If you’re really motivated to get things done but struggling with productivity then here are 7 ways to increase your productivity instantly.
1. Set Deadlines
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
Setting deadline is important for maximizing productivity. Without a deadline there is no reason for you to act with any real urgency. Something that might have only taken a few hours can easily end up taking the whole day or even longer to complete.
2. Know What You’re Doing In Advance
“Clarity is power” as they say. Set aside some time in advance to plan out what actions need to be taken. If you begin taking action without really knowing what you’re doing or exactly what needs to be done you will end up wasting a lot of time in-between doing tasks figuring things out as you go along.
It can also be overwhelming to approach a big task without first breaking it down into small, easily achievable steps.
Ideally plan out a to do list a day in advance, that way you know exactly what needs to be done and you can also plan how to deal with some potential time saboteurs beforehand.
3. Turn Off All Distractions
This one goes without saying really but studies show that it can take up to 50% longer to complete a task once you’ve been interrupted.
Turn off email, turn off Facebook and twitter and all other notifications. Plan and set specific times of the day to check email, network on Facebook and so forth and stick to that plan.
Turn your phone on silent. Sometimes emergencies might come up and most people worry that if they put their phone on silent that they won’t be able to answer an emergency call from their family members. For that you can set up specific profiles on your phone. Set a different ringtone or notification sound.
4. Use Time Boxing
Time boxing techniques like the Pomodoro technique are a great way to remain focused on the task at hand.
From research and my own personal experience working in blocks of 50 minutes and taking a 10 minute break work best. It’s short enough to make it easy to get started but also long enough to get some substantial work done in that time.
I actually used to do 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute break but found that I was more prone to distractions and the time in between switching from work and breaks would always seem to stretch out and escape me.
After 2 blocks/cycles you can take a 30 minute break to eat and refuel.
5. Do the most important thing first
The first 2 hours of your work day are likely to be your most productive so make a habit of doing the most important task first thing in the morning.
Make sure you prioritize your list. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing the most urgent things first, it means doing what’s most important in alignment with your goals and values or doing the tasks that directly bring in the money.
You’ll find the urgent things get done anyway just because of their time sensitive nature and the external deadline they have attached to them.
The first 2 hours is to be spent on working towards your dreams.
6. Focus on 1 thing at a time
The myth of multitasking has already been well established. I must admit when you’re an entrepreneur with a lot of ideas it’s very easy to get seduced into thinking that you can work on 3 or 4 different projects at a time and make significant progress on each.
The truth is you will make more progress overall by working on 1 thing at a time, getting that completed or up and running and then moving onto the next.
Don’t dismiss your ideas, just prioritize them, work on 1 for now giving your 100% focus to that whilst keeping the rest on the back burner for now.
7. Separate Work And Play
When I set up my first business I wanted success so bad that I really didn’t think about a daily schedule, free time or what kind of lifestyle I wanted to live whilst running the business. I ended up working 7 days week, bound to the computer and telephone and didn’t allow for any real freedom or flexibility.
My life became a miss mash of work and play without having quality time for one or the other. I would be working but still watching a movie or something in the background, I would be spending time with the family yet answering emails and phone calls at the same time.
My days went by feeling like I didn’t really achieve much and also feeling like I didn’t get to unplug and have some quality down time. Needless to say it didn’t take too long before I resented my work and business, I unconsciously started sabotaging things to the point where my business failed.
The point of that small story is to separate your work and play time. Don’t try to be clever and mix them up with a few hours here and a few hours there, a school run here and then back to the office there…
If you’re an entrepreneur who is working from home in the early stages then you probably already know there are a lot of family distractions that can come up.
Make sure you talk to family and friends and let them know when your hours of work are and that you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
Let your customers and clients know your hours of work as well and that you are not to be called outside specific hours unless it’s an emergency and they are paying you extra for the privilege.
Think about your ideal day and set a routine. Factor in quality time for play because this will give you something to look forward to. A routine will actually give you more freedom because by following it you’ll get so much done you can afford to take a day to be spontaneous.
If you found this post useful make sure you share it to help others and if you have some good productivity tips comment below.