Productivity Starts with You - Part Two
There are all sorts of productivity tools and methods out there but they share a key feature at their heart. You. When it comes down to it, the only way you can become more productive is by changing the way you think about and act toward, the things you want to achieve. So, at the start of a new year, here are some tips that should help to start you on your way to greater productivity.
Deadlines If you don’t have an externally provided deadline, then create one. Whether you are the sort of person who leaves the work to just before the deadline, or one who takes pride in submitting work well in advance of the deadline, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to set deadlines so that you have to complete work by a particular time or date. If you don’t, the work just expands to fill the available time and you end up doing busy work that doesn’t contribute to the outcome.
Organise your day into chunks, fit tasks into time slots, and stick to those. It really does help to make you more productive.
Focus, Focus, Focus Don’t multi-task. Please. Just don’t. Most people don’t benefit from it and there is scientific evidence to suggest that it actually reduces productivity. It is much more productive to really focus on one thing at a time.
One way to do this is the Pomodoro Technique, which has you completely focus on a task for a set time, usually 25 minutes, and then take a five minute break. Do four of these task focus sessions, with the 5 minute break between, and then have a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
Keep your To Do List short There are few things more stressful than a massive To Do list. You will spend much of the day panicking about how much you still have left to do on the list. This panic will affect your productivity because in the back of your mind you are always thinking of the next task and this affects your focus.
It is better to be realistic, have only three or four main tasks on your list and get those done. You can also add a few small tasks that need very little focus and can slot those in between the larger tasks. This can be helpful in giving your mind a bit of a rest before you tackle the next larger task. Things like answering Emails, making routine calls and setting up appointments would all count as smaller tasks.
By keeping your list realistic you can focus fully on each task on your list and you will complete them successfully because of this.
Notice what wastes your time And take steps to corral those things into a set timescale so that they cannot take over your day. For example: Social Media or email. Have set times each day when you look at it. This tends to reduce the number of times a day that you become distracted by reading interesting articles and adding new and exciting ideas to your "To Do" list.
Disorganisation and mess are the enemies of productivity Whilst few, if any of us, have desks containing only a beautiful mug, a flower and one, beautifully clean, laptop. you do need to know where everything is. Have the things you need to lay hands on quickly set up right where you can reach for them. Have your filing system set up so you can find things really quickly.
You can be so much more productive in an organised environment. If you are surrounded by an environment which you feel is not organised then you will feel less organised. You will be distracted by the need to put something away, move something out of the way, or search for something that you were sure you had last week.
It can be useful to set aside time to tidy the desk or workspace on a Friday before you leave work. When you get to your desk on Monday you have a tidy and organised environment which will set the tone for a productive and effective week.