Whether you want to be more productive at work, at home, or in general, there are several ways to increase your productivity so that you can get more done, work less hard, and achieve better results. Here are the Top Three Ways to Be More Productive!
- Plan, Plan, Plan!
Many productive people have in common their ability to strategically plan their days, assignments, and life, generally. Planning is such an important tool to become more productive because it forces you to find time in your schedule to complete the task, whatever it is, holds you accountable as you work through your tasks, and helps prevent you from overexerting yourself. Before starting any project, take some time to plan it out from start to finish. Even if planning isn’t usually a part of your process, it is easy to learn how to incorporate it into every project you do. Here are some ways to start.
Make a list. Write down your project’s goal, when it is due, and everything you need to do to make it happen. By writing this all down, you can take a realistic look at the task at hand so that you can manage your time, work efficiently, and stay on task.
Good planning is not just about planning the specific project, but it is also about taking inventory of other projects, events, and commitments you have going on in your life. Time spent working on one thing means less time to do something else, so effective planning helps you find a balance to complete everything you need to do in a manageable way. Keep track of important deadlines and dates on a calendar or in a planner. If you have multiple competing deadlines, spend some time prioritizing what must be completed first and thinking about how to make the most of your time.
Finally, planning can help you turn tasks into habits. If you are planning a home cleaning project, by planning ahead and scheduling the project to occur regularly, you can start working towards the habit of keeping a clean home and minimize the time and effort it takes to clean your space.
- Take Lots of Breaks
It might seem counterintuitive to take breaks to be more productive. However, taking breaks is one of the best things you can do to help you stay motivated and complete whatever you are working on. By taking breaks, you minimize the risk of burnout. If you have ever worked on a project without taking a break, there probably came a time where you felt like a car with its wheels spinning in the mud--expending so much energy and effort but not going anywhere. By taking breaks, you are less likely to hit walls, and even if you do, you have a way to overcome them.
To take a break to be more productive, take some away from your project to stretch, relax, or take a walk. Some people suggest breaking every hour into periods of productivity and breaks. For example, you can take a 10-minute break every hour (although many suggest the sweet spot for periods longer than an hour is 52 minutes on, 17 minutes off). By stepping away for a few moments, you can return to whatever you are working on feeling refreshed and ready to keep working. Whenever you are working on a project, make sure you are eating and drinking so that you are not left fatigued in a way that will interfere with your productivity or be harmful to your health.
- Make It Manageable
You can increase your productivity by breaking your larger task into smaller, easily achievable tasks. There are several reasons why this is effective. First, making your project manageable will help keep you motivated. Every time you complete a smaller task, you can cross it off your list, briefly reward yourself for your hard work, and ride that excitement into your next tasks. By breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, you can also help yourself set realistic goals and prevent yourself from biting off more than you can chew. This will also help you realistically assess what point in the project you can break for the day because you will have a clear vision of what still needs to be finished and how much longer you have to finish it. Finally, by breaking your project into tasks in this way, you can easily return to your vision if you ever find yourself getting lost in the details.
Even when following these tips, you will have days of very high productivity and days of less ideal productivity. Be gentle with yourself and remember that simply by taking steps to become more productive, you are investing in yourself, in the quality of your work, and in your success.