How to Increase Productivity

How to Increase Productivity

For me, being productive means to do more things in less time. What does it mean for you?

If you get things done more quickly, that means that you will create more free time to do things you love, like spending time with your family or doing your favorite activities.

The best thing about being productive is that you can enjoy your free time much more because you know that you’ve finished all of your important tasks on time. You won’t spend your free time worrying about what you still have left to do.

Due to the fact that there are so many things that we need to get done each day, it may seem impossible to save time. Since we have 24 hours every day, we can’t “save” time but we can decide to invest our time differently.

My father favors the idea of the 8-8-8 daily hour distribution: 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of relaxation (including recreation and fun time). It sounds good in theory, but for me, I usually spend more time working than relaxing. What does your sleep-work-fun daily distribution look like?

What I realize is that the more productive day I have, the more free time will I be able to create and the more I will enjoy my free time.

If you want to increase productivity and get better use of your time, you need to read, remember and practice these seven productivity tips!

7 Productivity Improvement Tips

We will make better use of our time if we plan our time in advance. That’s why the first step to increase productivity is to create a schedule!

1. Create a Schedule

Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. – Tim Ferriss

If you have too many things to do, you can easily end up doing nothing because you don’t know where to start. The solution for this problem is to create a schedule!

Creating a schedule will make you more productive because:

  • You will use your time more wisely and get more things done as a result of thinking, planning and paying attention to the time you have available
  • You will have a better overview of how you spend your time
  • You can easily analyze how you use your time and more easily spot space for improvement
  • You won’t waste your energy constantly thinking about what you need to do and you will be more focused on things you are actually doing in each moment
  • You will feel less stressed and finally free up your mind from remembering all of the things you need to do each day

I believe that all of the mentioned reasons are good enough for you to start creating a schedule!

I have prepared for you weekly schedule template. What you need to do is print it out and spend 10-20 minutes each morning planning your day. Do this first thing in the morning (before you open your emails and get stuck in your Inbox).

Another thing that is extremely important when scheduling your tasks is to prioritize them.

If you can’t decide what the most important thing to do each day is, you can use this small trick. Imagine that you need to suddenly travel somewhere and that you only have time to finish a few tasks that day. What task would you finish in that case? Usually those tasks are the ones that are actually most important, and you should do them first thing in the day. If you finish with all of your important tasks in the morning, the rest of the day will be less stressful, you will feel much better and it will be much easier for you to finish other tasks.

2. Create a Fast Tempo

The second thing that you must do to have productive days is to develop a fast way of doing things.

The only way to do things faster is to analyze activities that you are already doing each day and to think how you can do the same things faster.

Can you make quicker decisions about what to wear each day? Can you shower a few minutes less? Can you clean your house more quickly? Maybe you can cook every other day and prepare meals ahead of time instead of cooking each meal every day?

When you do things faster than usual, you create new energy and motivation and you become more productive and more efficient!

By constantly thinking about how you can do things faster and better, you will become a good time-manager and you will feel more self-confident, which will lead you to success in both private and business life.

3. Group Similar Tasks

The third thing you can do to increase productivity is to group similar tasks!

There are multiple benefits of grouping similar tasks.

It takes a lot of energy to constantly switch between different tasks, so it’s a much better idea to concentrate on one thing, finish it and then do the next thing.

The hardest part of doing any task is usually to start doing it. That’s why it’s a good idea to do similar tasks. You’ve already started one task, so it will be easier to transition to the next.

For example, instead of managing your finances on different days, you can do everything at once (paying your bills, monthly subscriptions, etc).

Instead of buying food few times a week, you can do all your shopping once a week.

Instead of constantly checking your email, Facebook, Twitter and daily news throughout the day, do all of it at the same time and then leave the rest of the day for more important things.

If you already know that you need to make several phone calls during day, do them all at once. Do the same with the emails.

I noticed that some very successful business coaches get even more creative when it comes to the grouping tasks and they came up with the idea to create thematic days. For example, they have Finance Friday, Team Tuesday etc.

This month I also decided to have thematic days. For example, this day is my writing day :).

4. Review

Another important thing to increase productivity is to do daily reviews.

