If you clicked on this article, chances are you have a sneaking suspicion (or is it a certainty?) that you are not plumbing the potential of your productivity as much as you can. Don’t worry, you are not alone. That’s why we’re sharing 6 awesome hacks to make you more productive.
Most people rate their productivity as a 5 on a scale where 10 is the most productive. Not everyone has a conscious desire to be a 10. You probably do, because you are reading this right now, and that puts you ahead of the pack.
However, you should realize that becoming more productive is not about working longer or harder. It is about working the right way. You can tweak how you do things and go about your life in such a way that you get better results and more things done with less effort and time. Here are 6 awesome hacks to make you more productive, and on your way to a 10.
- Plan your day the night before
Winston Churchill said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Of course, he was probably talking about winning a war or some such thing, but it remains true in any situation.
Most people spend a lot of time worrying about the things they have to do, which is pretty useless. Instead of worrying, plan your day the night before. List down everything you need to do in order of urgency and importance so you can get some perspective.
Writing it down gives you more control. You may still have a heavy workload, but your brain will have time to figure out the best way to get through it while you sleep (which is when you do your best thinking, by the way).
Moreover, organizing your tasks the night before makes you more efficient. You won’t be running around the next day like a chicken without a head because you have a plan of what to do in a logical way. Motivational Paul J. Meyer said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
Planning your daily tasks can make you more productive, but you also have to consider the big picture.
Some plans take a week, others a month, to come to fruition, and anything can happen in that time. Events and people can sidetrack you from your long term goals if you don’t keep your eye on the ball. Making weekly and monthly goals determines how you will plan your days to reach those goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Writing long term goals also serves as a reminder of to keep you on the right track.
When you know where you are going weeks, even months down the road, you gain more confidence, increase your self-esteem, and significantly cut down on your stress levels.
Some people claim that they work better late in the day rather than early in the morning. This may have something to do with the fact that they stayed up all night!
The fact is, studies show that the most productive people tend to be early birds, because they have more hours in the day to do things, and energy levels tend to be higher.
This is something I learned working at Assignment Masters dissertation services, where deadlines are tight and the demand for quality work is high. I found that coming to work a couple of hours earlier than everybody else gave me the oomph I needed to handle my heavy workload, and I even had time to go out after work!
- Identify your productivity cycle
No one can keep going at peak performance all day.
You need to identify your productivity cycle so you can do the most important tasks when you are at your best. For example, if you feel more energetic in the morning schedule your core tasks at that time, such as brainstorming or doing an analysis. On the other hand, if you work best in the afternoon, check your email and do other non-core tasks in the morning.
There are also times when you feel extremely energetic and productive, but they are almost inevitably followed by periods of sleepiness. This is normal, and it is not a sin to take a break. In fact, studies show that productive people take frequent breaks to recharge.
- Note your ideas and thoughts
The brain is a bit of a trickster.
When you are thinking as hard as you can to come up with an awesome idea, it refuses to work. However, when you are engaged in doing something mundane, like doing the groceries, the most incredible ideas and thoughts will just pop in there. You may not even realize that you have just come up with the solution to a big problem at work, or an idea for improving your work process that can save you a lot of time and effort.
This is why it is important to note your ideas and thoughts, no matter how stupid or ridiculous it might seem at first. It can’t hurt to note it, after all.
Keep a small notebook with you so you can jot it down. You can also use your smartphone to write it down or record them. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it or let it slip away to forgetfulness. That’s a waste of potential.
- Forget about multitasking
You might think you can do several things at the same time to increase your productivity, but that is not true at all. In fact, multitasking can actually make you less productive.
Studies have shown that the human brain cannot focus on two complex tasks at the same time. It switches quickly from one task to the other as needed, and this has a cost on your performance. For example, if you are driving and talking on the phone (even hands free) at the same time, you will not do either one as well as when you do each one individually. You might even get into an accident!
It is the same thing in the workplace. Writing a report and giving instructions to a subordinate at the same time might seem like saving time, but you are likely to make mistakes because your focus is divided. It will take you longer to write the report, and give inadequate or wrong instructions to your employee. If you really want to be productive, focus on one task at a time, and delegate what you can.
There is no one formula that works for everyone when it comes to improving productivity. You can achieve better productivity if you understand how you work, and making strategic use of it. These 6 awesome hacks to make you more productive can get you there quickly and effectively.
This is a guest blog post written by Kate Simpson, head of editing team at Assignment Masters. Kate is also contributing her own insights at news column.