It was once mentioned in a popular business TV show that “Time is money and it waits for no one” – nothing can be truer. Whether in business or career, time wasted is tantamount to money down the drain.
That being said, people who are serious about becoming financially stable believe in making the most out of their working hours.
However, there are only so many hours in a day, and aside from work, there are a plethora of things that warrant one’s attention – social media, interests and hobbies just to name a few. Throw in a good dose of procrastination, and you surely won’t accomplish anything.
To be more productive, or productive at the least, is one of the many aspirations of many people, and is something easier said than done. If you find that you are not being effective and efficient, then here are seven simple ways that you can improve your productivity and get yourself into that get-it-done-now mode.
1. Make a Schedule… and Stick to It
One thing that is common to many successful entrepreneurs and corporate leaders is that they all live by schedules.
This helps them know what their activities for the day is, and thus helps them prepare for it. Knowing what needs to be done and being prepared will help you to function at your best and reduce any stress that the unprepared usually suffers from.
In addition, you get to sleep better since you don’t have to keep pondering and worrying about what you have to do the following day, and being well-rested will help you be more productive.
So get yourself a nice journal and start planning what your tomorrow (and your future) will be like, or you can use one of those free to download diaries or calendars for your smartphones.
2. Prioritising What Is Important
The Pareto Principle is one concept that is employed by many successful people. Accordingly, 80% of your outputs result from 20% of your activities – imagine that! Needless to say, you need to make sure that you focus your energies on 20% of the most important tasks on your list.
One of the tools that you can use in order to help you identify the important tasks that you should pay attention to is the Eisenhower Box. It helps you to distinguish between what is important, what is urgent, and what can be eliminated from your To-Do list.
3. Learn to Say No
A lot of people have a strong urge to please everybody. Businessmen want to please their customers and partners. Employees want to please their superiors and bosses. If you see yourself in a similar situation, then you had better stop.
Trying your best to please everyone will only mean more jobs and appointment on your schedule, and if you can’t accomplish these, you’d leave people disappointed, and yourself feeling guilty and frustrated. Train yourself to say “No”. You’ll see that you’ll be able to accomplish more if you have lesser things to worry about.
4. Just Do It
The phrase says it all. If you have trouble getting started – just get started. People often find it difficult to start working, delaying the work by five, ten, thirty minutes – until a full hour had passed.
The simple trick to avoid falling into this trap is to just start working. By sitting down and getting a little work done, you are slowly immersing yourself into “the zone”. Once you do, you’ll notice momentum slowly starting to buildup, and before you know it, you’ve basically put in an hour of work!
5. Eliminate Distractions
At this time and age, there can be so many things that can distract and keep you from your work – Facebook, messengers, emails, and even friends and family who just want to chat. If you can’t muster enough self-discipline to contain yourself, then the only solution would be to find a way to work around them.
To control your social media and browsing urges, use RescueTime – a computer software that tracks your computer usage and shows how much time you wasted or used productively.
As for friends and family, let them know that you are working and will be able to accommodate them later – they should be able to understand, especially since they know that they’re the reason why you’re working hard in the first place.
6. Love What You Do
Or at least learn to.
The most successful CEOs and business magnates are all passionate and invested in what they do. It is this passion that drives them to work harder and strive further; to persevere and overcome any obstacle or challenge that blocks their path.
You need to have that kind of love and dedication; if you don’t, you’re going to find it hard to put in the necessary hours and be productive.
6. Reward Yourself
Rewards are definitely sweeter when you know that you’ve earned them. Concentration can only go as far, and will wane out over time as a result of fatigue; thus, you will eventually need to stop working and take a break.
If you think that rest is not part of being productive, think again. Enough rest, or even a short break away from your work desk can help to refresh your mind and renew your focus, which allows for a better performance once you’re ready to start working again.
There are many ways of incorporating rest time in your schedule, like working for blocks of an hour and a half followed by 30 minutes of break. You can use your break time to check emails, update your Facebook status, or grab a cup of coffee – anything that helps you to relax.
There is an adage that goes “Work smarter, not harder.”
This is basically what productivity is about. With planning and organisation, knowing what you should be focusing your energies on, and actually working on them will help you accomplish more in your working hours compared to simply working randomly on just about everything.
Remember, being busy is not always being productive – you can do a lot of things at a given day and still not be able to accomplish anything of significance. Incorporate the seven tips above into your working hours for at least four weeks, and you’ll surely see your productivity (and income) rocket.