Every evening, do a quick review of the things that you’ve managed to get done for the day. What things did you do well? What can you do better for the next day? Don’t judge yourself too hard if you didn’t manage to finish everything you’ve planned. Instead of being angry or frustrated because you didn’t do something, rather focus your energy on thinking what you can do differently the next day.

By doing regular reviews and thinking about what you can do better the next day, you will significantly increase your productivity.

5. Exercise

With regular exercise you will have more energy and better concentration. If you are focused and concentrated, you will be more productive.

It can be very hard to force yourself to exercise. If it is too hard for you to even think about exercising, you can decide to reward yourself every time you finish exercising. Then you switch your focus from thinking about a hard thing – exercise – to thinking about a nice thing – reward.

Another thing you can do to increase the chance that you will not miss your exercise is to join a gym and pay subscription in advance. For example, I always find gym that it is as near as possible to the place where I live (so that I don’t have an excuse not to go) and I even pay long-term subscriptions in advance. That means that any time I don’t exercise, I’m losing money.

Of course, you can also try to find an activity that you will enjoy doing.

Whenever it is possible I try to do activities which I enjoy doing and which I can do together with my friends. For example, I love snowboarding, so when I go, I get to do something I love and I get a great workout while doing it.

6. Declutter

You will be more productive if your house is clean, if your working desk is organized and if your inbox is empty.

That’s why you need set aside time to declutter and organize your life.

And not only your life! An even more important thing, what many people are not doing, is to declutter your mind!

Did you know that we have between 12 000 and 60 000 thoughts each day? How many of these thoughts are productive?

According to some researches, 98% of your thoughts from today are exactly the same as your thoughts from yesterday.

Some people have up to 80% negative thoughts per day, and since our thoughts are a habit, it is very likely that person who has negative thoughts today will have negative thoughts again tomorrow.

If you have negative thoughts or if you are thinking too much about the past or future, your thoughts are not productive.

The key to productivity is to be focused on the present moment; everything else is an illusion.

How we can do that?

One of the solutions is to meditate.

Many people live their life with the belief that they don’t have power over their thoughts. The good news is that you can learn how to control your thoughts. It can be very hard in the beginning, and it can take a lot of patience and practice.

What you can do is to practice meditation a few minutes per day. For example, you can find a quiet place, relax, close your eyes and try to sit in silence. Be aware of your thoughts and try to ignore them, especially those negative ones. If it is too hard for you to ignore your thoughts, you can focus on your breathing. It can be hard to sit in the silence, but the benefit of this exercise is to become more aware of the present moment, and to clean up (declutter) your mind from all unproductive thoughts.

If you are really interested about how to be focused on the present moment, you can learn more about a meditation technique called “mindfulness”.

7. Use a Timer

Another good trick to increase your productivity is to use a timer for your tasks.

The point of measuring time is to become more focused on the task you are working on and to get a better overview on how much time you spend on each task.

One interesting technique to measure time is called the Pomodoro technique. The principle of this simple technique is to work 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. These 25 minute intervals are known as “pomodori” (plural of Italian word for tomato). After every four pomodori, you should take a 15 minute break.

If you want to use a timer based on this technique, you can do one of the following 4 things:

  • Install a free app on your Smartphone. For example, I’m using the free time management app “Clockwork Tomato” for Android devices.
  • Install free app for your PC or Mac. I have this free Adobe Air app on my computer.
  • If you prefer not to install any app, you can just use the Pomodoro online timer. Here is an example of one.
  • Simply use your kitchen timer and set it to 25 minutes.

These simple techniques can instantly increase your productivity.

Now that you’ve finished reading these tips, choose at least 3 productivity tips from this article that you will apply. Start by creating a weekly schedule.

What else can you do to increase productivity? Share your ideas in the comments field below!

Weekly Schedule.pdf

Eva Lu

Written by Eva Lu

Eva Lu is an ex engineer who decided to give up her successful career and dedicate her life to inspire and motivate others to find the best in themselves. She founded the “Mind of a Winner” website because she strongly believes that success is a skill developed by persistent people and her passion is to motivate others to become persistent enough. Her inspiration and her mentors are self-made millionaires who helped thousands of people to change their lives and who managed to build careers with their passion and vision towards doing something what they love. She also helps young entrepreneurs with business advices and encourages them not to give up on their dreams. She teaches them how to turn dreams into clear visions and ideas, and ideas into actions and results.
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