To start the year right, productivity is the topic I choose to read on and write about. After setting my priorities straight last year and going through a major transition, I found myself looking into ways to be more productive.
Most people, myself included, would honestly agree that staying productive is a challenge. Whether you are working in the corporate world, a stay-at-home mom, a freelancer or consultant, or an entrepreneur, you need to know how to veer away from constant distractions, disruptions, and various types of commotions.
Don’t you just feel good when you get to tick off tasks from your checklist at the end of the day?
Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Productivity
Create and maintain a powerful morning routine.
Let me start this portion with a quote from a famous lifestyle guru, Tim Ferriss. He said that “If you win your morning, you win the day.” Starting the day with an inspiring and empowering morning routine is one of the most successful people’s secrets.
What makes this routine? According to several articles I read, it includes meditation, exercise, visualization, and planning. Doing these can amplify your intentions, clarity, and motivation. These instill a sense of empowerment that makes you believe you can conquer the day.
Having a great morning routine can be part of self-love. Read about how you can jump-start your self-love journey here.
Learn how to prioritize the tasks on your list.
I love making lists! Lists keep me organized and gratify me when I get to check the tasks one by one. Making a list is easy, especially if you are a working mom like me. There’s an endless roster of tasks you can include in your list, day in and day out. Sometimes, I find it hard to prioritize these tasks. Which is more important?
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20-rule, is an analytical framework that puts your effort and your results side by side, so you better understand how to go about your tasks in your list. This principle states that 20 percent of your initial inputs could affect the 80 percent of your possible outcomes.
Knowing this, you ought to focus on the top 20% of your tasks. If you still don’t know how to identify your top 20%, think about which ones will have the highest impact on your goals. As another saying goes, you should know how to work smart rather than hard.
Use your calendar to remember critical schedules.
Whether you prefer your phone calendar, your handy planner, or the desk calendar laid with all its glory on your table, making use of calendars has added perks. First and foremost, it helps you remember your appointments and crucial tasks for the time, day, or week.
Secondly, calendars can help you with your planning and time management. Seeing tasks on a portion of your calendar urges you to estimate the time you need to accomplish the task. Should you find your day full, learning how to avoid feeling overwhelmed is a different story.
To be more effective, write only the most important and urgent errands in your calendar. Do your best to complete these tasks within your set time frame. Using a calendar will help you to be a better organizer and time manager.
Some say, its best to eat the frog.
No, you don’t have to own an exotic diet to follow this technique. The frog symbolizes your most crucial task. More often than not, it can also be the one you are dreading the most. Most people put this off until they feel they are ready to face it. But in reality, they end up procrastinating and running out of time for it.
I’ve been learning how to eat my frog first thing in the morning. Getting it out of the way gives me the confidence and freedom to efficiently accomplish the remaining toads (minor tasks) in my bucket.
Follow the two- or five-minute rule.
If you’ve successfully swallowed the frog first, this rule is its perfect companion. Identify quick errands in your list. Quick, means that they can be finished in two, five, or fewer minutes. Doing plenty of them right away makes you feel good. You also save time by getting them out of the way which allows you to do your other duties.
The root word is batch, and not Batchoy 🙂 By batching, you group similar chores together. Doing them together in one go saves you time, energy, and resources. You increase your productivity rate! An example is paying bills at Bills Payment Center in the mall at the same time you do your grocery shopping. It makes you a lot more efficient. You get to save time, gas, effort, and energy.
Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique?
Nope, it’s not pasta sauce. But a handful of workers swear by the Pomodoro technique. Do it by setting a timer for 25 minutes. During this time, you work and give your task all the attention it needs.
When the timer goes off, take a quick break. It can be five or ten minutes. Take a sip, a bite, or pace around the room. Then, start with the work period of 25 minutes again. After four Pomodoros, that is four sets of 25 minutes of work and 5 to 10 minutes of rest, reward yourself with an extended break, 20 to 30 minutes.
They say a person, regardless of age, can only stay focused for 25 minutes. Based on this, Pomodoro can be an effective strategy. Dividing your tasks into chunks of maximum focus gets you to accomplish more. The rewarding rest periods give you the gratification you need to get a sense of accomplishment and continued motivation.
Believe it or not, multitasking isn’t all that good.
It may seem like a good idea, but recent studies have shown that it actually hurts productivity. Contrary to Pomodoro, multi-tasking hurts your productivity. It makes you waste time switching from one chore to another when you do them at the same time. This added task of switching may slow you down. It might also lead to confusion which could produce mistakes. Deep focus is a crucial attribute these days, especially with the distractions of the modern world.
Take advantage of productivity tools.
Other than to-do lists and calendars, there are many tools that can simplify your workload. Apps at the tip of your fingertips can make life easier for you. An example is the Spreadsheets. It can help you organize and track information. You can also easily access it if you need to from time to time.
Avoid time wasters. Disable non-crucial notifications.
Amidst the many distractions looming around us today, you have to take control of those that you can. Get your phone and turn off notifications during your work hours. Mute the ones that aren’t urgent. Surely, these can wait until your break or time off.
To learn more about yourself, try documenting how you spend your time for an entire week. Keep track of your mobile screen time. If you identified your time wasters, do something to minimize them.
It does not mean that you can’t visit FB, IG, or YT anymore. To increase your productivity, allocate an adequate amount of time per day or week. You can put it at the end of the day. This way, it will feel like a reward. You deserve to do the things that make you happy at the end of a long day’s work.
Make sure your meetings are worthwhile.
If you are working with a team, you must know how some meetings can be time wasters. It takes valuable time away from your individual tasks. Meetings are necessary but they should be planned wisely.
To keep your meeting worth everyone’s time, set clear agendas. Make the purpose of your get-togethers clear and avoid veering away from it. Also, it would help if you try to keep your huddles as short as possible. Remember that a person’s focus is only at 25 minutes.
Utilize your lost time wisely.
Find a handful of lost time within your day’s tasks. Some of them are during your commute, when you are in a line at the café, or while waiting for a meeting. Use this time to catch up on your reading, respond to emails, update your spreadsheet data, or listen to podcasts. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff can be done in your lost time!