Before we dive into the details of how to be more productive, do you even know what is meant by productivity?
Productivity is not defined by how many hours you put into your work. Rather productivity means getting the best out of your time. It means being efficient in getting important things done on time and every time.
If you analyze your routine daily, you’ll notice that there are only 2 or 3 crucial tasks that require our undivided attention. So it’s more about what things we shouldn’t do and focus on things that actually matter.
Many people struggle just to get this aspect right. Most of us lag at our jobs and end up feeling unhappy with our progress at the end of the day and question ourselves, “how to be more productive with our time?”.
We are continuously distracted by endless information coming our way. Whether it be our emails, text messages, notifications, or gossip at the workplace, we fail to manage these little things that eventually consume a large chunk of our energy.
So the question is, how do we get more productive? The answer is quite simple. There are plenty of useful strategies that you can employ to get more out of your time.
So without further ado, let’s read on to see the useful strategies that can help you increase your productivity.
15 Useful Ways to Increase Your Productivity
You can’t expect to increase your productivity to increase overnight. Many people make it look effortless. But the secret behind their efficiency lies in good time management and planning.
However, if you follow these vital strategies diligently, you’ll see a remarkable improvement in your performance. These tips and expert self-care suggestions will help you be more productive and have you striking things off your to-do list in no time.
1. Rise up early
Every morning, you have a choice. You can either hit the snooze button and waste another day or wake up early and make the most of your time.
This is the most underrated productivity tool you can find. It allows you to start your day on the right foot.
Sure, it’s tough to get out of bed when it’s still dark outside, but trust me, it’s worth it.
You can set the tone for the rest of your day as there are no distractions at this time. It gives you time to do important things, like exercise, meditation or reading. And doing so gets you a head start on everybody else.
It can be hard to execute this productivity hack. But if you get to bed early, then you won’t have a problem getting up on time.
2. Practice Goal-Setting
One of the best ways to be more productive is to set realistic and SMARTER goals. Without knowing this skill, you can’t expect to spend your time productively.
Instead of doing things randomly, plan an outline for yourself and act on it. It may seem daunting at first. But taking the time to set goals helps focus your energy on what matters most.
Setting and achieving these goals gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue progressing.
Furthermore, setting goals can prevent you from wasting time on activities that hold little value.
So, whether the goal is large or small, professional or personal, setting realistic goals and working towards them is a recipe for success.
3. Don’t Procrastinate
It’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination. We tell ourselves that we’ll start working on a task tomorrow, next week, or even next month.
But the truth is, the longer we put off starting a task, the less likely we are to actually do it.
The good news is that it’s never too late to break the procrastination habit and be more productive. By starting to work on tasks as soon as they’re assigned, we can increase our productivity and set ourselves up for success.
Even studies have confirmed that time management and being proactive reduces procrastination.
Of course, it’s not always possible to start working on a task immediately. In those cases, it’s important to have a plan for when you start working on it.
By being proactive and efficient with our time, we can make sure that procrastination doesn’t stand in the way of success.
4. Complete the Hardest Tasks First
Naturally, we are becoming more inclined towards short-term pleasures. So instead of taking on larger and more important tasks head-on, we tend to cross off the easiest tasks first on our to-do list.
Whether it’s creating your company’s forecast details or getting your car tires changed, we all hesitate to initiate the tasks that consume most of our time.
When we do this, we actually limit our time on the stuff that actually matters. So, we end up having less time for these tasks and get frustrated.
Using the reverse strategy and Eating the Frog, as coined by Brian Tracy in his popular book, saves us from this hassle.
The psychology behind being more productive using this technique is that when we complete these toughest jobs, we free up our mental energy, which minor tasks would otherwise consume.
5. Organize Your WorkSpace
Creating an efficient and productivity-boosting work setup doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Taking a little time to organize your work area can make a big difference.
It influences how well you’re able to focus and get things done. A neat and orderly workstation helps boost your productivity by having all the tools in close proximity. Searching for lost pens or scrambling for paper will only add unnecessary stress to your day.
You waste less time looking for things you need and can focus more on getting important work done. And you’ll feel more in the zone and enjoy working in such an ergonomic setup.
This single tip helps you cut the cost of disorganization and save you loads of time.
By taking a few minutes to organize your work area, you can set yourself up for success.
6. Relax and Clear Your Mind
Getting caught up in the never-ending cycle of work and chores at home is easy. Whether it’s about getting a promotion at work or crossing items off our never-ending to-do lists, we are always hustling hard towards some goal.
Grinding non-stop for 12 hours straight might seem pretty cool on paper when you think of productivity. This is where the law of diminishing returns starts to show its colors, and you begin to slump after a while.
It may sound contradictory, but taking breaks and clearing your mind can dramatically improve your performance.
This was also found true in a study. It was found that people who worked on a single task for extended periods experienced a significant drop in their focus. But if they take short breaks doing the task, they retain better concentration and grit.
When we allow ourselves to step away from our obligations, we give our minds a chance to rest, and we come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever challenges come our way.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and permit yourself to relax. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Create a To-Do List
There’s no doubt that to-do lists are helpful tools for staying productive. By outlining everything you need to do in one place, you can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
However, it’s important to remember that a to-do list is only as good as your ability to stick to it.
