If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.bruce lee
Do you relate with any of the following?
- You are short of time.
- You seem busy every day.
- Your work takes up a lot of time and you have no time to focus on your personal goals.
- You have so much to catch up on the work that you feel overwhelmed.
- You are constantly running behind on tasks.
I was in a similar situation a few years back; never able to get things done. I used to feel overwhelmed with work. I was behind on my personal goals. And all this affected quality of my life.
The good thing about realising these is that you can take corrective steps. And increasing productivity was on the top of my list. It was not an easy task to get things in order. It takes real effort. But once you have set up a solid foundation, rest becomes a cakewalk.
Here is how I increased my productivity 10 times over the past 4 years:
Productivity Tip #1: Get Your Priority Right – Your Most Important Task
Focus on being productive instead of busytim ferriss
Many of us are busy doing things that are not necessary in the first place. Productivity for me is getting things done with great quality in much less time than it takes an average person. It also means achieving significant results.
Towards that end, you must be able to define what your Most Important Tasks (MIT) is!!
This is a task which if done will solve a big problem in your work. For me personally, my MIT is to get at least one article published a day on my personal blog. In office, I have my MIT which is processing transactions.
So at the end of the month or a quarter or year, I can look back at what I have achieved. Everyone should have their own MIT – Most Important Task. When you have done this, you are ahead of 90% of the population because not many people have their MIT. They wander like everything is a priority.
If you do not already know your MIT, sit down with your notebook and write it down.
Productivity Tip #2: Have a To-Do List
Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.Dale Carnegie
I have developed a good habit over the past year. I write my tomorrow’s to-do list before going to sleep tonight. This way, I know exactly what are my MITs and what I have to get done tomorrow.
I maintain a simple handwritten to-do list. But you can download any of the to-do list apps.
Having a to-do list saves a lot of brain power which you can use it somewhere else. Don’t make it complicated. By having your to-do list, you have a clear path on what you have to for today. And when you know what you have to achieve today, automatically your productivity will be boosted. You do not need to think about what you have to get done. Just refer to the todo list.
Productivity Tip #3: Have a Sense of Urgency
Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.Franz Kafka
I learned this from my ex-CEO. He was a great achiever and worked through the ranks to be the CEO of a great organization.
As I was part of the ERM, I had several opportunities to discuss various matters related to work and strategy. On one occasion I asked him how he gets things done. He responded that when any task is on his table, he looks at it through a strategic lens and gets it off the table quickly to enable further actions.
He also said that for things to move in the new economy, we all need to have a sense of urgency. Gone are the days when you could leave the things pending on your table for weeks. The current marketplace demands quick actions to various tasks.
In my current organization, which is extremely customer-centric, we have adopted Artificial Intelligence to give decisions to our customers in a near-instant manner. If we are not able to do this, there are companies that may be able to do that. To have a competitive edge these days, a sense of urgency is quite important. This results in a happy customer and a massive increase in productivity.
The more you inculcate this quality, higher the productivity. But keep in mind to have a good quality output with quantity.
Productivity Tip #4: Get a Good Keyboard
My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.Francine Jay
(This tip is for those who are regular at typing for work)
I can not stress the importance of this more.
I realised this after a long time. I am used to typing a lot at work as well as for my personal stuff. The quality of the keyboard is directly related to the level of your output. At least when you are typing.
I use a simple Logitech keyboard for my PC and Macbook Pro.
Having a clunky keyboards makes it very hard to get the typing speed fast. Also clean your keyboard every morning before you get to tying. You can use a larger paint brush to dust it or can use Magic Cleaning Putty.
Having a good keyboard significantly increases your typing speed and quality of typing.
Productivity Tip #5: Take Notes
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.Wayne Gretzky
One estimate suggests that humans see an average of 5000 ads per day. The information we receive through various media is numerous. Out of all these, our brains have to pick and choose what is good and eliminate the not so good.
This is a huge use of brain power!!
What if we had a second brain?
This is where the note taking comes into picture. Our brains can hold only so much information.
