As a professional, entrepreneur, or anyone with a busy lifestyle, you’ll know there are definitely moments of ups and downs, but you shouldn’t let lulls in motivation or procrastination stand in your way.
There are many tools and hacks that you can use to help with your productivity, like timers, to-do-list apps, or extensions that block your social media, but these all treat the symptoms of being unproductive, rather than the source.
In this article, we take a look at how to get rid of your bad
habits, and make new good habits instead. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things you can do, but by taking the following actions, you could have an overall positive effect on your life, your business, and your sense of achievement.
Plan. Don’t react
Make a daily plan. You’ll find it can help you in so many different ways – instead of reacting to situations, you’ll find yourself responding, and there’s huge difference. Responding is efficient and based on your plan, whereas reacting just causes stress.
Start your day the night before
Plan what you are going to do the following day every evening before you get ready for bed, and make a rough to do list.
Delete the unimportant
If it’s not absolutely necessary for you to do something, take it off your list. You’re busy enough as it is.
Keep a calendar
Many people have multiple calendars. Sync them into one that you can access on your phone, so you always know what you have planned for the day. If you have a partner, it can be helpful to share your calendar with them.
Doing at least some exercise every day will give you increased energy levels and help with your productivity. It also improves blood flow around your body and to your brain, increasing your daily energy levels and ability to concentrate.
Save the best ‘til last
Do the worst task on your to do list first. It’ll give you the incentive to get it done quicker so you can move on to more pleasant things.
Take a break
Don’t just slog away at the same task for hours on end. Your concentration will suffer, as will your eyesight if you’re staring at a screen. Instead, work for 25–30 minute periods, with a short break at the end. This will help you break your work down into more manageable chunks.
The worst thing you can do is to start a task, step away from it and forget it. If you start something, keep on doing it until you can cross it off your list, or it’ll be there forever.
If you have a bunch of little tasks that are very similar (such as responding to emails), batch them together and do them all at once. You wouldn’t wash every pair of socks as they become dirty, so batch your other small tasks as well.
Keep others informed
If your work affects other people, keep them updated with your status. They will appreciate the information, and you will make more of an effort to stick to the deadline.
If you have a team around you who are capable of doing things for you, let them. There are entire books written on this subject, but the basic principle is let others do things for you where possible.
Before you engage in any sort of face-to-face exchange, as yourself “is there anything we need to discuss today that cannot be done via email?” 90% of meetings are a chronic waste of your time, so try to avoid them, and never attend a meeting without a structured agenda.
Finish before you leave
Even if you don’t get to the end of your to do list, make sure you finish the last task you’re working on before you clock out for the day. Leaving half-done tasks for tomorrow is a downward spiral towards being unproductive.
We don’t get better or more productive by doing the same thing day in and day out. Evaluate yourself frequently to see how things are going, and make changes. It’s the only way you will get more productive in the long run.
Get enough sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep definitely plays a role in your level of productivity. Lack of sleep is linked to poor mental performance, and negatively affects your attention span and decision-making abilities. A productive day starts the night before, and how you sleep is part of that.
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