Cool Tips For Increasing Your Productivity - Revisited

Source: the FundooGeek:

A few days back we touched upon this topic and to share with you some cool tips on increasing your productivity. While browsing on the net one of the FundooGeek came across a blog with similar ideas. So, here we share some additional tips to maximize your productivity. Remember,

Strive to do the right thing, give it your best shot making sure the task at hand has your total dedication and focus!

Here are some productivity enhancing tips for your success ...

Productivity Tip #1: Ask What Can you Stop Doing I know that one of the promises of this post was to help you get more done. However, the first thing to understand is that there are only 24 hours in a day and we will always be able to fill up that time. So the only way to get more done is to create a vacuum of time. Many people think that time management is just getting more done and they continue to add more onto their plate and before soon they are sinking under the weight of everything they have to get done. So work out what you can stop doing or at least what can you outsource. Tim Ferris, in his brilliant book The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, shows exactly how he does it. For me, one of the things I do is I pay to get my car washed. This frees up approximately 2 hours of my weekend. Now that’s 2 hours I can use elsewhere. What can you stop doing?

Productivity Tip #2: Batch low value tasks If you have a few errands to run, or quick phone calls to make, do them in one hit. For example, rather than going to the grocery shop 3 times a week, make a list, just go once and buy in bulk if you need to. Answering emails is another example. Many of us are hooked to our emails and are constantly “on email”. I now aim to only answer emails twice a day. That way I’m not interrupted from doing more important tasks. Also, by batching your low value tasks you will find that you get more done in a shorter space of time.

Productivity Tip #3: Get rid of distractions This is a massive one in today’s era of modern technology: emails, instant messaging, status updates, sms etc. When you are in the middle of an important task and you get interrupted or distracted, it can take you up to 20 minutes to get back into the zone. If this happens 3 times in a day, that’s 1 hour of lost productivity. In a fortnight, that’s 10 hours or more than one whole day of lost productivity, just from being interrupted. Imagine what you could do if you had a whole extra day every fortnight. Now you know how.

Productivity Tip #4: Use Your Prime Time The television networks know about prime time – that is the time when most people are watching and they will get their best return for their money. Hence, they put on their best shows during this time. What is your prime time? Your prime time is the time when you are at your most productive. Use this time to take on your most challenging and valuable tasks. For me, my prime times are either in the mornings or evenings. I try to keep my afternoons for lower value tasks while my mornings and evenings are set aside for tasks that require significant thinking.

Productivity Tip #5: Create Chunks of Time Create chunks of uninterrupted, focused time where you can work solidly for between 45 to 90 minutes. Aim for this to be during your prime time and eliminate all distractions during this time. You will be amazed at how much more productive you are and how much relaxed you are at the same time.

Productivity Tip #6: Single minded focus When you work, especially during your pre-designated chunks of time, don’t allow yourself to think about what is coming up later in the day, or what the kids are up to. Focus on your task at hand. If you’re like me, the moment you focus on one thing, your mind starts bringing up other things that you also need to get done. This used to stress me out before as I’d try to remember everything I needed to do, while trying to focus on my current task. That made it impossible to be productive and just stressed me out. So now, if ever a thought or a future task pops into my head, I just write it down on a notepad and then keep on working, until I’ve either completed the task or my pre-designated chunk of time has finished. This has made me so much more productive and allowed me to get a lot more done in less time.

Productivity Tip #7: Don’t Multi-task That might sound weird in a world where we taught that multitasking is the key to increased productivity. This could not be more wrong. I know women can multitask better than men can, and while that may be true, it only applies to low value tasks. For example, answering the phone while filing papers. Anything that involves considerable think time requires single minded focus. I know this might not sit right with you so try it for a week. Try focusing solely on one major task at a time and watch your productivity sky rocket. Also, there was a report that came out which showed that multitasking actually reduces your intelligence, mainly I believe, because you stop doing the hard work of thinking. So don’t multi-task, at least not when you’re doing high value tasks. Do things with a single minded focus and I’d be surprised if you did not at increase your productivity by at least 30 to 50%.

Productivity Tip #8: Goals Make sure you set goals for yourself both long term and short term goals. Unless you know where you are heading, it is so easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with how much you have to do. I guarantee that your productivity in life is directly linked to how much time you spend working on your goals.

