Learning how to maximize our productivity is an essential component of achieving better results. Productivity helps us work smarter, become more efficient and better enables us to produce our desired outcomes (whatever those outcomes may be).
Productivity isn’t only about cranking out more widgets or more work though… It’s also about using tools and resources to make wiser use of your time so that you can spend more of it (your time) on the things that matter most to you.
Unless you are some lazy couch potato with no drive, ambition or desire to control your time (instead of it controlling you) then mastering productivity is a must.
But let’s be honest… even those of us who are pretty productive fall into slumps. It’s easy to get a tad overwhelmed or start to spin wheels and let inefficiencies creep back in. We’re like cars that drift out of alignment and from time to time we need a Productivity Tune-up.
So, here are a few simple ways to Increase Your Productivity or simply get your productivity back on track:
1. Recognize The Problem – If you are in a slump or feel that you aren’t being as productive as you could, you need to first recognize it so that you can deal with it. Are you weighed down by being in reactive mode (responding to others) instead of creation mode (getting things done)? Is meeting overload zapping your ability to execute? Are you spending too much time on idol things… things that are keeping you busy but not yielding results? Are you letting yourself get easily distracted on random tasks instead of keeping your head down and completing what is of highest importance first? Make a list of the things you feel are draining you. Be honest, self-awareness is a big part of recognizing the problem since quite often we can tend to create our own blocks.
2. Track Your Time – Keep track of your time throughout the day. Use a notepad or something electronic like Toggl or any number of other time tracking tools to see where your time is being spent. Do this for a week and then analyze the results. You might be surprised where your time really goes. Once you know, then you can see where you might be able to adjust or purge what is a waste.
3. Map Out Your Goal – In order to create direction, first you need to know where you want to go. What is it that you would like to be more productive with? Do you want to execute better at work? Do you wish you had more time to complete certain projects? Do you want to have more free time to spend at home? Is there a special project or an idea you have wanted to pursue but THINK you don’t have the time? What is your goal? Write it down.
4. Be Willing – Honestly, productivity often boils down to hard work. It’s one thing to WANT it and something entirely different to do what it takes to GET it. If you want to write a book and need to be more productive with your time… perhaps one way is to not watch TV for a period of time and instead spend that time writing. That’s just one example…
5. Use the Tools – Tools are last on the list. Why? Because the tools only work if you have the right mindset / foundation to use them. If someone hands me a hammer but I don’t know what I want to do with it then the hammer is useless. But, when I know… then it’s an indispensable tool to help me get things done and increase my productivity.
6. Give yourself something nice to look at– It may sound unlikely, but some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements–like plants–can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Jazz up your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face.
7. Give up on the illusion of perfection – It’s common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It’s better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.
The tools are limitless depending on your need. If you are simply feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you need some help to lighten your load. If you’re drowning in email… there are tools and systems for that. If you are trying to be better organized electronically… there are tools for that too. Regardless of your need, Google can find you a solution and it’s just a search away.
Productivity is about results.
The real difference is in the doing.
Culled From Daniel Decker on perspective and productivity.