Being productive can sometimes pose a challenge, especially working from home or owning small businesses. Sometimes you have too much on your to-do list, and at the end of the day, it still feels as though it’s too much.
While you might have tried to be more productive without any success in the past, I will walk you through a few simple yet effective strategies that will help you increase your daily productivity.
Create a Morning Routine
You probably have seen a lot of influencers lately posting their morning routines, whether on Instagram or Youtube. You, too, need a morning routine; it is not only for influencers.
A well-planned morning routine helps you leverage the first hour or two after you wake up; that way, it keeps you on track to avoid wasting time.
I do not know about you, but I found myself more productive on those days when I got up early and stuck to my morning routine. However simple that looks, create a morning routine that will work for you.
Aim at achieving small goals like taking a shower, making coffee, and 20 minutes of workout. Setting small achievable goals for your morning will keep you motivated to achieve the rest of your goals during the day.
Have a written plan.
Planning your day won’t be enough if you do it in your head. Having a written plan for your day will help you execute your plan better than just having it somewhere in the back of your head. Nowadays, planning your day is easy with all the available apps and programs to help you do so. I have a to-do list on my phone that allows me to tick every task I accomplish.
Ticking off stuff from the list is gratifying and probably why a written plan is more helpful. I recently had someone tell me that they all along knew that to-do lists are for major activities of the day and special days but not for menial tasks like taking a shower and taking the trash out.
While you might think it is normal and not a “huge achievement” to take a shower, ticking that off your list will motivate you to do the “more important” things. Planning my day the night before has proven to be more helpful since I sleep knowing what I want to spend my time on the next day, i.e., I wake up prepared.
Audit your plan.
Take some time in the evening to evaluate your achievements during the day. Did you tick all the boxes, and if not, what made it impossible to tick your to-do list? Time blocking is one of the things to look at when auditing your to-do list.
Time blocking is assigning every task to a specific time during the day. Is your to-do list too general, or is it time specific?
If you didn’t time block your task, take note during the audit and assign a specific time for your next day.
Get enough sleep and take breaks.
While that might sound controversial to what we are talking about, getting enough rest isn’t an enemy to you. You probably tried to stay up all night trying to read for an exam, which in most cases, doesn’t go well.
If you have to be productive, you should get enough rest and take breaks between tasks. When assigning time to your tasks, assign some time to take a break. Some research has shown that breaks between long tasks can help maintain performance throughout the task. On the other hand, working without breaks could lead to a decline in productivity from a certain point.
Yeap, women, I am talking to you. I know people have said before that women could multitask. According to neuroscience professor Earl K. Miller, “multitasking is not humanly possible.”
While sometimes people think that a task is trivial and they can handle several tasks simultaneously, you will most likely blow through all of them and end up wasting time.
Say No to meetings unless you have to
According to research, an office worker spends at least thirty-one hours every month in unnecessary, unproductive meetings.
Most of the meetings we book and attend can be discussed via email or phone and achieve the same results.
So before booking in for meetings in your schedule, evaluate whether they can be held online and still accomplish the goal.
If it is completely necessary, hold standing meetings where everyone in the meeting is standing. There is evidence that standing meetings are more productive as they decrease territoriality and increase group arousal.
Learn when you are most productive.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan for productivity. At the end of the day, you have to learn when you are most productive and take advantage of that.Most people keep pushing the bigger task since they fear that they won’t be able to accomplish them. They end up trying to do the tasks when burnt out, resulting in frustration.
If you are a morning person, starting with those huge goals before you get tired from all the other tasks will help you increase your productivity. The same applies to the evening person.
Prioritizing your tasks from the most urgent to the least urgent is another way of planning which tasks to start. Getting the urgent tasks off the table will give you the peace of mind you need to work on the less urgent tasks.
Set boundaries and ask for help.
These two things will scale up your productivity so much that you won’t believe it. Having boundaries may look like saying “no.” whether working a 9 to 5 job or running your own business, you will have to learn to say no.
Someone once told me that if you don’t say no, you still say no to something. For example, if you do not say no to a bad business deal, you subconsciously say no to your integrity or peace of mind.
Set boundaries with your time and only give attention to something that deserves that attention.
Know when to ask for help. We have attached so much importance to “doing it alone” that we rarely ask for help, even when necessary.
Sometimes, asking for a helping hand or employing professionals to help in some areas of your business will help you improve your productivity by specializing in areas you are most comfortable in.
Selfishly invest in yourself.
While I use the word selfishly, taking care of yourself cannot be selfish. I use the word selfish here to mean single-mindedly; without feeling guilty, pay attention to yourself.
Some of the self-improvement habits that can help you significantly improve your productivity include; meditation, journaling, and practicing gratitude.
Meditation is contemplation and reflection. Take time to connect with your inner self through meditation. Study your responses and behavior and see what leads you to various decisions.
Meditation makes us insanely self-aware, a necessary factor for improving our productivity.
Journaling also helps you reflect and go through life aware of what is happening around you, which helps with improving productivity.
Practice gratitude. Instead of going through your days complaining, learn to be grateful. Instead of loathing that you have to go to work AGAIN, be thankful that you have that job in the first place. Gratitude fills us with positivity which in return increases our productivity.
Turn off distractions.
We live in the digital age where we get pop-ups every minute of our waking selves. I have learned, however, that I have control over many things around me.
For example, I lost my sleeping and waking patterns for a big part of this year. I am a morning person, so that affected me and my schedule in many ways.
When I thought through one boundary, I let loose to that point; I realized that I was staying on my phone for so long at night.
As a corrective measure, I put my phone on an automatic “do not disturb” mode from 9 pm. That allows me to detach before I sleep, and I do not pick up any calls from 9 pm to 9 am.
When I am working on something I must finish, I try to put my phone away and pay attention to my work. So far, it is working, hence the confidence to say that distractions are only distractions to the degree you allow them.
Take time to look after yourself. Your productivity will largely depend on things like your general health, your mental health, your mood, and your morale. That is why self-care is the ultimate catalyst for productivity.
Treat yourself to nice things once in a while, reward yourself when you achieve something, and set goals that motivate you to get going.
Your turn, which of the above-discussed habits do you need to start to improve your productivity? Let me know in the comments section below.