Productivity is hard. There are so many theories around productivity, each with a different approach and a different perspective. If you want to be more productive, you need to find the method that works for you—a process that boosts your productivity as an individual and drives success for you and your team.
Know what little distractions add up to
Change can be difficult, but it’s also necessary.
In order to improve your productivity, you need to understand what’s causing you to lose time and focus in the first place.
There are a number of ways to become more productive, but one of the most important things is understanding what little distractions add up over time.
Here are three common distractions that people often overlook:
1. Digital Distractions (Email, Social Media)
2. Not Having A Plan Or Purpose For Your Workday
3. Not Knowing How Much Time You Have For Work
Make a guardrail for your time
Productivity is not just about managing your time; it’s about managing your energy.
The first step to increasing your productivity is to understand what you have to do, and estimate how long each task will take.
For example, if you’re planning to write an article, you need to know what kind of article you want to write and how long it will take for you to do so. Once you have that information, you can start making a list of all the tasks that go into creating this specific article.
The next step is to break down those tasks into smaller steps that will help you achieve them more easily. For example, if I want to write an article on how to organize your life with productivity hacks, I could break down my research into steps like: finding articles online related to productivity hacks, reading them and summarizing their main points in order to create an outline for my article. And then I could break down the writing process into smaller steps like: researching some ideas for the structure of my article or brainstorming a few topics related to productivity hacks.
Once we’ve done all this work and created our guardrail for our time (time management), we can finally start working!
Work on one thing at a time
You can’t be productive if you’re trying to do multiple tasks at once or multitasking too much. Focus on one project at a time so that it doesn’t get derailed by other distractions.
This means giving yourself enough time to complete the task but not so much that it becomes overwhelming or stressful. The goal is to finish with some wiggle room in case something comes up unexpectedly along the way, but without letting too much time pass between completing each step of your project.
Find a quiet place where you can work uninterrupted for at least 30 minutes.
Resist the urge for flow-breaking activities
Meetings, emails, phone calls, and other interruptions are a fact of life. It’s important to manage these distractions effectively. Try to schedule meetings as early in the day as possible so you can get them out of the way before getting into your deep work.
When you finish an important task or reach a milestone, celebrate briefly then get back to work on another high-value task. You don’t want to give yourself an excuse to do something fun or relaxing instead of working on your most important tasks. This is easier said than done, but by celebrating just briefly and then getting back at it, you’ll be more likely to stay on track with your most important work throughout the day
Use your phone when you need it, not when you just want it
You probably spend a lot of time staring at your phone. You might be using it to read news and emails, watch videos or play games. But you could be spending your time on these things in other ways that will improve your productivity and happiness if only you knew what to do.
Here are some tips:
1. Turn off notifications
2. Keep your phone out of sight when you’re working
3. Use a lock code and/or fingerprint unlock
4. Set up Do Not Disturb mode
5. Set time limits on apps
6. Use an app blocker to block distracting apps entirely during certain hours or while at work (like Freedom)
7. Put away your phone during meals with friends and family members who aren’t on the other side of the screen (or even if they are)
8. Get rid of all the apps that distract you from getting things done by deleting them from your phone completely (such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) or at least moving them over to a folder so they don’t take up space.
Set a clear end time for work and stick to it
This is the easiest way to avoid burning out and feeling overwhelmed. Instead of trying to squeeze in all those last-minute tasks at 5 p.m., plan them into your day. You’ll feel less stressed, get more done — and have time left over for dinner!
Use your calendar like a pro. You probably use your calendar for meetings, but you can also block off time for personal projects and other distractions when you need it most (like during lunch). Keep an eye on upcoming events so you know when you need to schedule something else.
Let go of perfectionism
The first step to becoming a more productive person is letting go of the idea that you can be perfect. You can’t. Nobody can. The second step is accepting that fact and focusing your energy on doing the best job you possibly can, instead of trying to be perfect.
Do less, but better
We often think we need to do everything at once in order to be productive. This is a myth. Do as much as you can, then stop and take a break — even if it’s just for 10 minutes! It’ll help clear your head so you can focus on what’s important again without feeling overwhelmed.
Productivity blueprint can bring positive change to your life
It’s important to stay focused and not lose sight of what’s really important. Sometimes there are forces pulling you in different directions. But by identifying them and taking steps to manage your time better, you can help manage those distractions, get more done, and feel more satisfied with the results.
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