Apply these 5 easy techniques to improve your productivity
This has never been more true than today. We more we do, the more we still have to do. At work, at home, everywhere, we rush around trying to get more done. Yet technology was supposed to make things easier and we were supposed to become more productive. Email, smartphones, computers, tablets, etc., were to be the saviors. Yet, we all struggle to get things done.
Technological innovations have actually led to round-the-clock work schedules with mounting expectations and increased pressures. Our jobs have become more collaborative, requiring more communication and coordination. We now face an endless barrage of distractions, from the vibrations and alerts on our smartphones to the breaking news stories and videos waiting for us at our desks. Not to mention the magnitude of information rushing toward us from every direction.
No matter how much time and energy we have, now, more than ever, we need strategies for being productive.
Here are my 5 (relatively) easy tips to improve your productivity.
1.GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Make sure you are well rested and at your best at the start of the day. How? Everyone is different and only you can figure out how to be your best. For some, it’s exercise first thing in the morning. For others, it’s coffee before all else. What do you need to feel rested and have your best start?
You also need to ensure the sleep you’re getting is good quality sleep. Research shows that it’s important to get to bed at the same time every night. Inconsistent sleep creates a feeling similar to jet lag, affecting your body’s rhythm and internal clock.
While alcohol may help put you to sleep, it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Caffeine before bedtime can also impair your sleep. A study by the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders & Research Center, showed caffeine taken six hours or less before bedtime contributes to sleep disruptions.
2.CROSS EVERYTHING OFF OF YOUR TO-DO LIST EVERY DAY
End each day by writing and looking at tomorrow’s to-do list and schedule. If you wait until the morning of to organize your day, IT’S TOO LATE. The day has started and in many cases is already crashing down on you.
Create and look at your to-do list within the context of your day. Do you have a lot of meetings or a pending deadline? Map out your day according to the time limitations you have. Not only list out your various tasks for the day, include the amount of time you are allocating to each task.
Start each new day with a clear plan.
3.GET YOUR DESK / WORKSPACE ORGANIZED
Simplicity is one secret of organized and productive people. According to The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have discovered a clear correlation between an inability to focus and a messy environment.
According to Rachel East, co-founder of Clarity on Fire, “The more space you can create around you, the more calm you naturally invite into your life. And being in a peaceful state, mentally and emotionally, allows for the best ideas and inspiration to happen. Don’t underestimate the power of your space to influence your insights and productivity.”
Remember, the golden rule of organization is to have as little as possible to organize.
4.KEEP YOUR BRAIN WELL-HYDRATED | TAKE A BREAK
Staying well hydrated throughout the day is important to our health and energy. Numerous studies have shown the effects of hydration on cognitive functions. Dehydration decreases performance and can affect short term memory response time. It’s not about chugging gallons of water at a time, but rather drinking water throughout the day. And remember, sports drinks are good too.
Seems as if everywhere you look, the current advice is that we should work for a specific amount of time and take regular scheduled breaks. The better advice is that you shouldn’t force nor delay a break if it doesn’t feel natural. Breaks like the amount of time to complete tasks, is going to vary. You may be able to work on a specific project or task for four to five hours before you feel you need a break. Or you may need a break after working on something for 30 minutes. Figure out what works for you while keeping an eye on your focus and drive.
5.COMPLETIONISM VS. PERFECTIONISM
Do you complete your tasks or get things done to only 80%? The bottom line for me is results. What do we put on our resumes and what do we get paid for … accomplishments, achievements and results. Not attempts, efforts nor thoughts.
Not sure who said, “Perfectionism is the enemy of progress and Completionism is the catalyst to success.” It truly is that simple; we should always be striving for completionism.
Developing a completionist mindset is the best way to manage your perfectionist tendencies. How can you develop a completionist mindset? By following these 3 relatively simple tips:
- Is it optimal? Again stop worrying about whether what you’re doing is “the best” way of doing things. As you continue to work, you’ll intuitively begin to know what changes you should make.
- Get started NOW – new project or task, just get started immediately. Do not look for the best approach at the onset. More important to take action.
- Maintain Momentum – Every time you stop to assess your work; it slows down your progress. Be honest, is it necessary to keep assessing your work? Set up periodic checkpoints and assess appropriately.
Sadly, a byproduct of perfectionism is procrastination. And who wants a reputation as a procrastinator?
What are your tips for cracking the Productivity Code?
“The most basic form of human stupidity is forgetting what we are trying to accomplish”