Have you ever wanted to be more productive? A lot of us have. It’s a common goal, and certainly a good one to undertake. Being more productive leads to great feelings of accomplishment and personal fulfilment.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true, being unproductive tends to lead to feelings of failure and unfulfilled days. Time seems to zip by, almost getting faster even as we get less done. And this just makes us feel bad. Indeed, one of the most common complaints I’ve experienced is that if there were only “more hours in a day” they’d be less stressed out.
Even though many of us have turned to looking for more hours in a day, there’s a better solution. We can’t change the clock (beyond daylight savings), but we can change how productive we are with the time that we have.
A lot of us aren’t as productive as we could be, especially when we’re stressed out! We spend more time trying to unwind and deal with the emotional consequences than we ever spend planning how to make tomorrow go better than today. This is the mistake.
Imagine this, imagine tomorrow you wake up and decide you will be at least 30% more productive. And when that works, you feel so encouraged, the next day you decide to be 60% more productive… and that cycle continues until you’ve amplified your productivity. Before you know it you might start to have free time, time that was previously taken up running around but now can be dedicated to whatever you want.
This is what I’m going to help you do. I’m going to take just a few minutes of your day to deliver 7 steps to increasing your productivity. And I’m going to challenge you to see how this makes you feel. I’d venture a guess and say if you follow these tips not only will you be more productive, you’ll be less stressed – and happier because of it!
You’ll finally have the extra time you were looking for when you were begging for more hours in a day, with no time manipulation required! Your family and friends may even notice a difference – you’re just more relaxed and yet you’re getting MORE done!
Ready? Let’s get on with some of these tips.
Tip #1 Cut the time wasters
The first step in looking to use your time more effectively is identifying what’s currently slipping your time away. Are you constantly forgetting that last errand, and wasting time running across town to get it done? Are you checking your Facebook 20 times an hour, or binging on Netflix? Heck, do you have the internet – that’s likely going to connect to at least some time wasters for you.
The key here is to identify these time wasters, so that you can plan to avoid letting them take up your entire day. Please understand we all will engage in these from time to time, the key here is to cut down on the time you’re engaging in these distracting behaviours.
Remember, the less time you’re wasting, the more time you have to invest in productivity projects!
Tip #2 Break the cycles!
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you decide today is going to be a work day. You’re totally psyched up. You take a seat at your computer, thinking just you and your keyboard for the day… but maybe you should check your email first (in case). In your inbox there’s a Facebook notification, so you decide to clear that “before you get working”. Before you know it you realize it’s been an hour and you should be working – but maybe just check your email once more in case.
This is a cycle, and it’s just an example of one cycle that can battle productivity. To be more productive, you need to do something to break the cycle. Maybe have a planned time of day when you check your email and your Facebook, and leave them alone once you’ve checked them until a little later. Maybe give yourself a 15-minute break every hour to indulge in distractions, so long as you haven’t before then. Whatever it is, work to break the current cycle and you’ll find yourself considerably more productive in no time.
Tip #3 Clear the clutter
Have you ever sat down at your desk to work, only to realize just how disorganised your desk is? This can easily become another distraction from getting work done, and it shouldn’t be. Make a time where you plan to clear your work area of all clutter. The less clutter around, the easier it will be to focus on the task at hand.
Reducing clutter also encourages efficient use of space, like only keeping what you need on your desk. So, take a moment and clear the clutter away so that it stops interfering with your productivity. A clear work area is a clear mind.
Tip #4 Schedule free time. Truly free time.
Realize that in all this working to be more productive, you’ll get tired! It’s inevitable, natural, and needs to be taken care of just like anything else. Give yourself some time that you have set aside specifically so that you can relax and just indulge a little. Read a book, curl up in a hot bath, go swimming, watch a little Netflix, get outside…whatever floats your boat.
During this time of relaxation, completely banish work from your mind. This is your time to recharge and not plan or think about planning! Enjoy it!
Tip #5 Teach the kids to help around the house too
A lot of us productivity-chasers are trying to be super mom and get everything done on our own. Remember that part of being a mum is being on a team, with your hubby and your kids! One of the greatest tools at your disposal is your team, so let them get in the game too.
Encouraging kids just by giving a few simple (age appropriate) chores can provide a real sense of personal accomplishment and fulfilment for them – and it can help you. So why not start the win-win and make full use of your team?!
Tip #6 Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise!
A major part of the productivity puzzle is staying organised in terms of what must be done immediately versus what can wait. You can spend hours on a project that isn’t due for weeks, but how will you feel when you’re trying to sleep that night and you still have items that need to be done for tomorrow?
This is where prioritisation comes in. Often. Make a to do list, rank it in terms of importance, and re-order it as necessary. This lets your mind relax knowing that each item will be checked off well before it’s due, and it also keeps you on track without constantly having to re-orient yourself.
Tip #7 Be present
The final tip I’d like to share is to be present in the moment. If you’re working, work hard. If you’re reading, dive in. If you’re playing with the kids, have an adventure. Whatever you’re doing, dedicate yourself to that moment, and you will find yourself making the most of it before you know it.
By following just a few simple steps you’ll be well on your way to becoming more productive, with the same 24 hour day you’ve always had. You’ll be happier, less stressed, and you may even get a day off every now and then! Enjoy!