Being productive is hard.
We have access to thousands of distractions thanks to the internet, and then there’s the stuff we have around us; kids, dogs, people mowing their lawns, the neighbors loud music… It’s an endless sea of distractions.
But there are tips that can help alleviate these problems, and they’re actually pretty easy to use.
You’re forcing productivity
Here’s the thing with productivity, it’s not something that you can just bulldog your way through. Well… you could do that, but you’d be burned out in no time doing so. And that’s the problem, you’re trying to force productivity when it just doesn’t work.
You don’t know effective productivity tips
If you’re the kind of person who forces productivity (unsuccessfully), then I’m betting you’re lacking in your productivity knowledge. You’ve got the right attitude though, you’re trying to be productive. But it’s going to take more than straight willpower to be productive.
5 tips for enhancing your productivity
If you want to really maximize your productivity, then you’re going to need these tips to do so. Just follow them, perhaps one tip at a time, and I promise your productivity will soar through the roof.
1. Create to-do lists with an emphasis on tiny actions
You probably already know that to-do lists are great for keeping you on top of things, but are you using them as effectively as you could?
Most people just scribble on tasks that are kind of vague, hoping that they’ll get to it later. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well. Here’s what I’m talking about:
* Buy groceries
* Plan vacation trip
* Do some writing
…and so on.
Do you see the problem? Those aren’t very actionable, you need to stop and think “what steps are needed to complete this?” Here’s a better looking to-do list:
* Buy milk, eggs, and juice
* Compare price and locations of 3 different hotels
* Pick the best hotel based on that research
* Write at least 200 words
That’s a much better looking to-do list. It’s clear, highly actionable, and since there’s no guesswork involved you’re much less likely to procrastinate on it.
2. Create a work-time ritual
Work-time rituals are important because they prepare the mind and body for work mode.
Without one, you rely on the “feeling” of wanting to work… Does that sound like feeling you have often? Probably not.
Routines take feelings out of the equation, and the more often you stick with a routine the easier it becomes to transition into work.
So it starts to feel less like a drag.
Here’s a couple quick tips for getting your routine started:
- Work in the same place at the same time
- Stick with small tasks at first, gradually adding more as the routine solidifies
- Use “triggers” to enhance routine engagement, for example:
* light a scented candle
* play a certain song
* have a piece of candy/gum before starting
…and so on. The idea is that they’ll help “trigger” your mind/body’s transition into work mode, make sense?
3. Use site-blockers
Sites that distract us are a constant threat to productivity.
You know that at any time you could press a few buttons and be in fun distraction land, and this knowledge slowly drains your willpower in the background.
And at the end of the day, it can really add up.
Luckily there’s a simple solution – all you need to do is Google “your browser” and “site blocker,” add one of the many tools available, and then it’s as simple as blacklisting those pesky sites so they’re no longer a problem.
4. Batch similar tasks
Batching similar tasks works because it lets you do multiple tasks under the same frame of mind.
For instance, you could batch all of your “social” tasks together like emails, voicemails, and social media together. The mindset for those is basically just “respond,” so you can easily do each one without breaking productivity.
But switching from email, to finances, to feeding the baby, and so on, requires a lot mental context switching (aka multitasking). This is a drain on your willpower and ruins productivity.
So whenever you can, combine like tasks with like tasks.
5. Take your breaks based on the difficulty of work
There’s a lot of tips out there that say when and how often to take breaks.
Some say a break every 50 minutes is best. Others say every hour is best. And others work for an hour and a half before taking a break.
But what do I think is best? Taking a break when the work gets tough, when you start to hit that “brick wall.”
Why? Because at that point your brain has had enough and it’s telling you it needs a break.
…And you should listen to it.
If you need a break after 10 minutes of intense or confusing work, then take it. If you don’t need one for 1.5 hours because the work is simple or routine, then take it later. Listen to your body and mind, and take breaks when it says to.
When you finally take a break, close your eyes and clear your mind. Once you feel revitalized, you can tackle your tasks with a fresh take on things.
By the way, don’t go more than two hours without a break. I’d say that’s the max you should go, no matter how good you’re feeling. If you can work that long with no problems, then set a timer to go off so you remember to take a break.
Over to you
Do you have any productivity tips you like to use? What are they? Leave a comment below with your answer because I’d love to hear them 🙂
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Author: Ericson Ay Mires
Ericson Ay Mires is a freelance writer that specializes in small-business blogging. He creates content that gets more traffic, social shares, authority, and leads for small-business blogs everywhere.