Are you trying to be more productive on a daily basis? This post is all about how to be more productive.
Everyone wants to get more done in a day. To-do lists seem to never run out as hours in the day quickly deplete along with our energy to complete tasks. Productivity is a huge part of our daily lives.
What exactly is “productivity”?
So, what is productivity?
The dictionary definition of productivity is “the effectiveness of productive effort as measures in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.”
Basically it’s how much you get done in a certain amount of time. You may want to be more productive at work, so you have 8 hours to complete as many things on your to-do lists. You may want to be more productive in general, so you have 24 hours in the day to do everything on your list.
the key to productivity is focus
Productivity is all about focus. It is about how we can maximally spend each hour while completing our tasks and not losing energy.
This post will give you specific strategies you can use to stay focused and ultimately be more productive.
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1. Have a daily routine- starting with a good morning routine
Successful and productive people have good daily routines that start with a great morning routine. There is even science that backs up early risers being more proactive and productive.
Successful people like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Disney CEO Robert Iger both wake up at 4:30am. I’m not saying you need to wake up at 4:00am to be more productive person, BUT you should be waking up at a decent time every morning to start your day off on the right foot.
Even waking up an extra 30 minutes than you normally do to gather your thoughts and drink your coffee will set the tone for the whole day and allow you to get more done.
2. Finish one task completely before starting another
In graduate school, I would often start one assignment, get about half-way through and get tired of working on that assignment, so I would start a different assignment. By the end of the day I had half-done 4 or 5 different assignments but nothing was fully complete.
Crossing off things on things on your to-do list makes you feel motivated to complete more tasks. By starting different tasks and not finishing them, I felt like I didn’t complete anything in the day. I would then lose motivation to finish them.
Focus on one task at time.
You can cross out things on your to-do list and can completely clear your mind of those things. Once you cross one thing off, you will feel so much more motivated to complete another task.
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3. Do the hardest thing on your to do list first
RIGHT AWAY get the hardest thing on your to-do list done.
Just finish it.
You are going to have to finish it eventually so might as well just get it out of the way.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day“Mark twain
If you wait until later in the day to finish this “harder” task, then you are going to be thinking about the hard task while you are trying to finish other tasks.
Finishing the hardest task first will allow you to not have that looming dread over you while you are trying to finish other tasks.
4. Keep your phone away from you and turn off messenger on your laptop
Nothing is worse than being super focused and fully committed to finishing a task then… your phone buzzes.
You can’t not check the notification right?
Take the temptation away by completely removing your phone from your work vicinity. While you’re at it, turn OFF your messenger on your computer.
These two things have made a HUGE difference in my productivity. Before hiding my phone away, I didn’t even realize how many times a day I would instinctively reach for my phone to check if I got any messages. Just checking one message can turn into scrolling Instagram or Twitter for an hour very fast.
Allow yourself scheduled phone breaks. Then you are completely focused on a task and are more productive. because you are looking forward to your 10 minute phone break.
5. Prioritize your to-do list and make a realistic list of things you want to get done
We all make to-do lists, but are you making realistic to-do lists?
I know my to-do lists can get quite long and I never finish everything on them the day I am supposed to.
We feel better about what we are doing if we are able to cross everything off on our to-do lists.
So how do you make to-do lists realistic?
Make a list of 3 to 4 things you absolutely want to get done the next day. These 3-4 things are going to be the main focus of your energy and you are going to feel accomplished after finishing these main things.
Then write 2 things that you could also work on if you have time. These 2 things do not need to get done the next day, but it would be nice if you did them or at least started.
Prioritizing your to-do list and creating a realistic number of things to get done is extremely important when trying to be more productive in the day.
6. Give yourself breaks to recharge
This research shows that micro-breaks, lunchtime breaks, and longer break all have a positive relationship with wellbeing and productivity.
You can’t plow through the day’s work with no breaks because this will eventually lead to burnout.
You need to give yourself small breaks to look forward to and recharge.
Just remember that a tired person, with no breaks, is half-focused on each task; therefore they complete less tasks.
An energized person, with recharging breaks, is fully focused on each task; therefore they are faster and complete more tasks.
7. Think positive thoughts and block out the negative noise of others
A lot times, people’s bad energy and moods can rub off on us. At work or school you may know people who are “chronic complainers”. Those people who constantly complain about work. These chronic complainers are taking away your energy to stay positively focused on your tasks and cause you to be less productive.
We tend to complain more and have a bad attitude towards things when we hear others complain about.
Stay mentally focused and have positive thoughts about completing your work in order to be productive.
What to take away from this post:
- Productivity is all about focus. It is about how we can maximally spend each hour while completing our tasks and not losing energy
- Having a good morning routine will set your tone for the whole day
- Get the hardest thing on your to-do list done first thing
- Your phone should stay out of sight out of mind, and turn messenger off on your computer
- Put 3-4 things on your to-do list that absolutely need to get done the next day to set realistic expectations for yourself
- Little breaks throughout the day will allow you to recharge and be more productive
- Block out the noise of the chronic complainers and focus positive thoughts on your tasks