Productivity Tip #9: Prioritize When you set daily goals for yourself, prioritize them. A key distinction to go from being busy to being more productive is to allocate your time to your highest value tasks. What is the most important task for the day, then the next important and then the next important after that. This way, you know you are always tackling the most important task on your list and if anything comes up during the day that takes your way from your plan, you have peace of mind knowing you have at least achieved your most important goal for the day.

Productivity Tip #10: Write everything down It does not matter how well you try and order your day, unexpected and new tasks will be thrown at you. Whenever a new task comes up, write it down and compare it in importance to your already scheduled priorities for the day. This one tip has saved me a bucket load of stress and increased my productivity substantially because more often than not, an unexpected task that comes up is often of a lower value than what I already had planned for the day. So I can stick to my original plan. How many times have you had a plan for the day and the something happens and you get so busy and caught up, yet by the end of the day you wonder what have you achieved? This one little tip has almost completely stopped this happening for me, immediately increasing my productivity. Even if an emergency comes up that is urgent and you need to address the task immediately, you will at least have more peace of mind because you know you are putting your time to the best possible use that you can. If you have read this far, then I’m hoping this is of real value to you. I want to really help you implement these tips so I’ve included a bonus video that reviews 7 of the best tips I have for productivity to help you further. Enjoy!

Productivity Tip #11: Set Your Super Six The Previous Day Every night, before you go to bed, or perhaps at the end of the day before you leave the office, review your goals and set your top 6 priorities for the next day. After a long day, this is often the last thing you want to get done but it is a proven productivity booster. By setting your top priorities the previous night, you can start your day with immediate momentum. While everyone else tries to settle into their day, you can begin being productive immediately. This tip has given me an extra 30 minutes to an hour every day. Imagine what an extra hour in your day would do for your productivity. The second benefit is that you will sleep better. One of the major reasons for people not sleeping so well these days is they have so much going on in their head which they are trying to remember. If you have everything written down, you can go to sleep with peace of mind knowing that you won’t forget anything. As a result you will wake up better rested which will allow you to work at your optimum, allowing you to keep your productivity and output at their highest levels. The final benefit is that your subconscious will go to work for you on your most important tasks while you sleep. I don’t know exactly how this happens but I just know it does. The number of times I have written down a challenge that I know I need to take care of the next day, only to wake up with the solution obvious to me is unbelievable.

Productivity Tip #12: Schedule Your Priorities, Just Like Setting Meetings With Yourself Goals are great, but you need to schedule time to achieve them. Unless it is scheduled, it isn’t real. For example, one of my goals is to go the gym twice a week. If I don’t schedule that into my calendar, it becomes so easy for me not to go because something more pressing comes up. Let me assure you that something more pressing will always comes up when you don’t have your time scheduled. So now, when I look at my calendar and I see a 2 hour slot programmed for the gym, it means that I can’t schedule another meeting at that time. Also, by scheduling your priorities (rather than prioritizing your schedule which is what most people do), you will work your life around your major priorities and your goals. In the past I used to try and work my priorities and my goals around my life and it never worked. It was little wonder I would quickly fall behind and fail to achieve my goals. This is one of the major reasons why people fail to achieve their new year’s resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to start running 3 times a week and you don’t schedule it, then your normal routine will take over and nothing will change for you. So if you want to maximize your productivity, make sure you schedule your priorities.

Productivity Tip #13: Stick to Your Commitment There is no point scheduling your priorities and making commitments to yourself, if you won’t keep them. I know several people who will tell me that they planned on running three times this week but then “stuff came up” and they never even went for a walk. They then complain about how they are so busy but they fail to realize that the main reason they are not as productive and falling behind on what’s important to them is their own inability to keep their promise to themselves and follow through on their commitment. This used to be me until I realized that I had to take control of my own life and start changing my own routine. Stick to your commitments and you will be amazed at how much your productivity increases.

