I know what you’re thinking (whilst you roll your eyes).
Oh boy. Another long post on increasing productivity by “tricks” and “hacks”. This post will somehow “change your life” and bring all the “spark and passion back into your work”.
Well first, I’d say that yes, you’re not very far off. This post attains to do all that but with seemingly simple and manageable methods.
And second, isn’t that what you’re here for?
Try as you may, you just can’t seem to get the important stuff done on time. You’re always behind on your work. You can’t get the time to pursue that passion of yours that you’ve been meaning to work on for a long time.
That’s where I come in. You may think that your whole life is a hamster wheel; a constant juggle of trying to achieve the work-life balance. But hey, no one said that is had to be a constant struggle. That can change. And it changes now.
Productivity is an asset. The more productive you are, the more your positive your satisfaction levels are and the more likely you are to have a great day. The methods that I am about to tell you have all been tried and tested (by yours truly) and have worked so well for my productivity levels that I can proudly say that I am more efficient and satisfied with the overall way I’m living my life.
But beware. They aren’t “magic pills” or “secret hacks” or any other jargon that you may have seen or heard. These are all scientifically proven methods with results and logical sense building up to those results. And with a little bit of loyalty on your part, there’s no limit to how far you can go. So let’s get right down to it, shall we?
Top 10 Ways to be More Productive Instantly
1. Stop multitasking
Multitasking is exactly what it sounds like. It means taking up more than one task and trying to complete all of these tasks simultaneously.
Surely paying the bills and answering emails at the same time would mean that you’re being more efficient. You’re saving time and getting your job done. There doesn’t seem to be any downside, right?
Sorry to break it to you but multitasking actually has no upsides. There’s a reason why multitasking just doesn’t work: it becomes difficult to focus on only one thing when you have too many things on your plate.
When you have the starters, main course, side dishes and desert all in one plate, they’re all going to get mixed up and you’ll be the one left wondering which was which. It’s best to take things as they come, one by one. If the problem at hand is too big for you to solve right now, then Divide and conquer is the way to go. Break the problem into smaller subproblems and start thinking up of solutions.
So the next time you pick up a project (in the home or workplace), don’t take up another until you’ve finished the first one. This will make you more organized and you can set finish goals that are practical and achievable.
2. Give your brain a break
There are numerous studies to show that to be more productive, you need to be taking breaks regularly.
The frequency in which you take these breaks differs from person to person. However, most us prefer the Pomodoro technique. Here’s the article that introduced me to it and I’ve been hooked since. My productivity levels have increased and I’ve been more satisfied with my life overall because of the increase in efficiency.
It’s important to refresh your brain from time to time and keep it from getting overwhelmed. There are so many ways to spend these breaks efficiently. You can go out for some fresh, take a walk about the office(or house), stretch to rejuvenate yourself or take up the time for solving puzzles or reading something light. Your brain should get a mental jog before you resume your work. This has been a sure shot way to be more productive overall.
3. Plan out the day before
When we go about the day unplanned, we tend to rely on our default state. Free time either means playing Candy Crush or engaging in insignificant conversations. When you have a checklist of things to do or a mental map of the things you have to complete, you use up your free time to complete those tasks at hand. This gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
It’s best to plan out the day the night before so that you have a clear vision of the goals and tasks that you have to complete but you can also do it on the morning of the day itself.
It’s recommended to note down all of your daily goals in a diary and tick them off as you go on completing them. You will be amazed at your efficiency and will be charged up for the next day.
4. Slow down on the caffeine intake
Caffeine has been known to be harmful in the long run. It increases stress levels and greatly affects the quality of sleep. Habituated coffee drinkers suffer from digestive discomfort due to the acidity in the coffee and a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Reducing the intake of caffeine has been known to reduce sleep disturbance and anxiety levels. You will also notice a decrease in other problems like irregular heartbeat, disorientation or gastric disturbances.
Here’s a helpful post on the types of drinks containing caffeine, how to reduce its intake and some other FAQs that may guide you to give up coffee for good.
