It’s safe to say that each of us could benefit from an increase in productivity. While increasing productivity is an almost universal goal, only a few of us have a concrete plan for doing it. These simple, actionable tips are designed to help you increase your productivity, which will lead to achieving even more throughout each day.
Create a basic plan each day
The organisational choices you make each morning (or better the evening before) sets the tone for the day that follows. Will you start your day by reacting to others, or will you set your own goals for what you need to accomplish?
Every morning, set a goal for yourself independently — not as a reaction to requests from others. Allow accomplishing the thing you set out to do to be your priority. Focus back in on your goal throughout the day to ensure you have the momentum to keep pursuing it until you can tick it off your list.
I find completing a ‘6 Most Vital 1’ list for each day very powerful. At the end of the day, before I leave the office, I write down the 6 most important actions I can take which will give me and my firm the most impact for the day and move me closer towards my goals, then I write down the Vital 1 – the one thing I absolutely need to do that day. Try it for 14 days and see how your productivity improves!
Prioritise tasks based on both urgency and setting
Each week seems to have a number of tasks to complete. Some have to do with your career, others are related to your relationships with others or your home life. As you begin to plan out your week, “chunk” your tasks based on which parts of your life they touch: Work tasks, family tasks and so on. Once everything is organised decide which tasks are the most important within each category based on urgency and immediate setting.
This should result in you having a master plan with sub-categories, and a sense of what needs to get done first in each life sphere. Achieve the most important tasks first, and make sure you aren’t neglecting any one life sphere.
You’ll find removing everything from your ‘brain’ and inbox and summarised into a schedule with time check deadlines (see below) will help free you from the pressures of multi-tasking – and you can be more present when in others company!
Set deadlines and schedule time
Now that you’ve prioritised your tasks in all areas of your life, set deadlines for each task. Schedule out the time to complete your tasks within your deadline. Leave extra time in your schedule each day for those unexpected problems that crop up, and stick to your deadlines.
Conduct a habit audit
Periodically, you should audit your day-to-day patterns, both at home and work. Is each habit that you have useful to you? Identify those habits and patterns that do not support your overall strategy and goals so you can change or eliminate them.
Let it go
Each of us fails to achieve our goals occasionally, and as we look back on our past performance it is easy to see things we should have done differently. Make use of this kind of insight as you set new goals, but don’t dwell on your failures. Focus instead on what you’re going to do next.
Along these lines, 90% of your strategic thought should be focused on problem-solving, not problem identification. Anyone can point out where things are going wrong. It takes more thought and fortitude to correct problems, and sometimes it takes multiple attempts, so don’t waste excess time on the problem itself rather than the solution.
Show yourself the “money”
Make assessing your progress and enjoying the fruits of your labour part of your routine. Check in with yourself to confirm that you are in fact accomplishing your goals and tasks. When you do succeed, allow yourself to enjoy that feeling of achievement. In this way, you train your mind to focus on goals, attain them and derive pleasure from a job well done. This also reminds you that you are highly competent and capable of setting, accomplishing and even beating goals.
Allow yourself to sit, think and plan
It can be difficult to slow down when you are stressed about getting more done, but careful planning and insight can save you hours or even days of wasted effort. For each goal on your list, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this goal important?
- What part(s) of my life does this goal impact?
- How does this goal support my overall strategies?
- Do I have a plan for achieving this goal? How can I improve it?
Once you have your answers, adapt these goals and plans for maximum utility.
No one can create extra hours in the day, but you can manage your time well. Great time management is the key to feeling like you’ve got all the time you need. Take these concrete steps to increase your productivity and gift yourself with more time to do and achieve more.