Productivity Tip #14: Review Your Progress / Milestones If you were driving to a new place for the first time, you would monitor your progress to ensure you were on track (or at least your satellite navigation system would). Otherwise, how would you know that you were on track? You need to do the same thing with your life. If you are not regularly “checking in” to ensure you are on track, it is so easy to just get busy without actually being productive. I set my yearly goals then I bring them back to 90 day goals, monthly milestones and then weekly milestones. Every week, I spend about an hour reviewing whether I am on track or not. It won’t matter how organized you are, life will throw an unexpected curve ball at you from time to time, so by checking in with your progress, you will know what adjustments you need to make to get back on track again. Also, you will start to feel good when you realize that you are making progress every week. Nothing is better for productivity than knowing that the hard work you are putting in is paying dividend, so review and monitor your progress regularly.

Productivity Tip #15: Manage your state There are times when you will feel lazy and you just cannot be bothered. During these times, you will need to manage your physical state and snap out of your laziness. Feeling lazy is an absolute productivity killer. How to snap out laziness and what you can do when you just can’t be bothered doing anything is something I will dedicate to another blog post. However, if you are feeling lazy, try and go for a walk, get some fresh air and some water. Do something to change your state, even if it as silly as jumping up and down in the same spot ten times – it might feel ridiculous and you might not be able to do it if you’re in the office surround by dozens of people, but it can definitely work. Otherwise do some stretching and just get moving. You’ll be amazed at how, once you start moving, within minutes your feelings of laziness have disappeared and you can get back into being productive again.

So there you have it. 15 tips you can use immediately to take your productivity to levels even you can’t imagine. I promise that if you take the time to implement these 15 tips which will allow you to increase your productivity, you will feel more relaxed and have far more peace of mind.

Here are 50 ways to increase your productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Take a break. You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

2. Set a timer for each of your tasks.

3. Eliminate all distractions. This includes the phone, email notifications, and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop.

4. Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus. Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

5. Love what you do. Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

6. Complete your most dreaded tasks first thing in the morning. Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

7. Use JDarkRoom. This application allows you to write more efficiently by removing all distractions. You’re given an entirely blank page on which to type. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM. When you’re done, you can save your work as a text file.

8. Just start. Often times, starting is the hardest part. Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

9. Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning. Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

10. Keep a notebook and pen on hand at all times. This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos, and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. This way, your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second.

11. Write a blog to chronicle your own personal development and achievements. This keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

12. Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This will save you quite a bit of time and money.

13. Step away from the computer. The Internet has become one of the number one distractions. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible. I do this a lot with my writing and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

4. Write out a to-list each day. I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up.

15. As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself, “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?” This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

16. Get plenty of sleep. When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

17. Exercise. Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace. Take a short walk at lunch to maximize your productivity.

18. Organize your office. The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system, and dumping the junk.

19. Outsource as much as possible. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks: GetFriday eLance ScriptLancle.

20. Use a Tivo or DVR to cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes.

21. Turn off the TV. The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube. Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

22. Listen to educational audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner. Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

23. Auto pay your bills. This will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

24. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done. This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read.

25. Focus on result-oriented activities. Pareto’s law states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results. We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

26. Take shorter showers. This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

27. Tell other people about your goals and you will instantly be held accountable.

28. Learn to say “No”. We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

29. Go on an information diet. Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing. Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done. The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on.

30. Find a mentor. By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

31. Write your most important tasks and to-dos on a calendar.

32. Set some exciting goals. Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

33. Learn keyboard shortcuts and create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

34. Get up early before anyone else. Nothing beats a quiet house.

35. Don’t multitask. Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

36. Reward yourself for finishing a big task.

37. Shop online whenever possible to avoid going to the store.

38. Batch similar tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email, and errands into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session.

39. Speed up your Internet with a broadband connection. This is the number one Internet time-saver. If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

40. Start a polyphasic sleep schedule.

41. Improve your typing speed to save time.

42. Get rid of time wasters. This includes Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television, and extraneous Internet surfing.

43. Protect yourself from unnecessary phone time with caller ID.

44. Work from home and avoid the daily commute.

45. Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

46. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time. By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

47. When your reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest.

48. Cook your meals in bulk so that you will have plenty of leftovers. Avoid having to cook everyday.

49. Learn to speed read.

50. Use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

When you put these tips to work and concentrate on one task at a time, you will be amazed at the quality and quantity of your output.

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