How to Be More Productive: A Complete Guide
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No one likes the thought of being unproductive.
There's little worse than feeling like you aren't achieving as much as you should. Many distractions can lead you to become unfocused and unproductive. It's an issue because you will never reach your true potential when you lack productivity. Being productive means you make the most out of every minute. As a result, your life changes. You get more work done, and you feel more accomplished at the end of each day.
You may have heard of this quote popularly attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” It’s a great way to look at how to be more productive. It’s not an instant process, but you’ll be amazed at how much you will achieve with gradual improvements.
So, here are nine tips to help you improve productivity:
1. Set small goals
Setting small goals is beneficial as you have achievable targets to reach every single day. The issue with most goals is that they are too big and take time to achieve. As such, it’s easy to slip into unproductivity as you feel like there’s lots of time to reach your goals. With small ones, you have things to focus on every day. By ticking off your small goals, you quickly increase productivity and make your way towards the larger goals.
You can do this by making a list of daily goals every morning. These are the things you want to accomplish on that day. It narrows your focus, ensuring you know what tasks demand the most effort. For example, let’s say you’re writing a report. Set yourself a word count goal for that day. You will now work hard to reach the word count, and tick off this goal.
2. Concentrate on one task at a time
Splitting your time across multiple tasks can make you wildly unproductive. Instead, concentrate on one task at a time. Determine this based on the order of importance. What tasks take priority over others? Set aside a specific amount of time to focus on one particular task at a time, preventing distractions from all your other responsibilities.
One smart idea is to dedicate an hour or two to a specific task in the morning, then another chunk to a different job in the afternoon, and so on. For instance, your mornings are devoted to your marketing strategy, and then afternoons, you focus on a separate task.
3. Create a To-Do List
A to-do list supercharges productivity by giving you a list of things to do. It prevents procrastination as you know what needs to be done and by when. In effect, you bring more structure to your days instead of letting everything flow all over the place.
You can do this after deciding your small goals for the day. Create a to-do list that provides tasks to help you tick off your goals. Returning to the example of the report you need to write—your to-do list can include writing an introduction, gathering sources/data, completing a section, etc. Slowly but surely, you tick the mini-tasks off to achieve the goal for the day.
4. Track your time
Make a note of what you do with your time. How often do you spend checking emails? How long do you spend doing a specific task? How much time is spent doing nothing? Tracking your time lets you see your habits—both good and bad. In turn, you can address this and rearrange your schedule to ensure you make the most out of your time.
Do this for a week or two, and you will spot consistent working habits that tell you why you're unproductive. One way to do this is to set a stopwatch whenever you begin a task. It shows you how much time you spent on it, and you can look back at it and consider what you did during the whole period.
5. Delegation and Follow Up
Delegating tasks to others can free up your time to focus on more essential tasks. As a result, you're instantly more productive as you have more time to concentrate on what matters most. The key to delegation is that you find people who are better at specific tasks than you are. For example, delegate the bookkeeping tasks to someone with a financial background. As a result, you can get more things done every day by seeking help from others.
Be sure to follow up throughout the day to check on the progress of delegated tasks. This will also encourage others to be more productive, as they will want to report positive progress to you.
6. Find your peak hours
We all work better in different parts of the day. So, find your peak hours to tap into your peak productivity. Spend time working when you feel more focused and less distracted.
The only way to do this is by reviewing your days and seeing when you feel most productive. Then, schedule your work to ensure you do most of it in your peak hours. For example, your peak hours might be from 6 am to 11 am. With this in mind, start work earlier than usual—instead of going into the office at 9 am, where you will miss three of your peak hours!
A cluttered workspace fills you with distractions that take your mind off your tasks. Clear your work area and free yourself from any distractions. Decluttering also allows you to organize things better, meaning you find them quickly instead of sorting through the clutter for ages.
For example, instead of loose papers on your desk, put them in filing cabinets or labeled folders.
8. Walk and exercise
Walking and exercising boosts productivity by relieving stress and increasing your energy levels. Go for a walk now and then to break up your workday. It helps you to stretch your legs, relieve tension from your shoulders, and clear your head. When you return, you instantly feel more focused and can work more efficiently.
The same is true of exercise—try to be active at least three times a week to improve your physical and mental health. This activity benefits your working days as you feel more energized and less stressed.
9. Try a productivity drink
When you feel tired, you might drink coffee or have an energy drink. So, it makes sense that if you feel unproductive, you consume a productivity energy drink. Magic Mind is the first of this type of drink. It's beneficial as you ingest natural ingredients—like matcha and lion's mane mushrooms—that aid brain function and cognition. It also reduces stress and inflammation, two things that often make you feel distracted at work.
All you have to do is drink this daily at your desk. It can replace one of the coffees you usually drink. It will flood your body with many more benefits than caffeine alone. Think of it as a liquid supplement that helps you think clearer and be more focused.
In summary, you can achieve peak productivity by making a few subtle changes to your life. The main takeaways are that you need to provide more structure to your days, focus on specific tasks, and keep your mind clear of distractions. By following these nine tips, you’re sure to reach peak productivity and reach your true potential.