How to be more productive

The modern world can be fast paced leaving most of us playing catch up, unless we can find ways to adjust so that we don;t fall behind. It can be frustrating when you are trying to jump from one task to the next and at the same time you want to be able to manage your work-life balance. We are all gifted with the same amount of time in our days and it’s how you use those hours that can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

In this short but hopefully helpful article, I will give you 10 steps you can implement today into your life to be more productive. Which I also hope will then free up more time to focus on being healthier and living a happier lifestyle.

1. Touch it once rule

The idea here is to touch a task once and move on. This rule dictates that you should start a task from start to finish rather than starting a task and leaving it for later. If you can implement this rule effectively and consistently you will be able to eliminate procrastination.

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2. Write down your plan

Always write down your plan. It doesn’t matter if it’s a piece of paper, notebook, calendar, or app. By writing down your tasks you will become more clear about what it is you have to do and will be more productive as a result. A top tip from me is to prioritise your tasks in order or importance on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. As you go through your list and get things ticked off it motivates you to get more done.

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3. Set small goals

Break down a larger goal down into smaller goals that can be tackled more easily in a more organised way. This will stop you from feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating on getting things done. It will also give you a boost of endorphins and energy as you get these smaller tasks done, motivating you further to keep your momentum going.

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4. Plan your days ahead

Before you end each work day, plan ahead for the following day. This should be the last thing you do at the end of a work day. By doing this it will allow you to prepare your mind ahead of time and allow you to feel more comfortable about what you have to do. If you get it right you will be able to manage your time better and be more productive.

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5. Avoid over committing

Nothing can diminish your productivity more than trying to take on more than you can handle. Taking on too much will leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. A recipe for being under productive. Try to find a balance in your day to day routine so that you have the time to do everything you need would like to get done. Avoid taking on work from others if there is no real need to.

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6. Stop trying to multitask

Multitasking may seem like a great way to boost your productivity but it can lead to the quality of your work going down. You can only really focus on one task at a time and by trying to do more than one task at a time you will find yourself wasting time as you go between tasks and try to find your starting point again and again. Of course sometimes you will have to do this but try to keep it to a minimum and complete your tasks fully before moving onto the next one.

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7. Get your most difficult task done early in the day

Get your most difficult task done at the start of your day. This will mean you can go about the rest of your day without worrying that you still have difficult tasks ahead of you. Stress and worry are the enemies of productivity so by getting the most difficult tasks done you can reduce the effects they have on you. Do the worst first!

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8. Determine when your most productive

Most people are most productive in the morning but this may not work for you. You are the expert on yourself and should know when you are at your most productive in the day. Use this as a blueprint to plan your days and your tasks so that you can get through them more effectively. Many self-made millionaires get up at 6am on a daily basis and get their exercise, meditations done so that they can launch into the day in a positive way. This isn’t to say you need to be up at 6am to be successful, but by having a more structured day you can definitely be more productive.

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9. Minimise interruptions

These days we live in a world surrounded by distractions. If you want to be more productive you need to keep these to a minimum. Depending on your work environment this can be as simple as closing your office door and putting a do not disturb sign on your door when you are working on an important task, or by putting your phone on flight mode as you keep your focus to the task at hand. Even better you could leave your phone in another room.

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10. Set time limits for yourself

By setting time limits on your tasks you will give yourself more accountability. One of the things I go through with my clients when I start working with them is SMART goals. You may have heard me discussing this in the past. The ‘T’ stands for time. By putting a definitive time on when you want a task to be completed you will be more motivated to get it completed, as long as you treat it seriously enough. One of the things I do is to set a time limit on my bigger tasks then break it into smaller chunks and prioritize what needs to be done to make it happen.

Once you start to feel more in control of your days and have a clearer vision of how they will go, you will feel more empowered to get things done instead of procrastinating. Remember that procrastinating will add more stress to your life as things build up and left incomplete. Get thing done but also don’t stress if from time to time you don’t get them done in the time you planned. There is nothing wrong with extending time limits if need be, as long as it doesn’t get to the point that nothing is getting done.

All of these tips can be applied to any area of your life. My hope is that you can have more structure in your day and free up more time to focus on your health and wellness. Unfortunately many people do not prioritise this aspect of their lives until they something happens and they have no choice but to. Don’t let that happen. Take control of your life today and make your dreams a reality.

Coach Andrew