you want to be more productive.
With these seven habit changes, you can tremendously increase your efficiency and productivity!
Get Enough Rest
Did you know that sleep is necessary for our ability to digest information and to get rid of waste products from our brains?
Without enough sleep, these toxic waste products can build up, including proteins that cause plaque between your brain cells, which are linked to lower IQ scores. Consequently, if you stay up late, wake up early, and are generally not receiving enough time to recharge, it can impact your productivity levels.
When you’re younger, staying up into the wee hours of the night can be tempting. Whether you spend those hours grinding away at work or take the time to spend them with friends and family, it comes at a cost. That is where the habit of managing time can be helpful.
Learning how to schedule your time during the day to achieve your goals, relax after work, and get enough sleep can be difficult initially. Still, with enough practice, it becomes second nature. It is just important to remember to fit in those things while also receiving enough sleep.
It may seem wise to multitask when trying to learn how to be more productive. However, when you look at the true meaning of being productive and getting the “right” things done, the theory falls flat. Multitasking can take away valuable time from the tasks that truly matter.
That is because several brain networks are responsible for your ability to pay attention and your cognitive control.
When we attempt to multitask, it can disrupt those networks mentioned above. Ultimately, multitasking leads to slower mental processing and can impact the quality of your work by causing mistakes.
So, take a step back, prioritize what is truly important, and ask yourself what you can realistically complete in a day. It’s okay if that list starts small; the goal is boosting productivity for better results and a greater sense of accomplishment.
Work in Sprints and Limit Distractions
Forcing yourself to sit down for eight hours daily and grind away at work can become tedious and overwhelming. We may get distracted by the world around us. We can also lose track of time and find ourselves needing more time to meet deadlines. If you struggle to stay focused and be productive, it may be time to move away from the traditional nine-to-five workday.
That’s where working in sprints and limiting distractions can come in handy. Although how long of a sprint and what you consider distractions can vary.
One tip is to take notes regarding your habits. If you want to start analyzing your habits, start with the basics. For instance:
How long do you believe your average attention span is?
What do you find most distracting when trying to get your work done?
What time of the day are you most efficient and productive?
Set Boundaries and Say No More Often
Defining your boundaries is a monumental step to dedicating your time to what truly matters so that you can be highly productive. You and the people around you must understand your time and expectations. Making yourself endlessly available sends the message to others that your time is not valuable and that you don’t have things to do, inviting interruptions.
That’s why you should learn the power of saying no. But don’t just say no to others; have the willpower to set boundaries for yourself.
To start setting boundaries with yourself and others, mark your calendar, set aside your most
productive hours for yourself, create a distraction-free workspace, and leave a set amount of free time.
It’s critical to remember that boundaries require strict enforcement to be impactful. Once you start valuing your time, you will soon reap the rewards.
Being overloaded with work can be a recipe for tanking productivity. That’s not only because there’s too much for you to do physically; it can also become mentally overwhelming. The importance of mental clarity cannot be stressed enough, and burnout at work can create a similar mental fogginess effect that a lack of sleep can produce.
That’s why there is power in learning how to delegate work to others.
Whether you are in a company with staff or are an entrepreneur and want to outsource to a freelancer, it’s time to make accomplishing certain tasks other people’s responsibility to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Although there are some standards to maintain when delegating work, for example:
- You need to know what duties are rightfully yours to complete.
- How to reward those you delegate work to.
- Set completion times for tasks.
- Provide clear instructions.
Who knew that one of the hacks for being more productive would be decreasing your workload?
Set Manageable Goals Using the Kaizen Method
Staying productive also requires you to set manageable and reasonable goals. Making pretty sweeping long-term goals that you believe will produce results overnight can be tempting. But the truth is slow and steady wins the race.
So, why not try the Kaizen Method?
“But what is the Kaizen Method?” you may ask.
The Kaizen Method is the Japanese practice and philosophy of continuous improvement. With this method, you make small changes to improve your life, eventually leading to a significantly impactful result.
A great example of the Kaizen approach to goal setting is, let’s say, someone wants to read 100 books in a year; instead of simply focusing on that number, they will focus on something that will help them achieve that ultimate goal. That something could be setting aside thirty minutes daily to read 100 pages of a book.
Ultimately, the Kaizen Method breaks down a larger goal into small achievable tasks that will get you where you want to be. This method also helps redefine what it means to be highly productive and to accomplish the “right” things.
Complete Your Hardest Goal First
As mentioned earlier, when you have a long list of things to accomplish, it can become overwhelming and lead to procrastination. But one significant trick to making the daily checklist seem less daunting is crossing off the most challenging tasks first.
By prioritizing the most challenging task at hand, everything following will seem like a walk in the park. Also, if you’re still learning to wrangle in your time management skills, only having the small administrative tasks left over at the end of the day will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
Again, it’s critical to prioritize the right tasks because the focus of increasing productivity and the tasks you complete should be quality and impactfulness, not quantity.
Test What Works for You
All of the previously mentioned tips and tricks are a great starting point when trying to get a better handle on your productivity. But the truth is, you are unique and need to create your own approach to learning how to be productive.
That’s why you should test different methods out for yourself.
But what does that look like in action? Where do you start?
You may want to consider trying the following when improving your productivity and time management:
- Sleep for a different amount of hours, aiming for between six and eight.
- See if an entire eight-hour workday or half day works for you.
- Determine if you are most productive in the morning, afternoon, or nighttime.
- See if you find completing your most challenging or easiest task more motivating.
Regardless of your approach to improving your productivity habits, always remember that small wins lead to bigger wins.
Take Back Control of Your Time
Being productive doesn’t have to consume you. You can achieve anything with proper daily habits, like getting enough sleep, setting boundaries, and following a plan to reach your goals.
When you step back and realize what’s truly important for you to live your best life, effective time management and productivity become easier. Ultimately, you deserve to live a happy and stress-free life.
So, take back control of your time, and implement the habits that will help you achieve success!
How can I be productive at home with ADHD?
Becoming more productive and practicing effective time management skills can be difficult when you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But not all hope is lost; some tricks can help you manage your day and remain productive.
One of the best ways to start managing your time and become more productive when you have ADHD is by writing things down.
It’s easy to become distracted with your own thoughts when you have ADHD, but that doesn’t go so well when you’re in the middle of a work task. So, instead of ruminating on unrelated thoughts, write down your thoughts and save them for later. Not only will this help free your mind of cluttering thoughts, but it will also help you create your schedule for the day.
This article originally appeared on Financially Well Off.