5. Don’t live in a mess!
You know what they say about those that make their beds just after they wake up? They tend to have more positive and organized vibes of the day ahead.
This may be surprising but to be more productive, you have to keep your workplace tidy makes both your desk and mind clutter-free. And nature agrees. Keeping a plant in your workplace has been shown to increase productivity levels by as much as 15 percent. De-cluttering your space will take a maximum of 10 minutes but the satisfaction you’ll get from it is immense. A clean workplace will make achieving targets that much clearer.
Don’t forget to stretch or exercise from time to time. Now I’m not telling you to leave your work and go bungee jumping, but it does help to take a break and give your muscles some “me time”.
On the other hand, did you know that stretching keeps the muscles strong and healthy and is advised to be done every day? I had always thought of it as something that gymnasts or serious joggers did but apparently, stretching is something all of us should be acquainted with. It improves blood circulation and increases energy levels. It keeps your muscles flexible and alert. And guess what? It allows you to be more productive because it makes you alert and attentive.
Do the important tasks first and leave the other not-so-important stuff for later. Prioritize each weekday for specific jobs. Plan out the weekend and give time to things that matter most to you. These are some of the ways by which you can carry out an effective work-life balance.
In the workplace, not only is it important to create a checklist of the things to do but it is equally important to understand which tasks demand greater priority than others. This will help you in completing your No 1 goal and will set a path to complete efficiency and productivity.
8. Switch off your phone
Or at the very least, set in on silent during your working hours. Both at home and in the workplace.
Smartphones have made it so easy to be distracted these days that it’s no wonder that productivity is at an all-time low. Studies have shown that smartphones make employees slack off at work. The constant blinking of the notification light and the continuous pings takes us out of our working head space as we promise ourselves a five-minute break. But sooner or later, that five minutes turn to fifty and you look up to see that you’re still stuck on the second line of the first paragraph. And did I mention that deadline is an hour away?
Smartphone addiction is becoming a serious topic of concern worldwide. Would Wikipedia devote a whole page to mobile phone overuse otherwise? Quoting the Wikipedia article,
70% check their phones in the morning within an hour of getting up
56% check their phones before going to bed
48% check their phones over the weekend
51% constantly check their phones during vacation
44% reported they would feel very anxious and irritable if they did not interact with their phones within a week
Do you find yourself nodding your head to these statistics? Worst yet, do you think you belong to at least one these statistics? Read this amazing article that offers you a 5 step solution to finally break your addictive habit. Take the decision today, be more productive and lead a more fulfilling life.
9. Use productivity tools
Technology is the perfect example of something that is both a blessing and a curse.
It can help you achieve amazing levels of productivity but it can also be an addicting nightmare. We’ve talked about why it’s important to keep your phone on lock down to be more productive just a while ago but these days, smartphones (and technology, in general) can also prove to be amazing tools for tracking and improving your productivity.
Tracking your progress helps you to understand where you lack and which parts you should catch up on. Tools like RescueTime calculates how much time you spend on various websites and web applications and sends you a report. Some tools like Trello help keep track of your entire team’s performance and help to schedule and divide tasks among your teammates. StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that blocks certain websites and allows a maximum time limit for others. But one of the greatest tools that I’ve used recently has to be Slack, an app (available for both mobile and desktop ) which is essentially WhatsApp for work. But what’s great about Slack is that you can integrate Trello boards, add in documents and files all in one go. So it serves as a one-stop checkpoint for all sorts of communication with your teammates.
Although this may seem to be counterproductive, sleeping for the required number of hours (which may vary from person to person) daily is extremely important to keep your mind focused and in the game.
Ignored earlier, it is not considered as one of the key elements to a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help make you look and feel better, but it also improves memory and makes you live longer than those not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart diseases, diabetes, kidney problems and stroke.
If this isn’t reason enough to hit the sack, then here is a list of some other surprising benefits to sleep that’ll probably do the trick.