10 Ways to Increase Your Productivity

productivity
Image by smemon87 via Flickr

Who doesn’t want to be more productive? I’ve realized with only 25 hours per week to work, productivity is a priority. It’s essential to create as much income in as little working time as possible. 

1. Don’t Roll in Your Own Filth.

Clean up your workspace. Physical clutter really does promote mental clutter. Clear off your desk, and surrounding area. Even a cluttered computer can make you feel overwhelmed. Clean up your email inbox and virtual desktop too.

2. Get Moving!

Energy feeds energy. If you are tired each morning at work, try going for a brisk morning walk before you step in the office. LiveScience.com has an article that is called ”How Your Inner Athlete Makes You Smarter” It says that people who exercise regularly are able to learn more, remember more, and think more clearly.

3. Map Your Time.

Create a time map. This consists of breaking your day into hour increments and deciding ahead of time what you are going to do and when. For example, Monday morning from 9:00am until 10:00am is dedicated to replying to email. You don’t need a time map for every minute of the day, but schedule large chunks of your time so you can really concentrate your efforts.

4. Write it down.

Our brains tend to pop up with things to do randomly. Start to write them down. The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen explains you should write down every thought you have about a To Do item on a piece of paper that you carry with you. Then you can transfer all of the things you need to do into your list, and the thoughts won’t linger in your head. (The brain tends to try to keep reminding you about tasks, even if you know you are going to do it on Thursday at 9am!)

5. Eat that Frog!

In the book “Eat that Frog”, Brian Tracy explains how doing the hardest task first is the best method for productivity. He explains that the boost you get from completing your hardest task at the beginning of the day will propel you faster than doing any other task first. Go through each task one at a time, and complete it without any distractions.

6. Before You Start.. Plan.

Planning is one of the best uses of your time. Take time the night before to go through the to do list for the next day. What are the 6 most important tasks you need to accomplish? Prioritize these items, and have a plan on when you will complete them.

7. Create a System for New Tasks.

If something new pops up on your radar after you already have your whole day planned, don’t automatically rearrange your schedule and do it right now. Determine if it is important (even if it sounds urgent it might not be important!) and schedule it in your day based on that scale.

8. Learn to Say No.

During the day we are asked to do so many things. Most of the time we do not want to do them! The next time someone asks you to do something, ask yourself “Is this an absolute yes?”. If no, then say, “No thanks.” If that sounds too harsh to you, just explain that you are in the middle of something and need to check your schedule first and get back to them. Then you can put it in your plan if it’s important.

9. Remove Distractions.

It is much easier to check email than it is to ‘Eat Your Frog’. So remove all of your common distractions. Do you always want a snack to avoid work? Do you check your email, or social networking sites? Get yourself a snack before you start, and try disabling your internet connection.

10. Time your Tasks.

Knowing how many hours you spend checking your email can be eye opening. Use a timer to see how productive you are being. Try RescueTime.com which keeps tabs on how long you are in a particular program. It will show you how long you are on specific websites, or email. Another great technique is the Pomadoro Technique, which is setting up 25 minute increments to work then taking a 5 minute break.

I admit, I don’t always do all of these, every time. But even using them 70% of the time promotes progress!

What ways do you boost productivity?

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10 Responses to “10 Ways to Increase Your Productivity”

  1. Forest

    We have had a visitor for 3 months now here in cairo and my partner is in the last weeks of uni before summer break…. needless to say my productivity has been shot as I have been playing tour guide, errand boy, house maid and everything else…. I can’t wait for it to all go away so I can get back to plans and schedules!
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Does A Minimalist Lifestyle Breed Laziness? =-.

  2. Jaime

    That always throws a HUGE wrench into things. The longest we’ve had a visitor was one month, and I couldn’t believe what it took to get back into a routine.

    Great post on minimalism by the way :)

  3. Forest

    Thanks, I took a devil’s advocate approach…. Really I love the idea of owning nothing and having no stress to spend more time doing the important things in life.

    I have so much to do before the schedule can be nailed…. cleaning the house, restocking the cupboards, planning the summer, catching up on accounts…. endless :)
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Does A Minimalist Lifestyle Breed Laziness? =-.

  4. Jaime

    I thought about this great article when I read yours:
    http://sivers.org/freedom
    What do you do when you have everything you wanted? I haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s a great question.

    Good luck checking things off your to do list! :)

  5. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

    Tackling the biggest thing first really does work for me. So does making lists or notes of what I need to do. Those two things are the only reason I make it through everything every day.

  6. Jaime

    Yes, me too! The book Getting Things Done by David Allen was a great one to figure out what I need to do when.
    (I just found the website rememberthemilk.com and have put all of my lists on there- so far it’s been great!)

  7. Debbie

    If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. The first thing I do every morning when I get to work is continue my to do list. As each page of my to do list are accomplished, I date them & then file them away. That way if my boss asks if I did something, I can confidently say yes on X date.

    • Jaime

      That’s a great idea. I tell so many clients to start the day with a list. It’s too hard to know in the moment what is a good idea to work on. Plus you can start to feel overwhelmed!

      I bet saving those lists have helped on more than one occasion. You must be a great employee to have on board.