Being productive isn’t about getting a lot of work done. It is about “doing the right things right.” In other words, you are doing the most effective thing (the right thing) efficiently as possible (doing it right). That is what true productivity is.
Being productive is important as it helps you reach your goals faster. It also has intangible effects such as making you feel more fulfilled in life, help you increase your quality of life, and help you become a better version of yourself every day. Here are some tips to help you become and maximize your productivity.
Identify Your Productive Hours
Everyone has different hours in which they find they’re most productive. Based on the book The Power of Engagement, energy management, not time management, is the secret to productivity.
We are not robots and can’t work 24 hours straight every day. We will end up burning ourselves out. The key is to focus on working while at your peak energy, then rest so you can replenish your energy.
Since our body follows a rhythm, just like our sleep circadian rhythm, you want to identify your energy cycles. Find the most productive times during the day and then focus on making the most of those hours.
One tip would be to start with the difficult tasks first and leave the easy ones until later on. When you’re able to identify your most productive hours, you can take time to invest in preparing for your peak productivity time.
Prioritize and Focus
Before the day starts, prioritize what’s important that day. Figure out what matters most and will have the greatest impact. Those tasks should be your top priority. It is easy to have urgent but non-important tasks overwhelm.
What one or two things will make the most difference in achieving your goals? Which tasks will give you the biggest bang for your time? Take the time to ensure you are focusing on those tasks. You can’t complete every task you have, so complete only the ones that are the most critical.
Take Regular Breaks
Working non-stop and without breaks isn’t the best way to work. You may feel as though you’re productive, but it’s an easy way of burning yourself out. Learn to take breaks so that you’re able to step away from what you’re doing and come back with a fresh perspective.
There are different theories on how long you can concentrate on as well as how regularly you should take breaks. The key is to take a five-minute break every 25 minutes while the 90-minute work blocks suggest you take a break every 90 minutes instead.
Organize and Leverage Technology
Ensuring your digital life is well organized is another way that you can increase productivity. These days there are distractions coming from every corner, from emails to social media and other notifications. Consider turning your notifications off while you’re busy at work or allocating set times to digital activities.
Email, for example, is one of the biggest productivity busters. While all email clients have their standard search features, programs such as SQL regex that can help you find the right email within seconds. Using the right software can help you to automate tasks that you do every day.
Studies show that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, it is multi-switching. The brain can only handle one thing at a time. Every time you switch tasks, you lose momentum, and it takes more time to get on track.
Try focusing your energy on one task at a time, and then move on to the next asks. If you need motivation, use the pomodoro technique. This simple and proven system forces you to focus on completing on just one task within 25 minutes. Then take a break. Continue this process.
By setting this constraint, a lot of people find it very freeing to know that they can focus on just one thing and then do other stuff once the timer is over. When you complete a small chunk of work, you build momentum so that you will feel more productive which in itself leads to getting more work done.
Exercise, Diet, and Sleep!
Whether it’s going for a run, lifting weights, or playing organized sports, exercising is key to increasing your energy level. It will help keep you more energized, focused, and alert throughout the day. This, in turn, can help improve productivity in different areas of your life. Some business owners even like to give their employees gym memberships as incentives.
Just as exercise is important, getting enough sleep is also crucial to being productive. Studies show that sleep deprivation is similar to being drunk. Without the right amount of rest, it is difficult to perform at your highest level.
Lastly, you need the proper fuel to give you the energy to perform well. Foods high in sugar may give a small rush, but over the long-term will only hurt your productivity. Taking care of your body is often more important than time management or trying to do the right things right.
Using productivity hacks in your business will make a huge difference to your bottom line and the quality of work you put out!