I am a big fan of writing my own notes in a notebook whenever I find something interesting. When I read a book, I take handwritten notes which I refer at a later stage. For the things I find online, I clip it to my Notion app. I have also used Evernote in the past. But I like Notion more these days.
I regularly have a brainstorming with myself and maintain all my thoughts, ideas in my app. I can easily refer to these notes, ideas whenever I need. In fact, idea for this article was born on 5th of August and I jotted all my points.
Using the apps as well as my notebook has helped me keep track of my progress and increase productivity.
Productivity Tip #6: Delegate when Possible
Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.Michael Jordan
When I started blogging, I used to do everything by myself. This meant the quality was not too good and also it took a lot of time to get certain things done. For example: Designing the blog involves a little bit of coding and some knowledge of the HTML coding which I do not have.
This affected my core offering which is the ‘content.’
When I realized that this was stopping me from my ultimate purpose of creating content, I gave up all the tasks which I was not too good at and hired someone who was better at it.
Like this, there are many times in your life that you are not too good at something. Delegate that part. Often times, we like to be ‘jack of all trades and master of none.’ My philosophy has changed. I would rather do that something which I am good at rather than spending time on things I am not too good at.
Delegating is an art. Get into the habit. Give someone who is better than you to do the tasks they are good at.
Productivity Tip #7: Declutter Your Workspace:
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.Walt Disney
If you saw my workspace a few years back you’d be surprised to see how I have transformed it. Unfortunately, I do not have the picture!
But here is my workspace these days at home:
Decluttering your workspace is a great tip to increase your productivity. When you have a cleaner space, you have less reason to get distracted.
Benefits of Decluttering:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Boosts creativity
- Less distraction
- Increases creativity
- And many other benefits
How to declutter?
- Audit your workspace
- See something that does not belong there?
- Remove everything that you feel does not belong there!
- That’s it.
Productivity Tip #8: Turn Off Notifications
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.Albert Einstein
This is one of the greatest productivity killers in my opinion.
Imagine you are in deep work and your phone buzzes with a notification from Facebook about you being tagged in a post which is of no relevance at all. We are used to being glued to our devices these days. Nothing wrong with that.
But once you are distracted from your deep work, it takes a lot of time to get into the zone again. I have disabled all the notifications on my phone from Whatsapp, Facebook, and all social media and news apps. The only notification I receive is the phone calls. I do not open and binge on Whatsapp or Facebook feed. If something is important, people usually call me or send an email. Most of my friends know this.
The distraction of notification will play havoc to your productivity. When I have disabled notifications, I have the best productive time. No distractions and complete attention to my productivity.
Do this and you will find your productivity rocket.
Productivity Tip #9: Limit Your Screen time
Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.Peter Drucker
When I audited my screen time a few months back, I was shocked:
I had spent almost 21 hours in the past 7 days on my mobile! That is ONE day almost. Besides this I also spend a lot of time on my laptop and desktop.
I know living without mobile and internet is next to impossible these days. You have to keep in touch with your family, friends and so on. Entertainment is important too.
But just give this a thought: What is the Opportunity Cost?
In the same time you spend on your device, what better could you have done?
- An online course
- Learn something new
- Watch a knowledgeable video on YouTube
- Create your business plan
- Brush up your CV
- Do physical exercise
- Discuss an idea with a friend
You have to realize that time lost is gone forever. You will not get it back. Ever. You can make the money again. But not time. When I realized this, I was taken aback. I quickly audited my time. I made a pact with myself that I will not let my precious time go away to waste. All the popular apps are made in such a way that you are glued to them. But you have will power. Get into a better habit.
Stoicism has a concept called Guard Your Time.
“People are frugal guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy”Seneca
Increasing productivity has multitude of benefits as already highlighted. You may be already using these methods or any other methods to increase productivity. If it helps others please share them through comments. I am a big advocate of productivity increase through meticulous planning and actions. Most important is to protect your time and look at opportunity costs involved in any task. Hope you have productive days ahead.
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