That’s why it’s crucial to create a realistic and achievable list. Otherwise, you’ll just end up feeling frustrated and discouraged.
How to Stick By Your To-Do List
One of the best ways to make sure you stick to your to-do list is to schedule specific times for each task.
This will help you stay on track by avoiding distractions. In addition, it’s important to be flexible with your list. As life happens, things will inevitably come up that you didn’t plan for.
So try to be too rigid about what you can accomplish in a day. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done.
Remember, a to-do list is supposed to help you be more productive, not add stress to your life. So take some time to figure out what works best for you and stick with it.
In his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen describes how to master your time efficiently.
He advises you to prioritize your commitments and put them in order of priority. After that, hang that list where you can constantly get yourself reminded about it.
Whether it’s pasting the list on your work desk or hanging it on the fridge using a magnet, keep your tasks displayed in a place where you can see them frequently to remind yourself.
8. Break up large tasks into smaller ones
It is better to break up large tasks into small ones. When we complete a task, it gives us a sense of accomplishment and boosts our confidence.
Dividing the tasks into smaller chunks allows us to focus on each part of the task and be more productive. By focusing on one thing at a time, you can eliminate distractions and make the most of your available time.
This is especially important when the task is complex and requires our full attention.
So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to break things down into smaller pieces. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive and efficient in life you can be.
9. Delegate or outsource tasks
There is only so much you can do in a day. Everyone has the same 24 hours a day. If you’re struggling to find enough time in the day to accomplish your goals, it might be time to start delegating or outsourcing some of your tasks.
Many small and medium-scale industries have also utilized this method to increase their profitability. And you can use the same trick to enhance and be more productive.
Delegating means assigning tasks to others, while outsourcing involves hiring someone to complete a task for you. Both options help increase your productivity and free up time in your schedule.
How to Delegate or Outsource?
There are a few things to remember when delegating or outsourcing tasks.
First, ensure that the person you’re assigning the task to is qualified and capable of completing it.
Second, be clear about what you expect the result to be.
Finally, give the person you’re delegating a timeline for completing the task.
10. Eliminate Distractions From Your Environment
Unfortunately, many people are bogged down by continuous distractions and fail to focus on doing things that matter.
This is the story with almost all of us. One moment we are zoned in and working seriously on a project. And in the next one, some of your colleagues come over to your cubicle, and never-ending gossips and discussions on office politics start.
It almost takes you an hour or more to recompose yourself and get the traction back after such a session. And this is the point where you wonder “how to be more productive?”
If you want to be productive in life, it is essential to eliminate such distractions from your environment.
This means creating boundaries with family and friends and setting limits on your use of social media and other apps.
It may not seem easy, but eliminating these things slowly will help you be more productive.
11. Track Your Progress
Regardless of how big your goals are, it’s important to track your progress and results along the way.
Doing so can help you stay motivated and on track and give you a sense of accomplishment when you see how far you’ve come.
There are many ways to track your progress, but one simple method is to keep a journal.
Every day, take a few minutes to write down what you’ve accomplished, big or small. You can also include any goals or plans for the future.
This will not only help you stay productive, but it will also give you a valuable record to look back on later. So don’t underestimate the power of tracking your progress. It could be the key to achieving success.
12. Having a Positive Mindset
A positive mindset is the key to becoming productive in your personal and professional life.
Instead of being too hard on yourself, consider yourself a perpetual learner and think about improving yourself slowly and steadily.
When you accept the challenges in front of you and work on the feedback you receive from others, you are gradually setting yourself up for success.
Being positive creates good vibes and keeps your mind open to new ideas. This not only makes you more productive but also helps to improve your efficiency and creativity.
13. Preventing Information Overload
The world is rapidly changing, and information from different corners is readily bombarded to you via different channels.
Be it TV, emails, tweets, youtube, or viral Facebook videos. You can’t help but click on all these irrelevant notifications.
Controlling this flood of information can be a problem if you don’t know how to manage them. For that purpose, you need to limit and put a cap on your information sources.
How To Do This
14. Reward Yourself
Reward yourself every time you cross off important tasks on your to-do list. Just checking off tasks from your list gives you a hit of dopamine and motivates you to repeat the same process.
Doing this is like training your mind to regard hard work and build resilience. Also, when you reward yourself for positive behavior you start to value delayed gratification and be more productive overall.
15. Taking Action
One mistake that smart people do when they think they are improving their productivity is that they fail to understand the difference between taking action and being in motion.
Being in motion means that you are consciously planning and learning about something. But when you execute what you have learned, this is called taking action.
No doubt, strategizing and collecting information are key, but if you don’t take action, you won’t be more productive and get any favorable outcomes.
So all the steps you have read in this article are a part of you being in motion. But when you take action on this information, you will see results in the form of improved productivity.
Final Words on How To Be More Productive:
After reading and understanding all the techniques above, I am hopeful that you’ll be able to spend your time more productively. The only thing you need to do is to be consistent and put them into action.
With time these habits will become second nature to you, and you’ll notice being more productive overall.
So what are you waiting for? Start taking baby steps now, and you’ll create a snowball effect of productivity in no time.