Are you a productive person? Have you ever wondered what makes one more productive than another? Unlike what most people think, being productive is not just about one’s intelligence or capability.
Being productive is about practicing certain habits over others, to maximize your time.
Here are eight habits to boost and skyrocket your productivity!
Habit 1: Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant things
For everything that you are doing right now, ask yourself how important is it? Does this bring you dramatically closer to your dreams?
Does this create any real impact on your life in the long term? Or are there better ways to spend your time by doing more high-value tasks?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to all the questions, then keep at it, otherwise, it’s time to ditch it.
Many people tend to wrongly classify regular tasks as high-value tasks. A good tool to set them apart is the Time Management Matrix which classifies your daily activities into four different quadrants. Your most important tasks should fall under Quadrant 2, which is your quadrant of focus.
Habit 2: Allocate breaks strategically
Don’t think that being productive requires you to work non-stop like a robot.
On the contrary, whenever you feel unproductive, throw in a quick break. Walk away from the desk, go for a toilet break, get a drink from the pantry, and talk to a colleague about work. You’ll be more perked up when you return.
By “rest” means taking time off in any area of your life that concerns business, career, or studies. Taking time off will charge you up when you are ready to return to work.
While the number of hours spent on work may increase, the productivity level may decrease, which is known as the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Rest is important. No matter how much you want to work, there are areas of your life that require as much attention — such as love, family, and health. That’s why the wheel of life is made up of different segments, vs. one big segment.
Habit 3: Remove productivity pitstops (ie. distractions)
Productivity pitstops are things that limit your productivity. They can be caused by a slow computer, too many phone calls, junk mail, and social media.
Go about your daily routine and observe these time traps that may prevent you from getting things done, and how to remove it?
Adjust your environment by working at different places. The more productivity pitstops you find and remove, the more productive you’ll get.
Habit 4: Tap into your inspiration
Think about what inspires you in life. Is it connecting with people and helping them to grow? Is it being No.1 in your field and being recognized for your work? How can you achieve those and what are the factors that drive you?
One of the biggest inspirations is to see others living their best lives and achieving their highest potential.
Habit 5: Create barriers to entry
Nowadays we can reach out to anyone through text message, phone calls, e-mails or Social Media. At the same time, it has become a highly distracting place to live in. Every few minutes, there may be distractions coming in.
Unplug your phone, switch off your phone, clear your inbox, set personal rules where you only reply to emails after X days, especially when you’re working on an urgent project.
Habit 6: Optimize time pockets
Time pockets refer to gaps of time you have in between events, like waiting for people, commuting, walking from one place to another, etc.
Consider how these time pockets can be better utilized. Have some ready activities to do during these short gaps, such as listening to podcasts, reading books, planning, etc. You will be amazed at how much can be done within this short amount of time.
Habit 7: Set timelines
This is a fundamental productivity habit. By Parkinson’s Law, work expands to fill the time available for its completion. So, if you set a timeline of two weeks, you’ll take two weeks. If you set one week, you’ll take one week. Interestingly, if you set one hour, you can complete it by one hour if you truly want to.
So, set timelines with the intention of completing the work, hence paving the way for the job to be done within the time limit.
Habit 8: Automate everything possible
Today, technology has made it possible to create automation for many things we do, and use systems to get a lot of work done. Keep a record of all the things you do and see how you can automate them.
Here is a partial list of the things that you can automate
- Mail: Set up e-mail filters where all site requests and reader emails will automatically go into the ‘Reply later’ folder. That way, your job is to respond to these emails where needed, not to sort them.
- Scheduling: You can set recurring items you have to do daily, weekly or monthly, like paying the bills, or exercising (daily), so you don’t have to worry about them.
- Tweeting/Facebook: Automate the posting of your Social media every time it goes live.
- Payments: Whenever there is a sale of your product, the payment will automatically be sent to Paypal, followed by a download link and confirmation email to the buyer.
By continuously automating your to-do list and processes as much as possible, you can spend more time creating value for others, while reservinging your time for the absolutely important things.