Are you a procrastinator? A SUPER multi-tasker? Do you find yourself wondering where the time went? Does the day pass you by and you feel like you have not accomplished anything?
We have all been there at one time or another, so don’t be ashamed if you fall into this category. It’s a thing called “Life”! The key is to make sure that you don’t get stuck there. Take the steps to improve your daily functioning and habits. Here are 7 tips that will help you maximize your productivity.
Psst….Hey, can you keep a secret? Yes….there’s 4 Bonus tips at the end, but don’t tell anyone I told you! #chuckles
- Set Daily Goals
Setting daily goals allow you to focus on what you need to accomplish in the short term and helps you set a schedule. Carve out specific blocks of time, just as you would at work. Be sure to set meaningful goals to help encourage and motivate you to get them done. Remember to always set a deadline for your goals; this will motivate you even further to eliminate procrastination.
- Focus on Task Management
All too often you hear of people being focused on time management, but if you place your focus on task management, you will find that you have better management over your time and your productivity level drastically increases. We all know that a myriad of tasks pop up through the day and your list grows longer and longer. To manage these tasks, do a quick evaluation and if it will take you two minutes or less to complete – DO IT! If it takes longer, add it to your list.
- The Power of HIIP [High Intensity Interval Productivity]
Sometimes, it is best to work in short bursts. Identify your most productive times of the day and use this time to accomplish your most difficult tasks. You will be more focused and detail oriented during these times. For me, it is late morning to mid-afternoon and late at night when my distractions are less. When is yours? Music gets me moving so I turn on my favorite jams and off to work I go using HIIP Levels. You will be amazed at how productive you will be.
- Eliminate the Time Violator [TV]
Turn off the TV. TV is a major distraction and time killer. Now, let’s be sensible. I am not saying to never watch television, just be sure to put a limit on it during non-business hours. Distractions are all around us. Use self-discipline and stay productive.
- Learn to say “NO”.
Saying no is not always easy to do, but when your productivity is being hindered or at risk of being interrupted…”NO” needs to become a habit! Learn and practice this habit without guilt. This may even mean saying “no” to yourself. Be diligent and stand strong. We cannot do everything, be everywhere, or help everybody. For your sanity and productivity…JUST SAY NO!
- Learn to Prioritize and Re-prioritize
You have set your daily goals. You’re focused. You’re working your HIIP Levels like a champ, then KABOOM! Task after task and issue after issue comes up. You’re interrupted and frustrated. Everything needs to get done! ARGH!!!!! Don’t panic. Prioritize and re-prioritize as you go. As much as we want to stick to a strict schedule, daily goals and to-do list, the reality is things come up. Things that we have no control over and that we cannot put off. Don’t let that put a damper on your productivity. Look at your entire list, old and new tasks, and prioritize them accordingly. Re-prioritize as the day goes on and things change. Remember Tip #2? If it takes 2 minutes or less, knock it out and keep it moving!
Periodically, make yourself unavailable. Turn off your communication devices. Use this time to breathe, meditate, and recuperate. We cannot always be at optimum levels of productivity. You must give yourself time to relax mentally. When we are overworked we lack enthusiasm and motivation. Choose a day or two to be disconnected; this is your “me-time”. Refuel. Do something that you enjoy for you!
- Ahhhhh……how sweet the “LIGHT”!!
Work near a window or outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Natural light is like an aphrodisiac. It is a “pick me upper”. Natural light appeals to the senses and empties a glass of euphoria to the soul. The brightness of the natural light and fresh air provides a burst of energy to your brain and productivity. Studies have shown that exposure to light not only improves sleep and vitality, but in turn, because you are revitalized and rejuvenated, also drastically improves productivity. To make sure you enjoy and soak up the sunlight, take short walks during your breaks or just step outside to soak up the energy of the day. Remember, you are only as good as your energy, so be sure to keep it high!
- Sign out of the Mega Time Violators: Resist the Time Thieves!
Television is not the only time thief. Sign out of FB, Twitter, Instagram and all other Social Media Platforms during your productivity hours. DVR your favorite shows.
- Throw out perfectionism: The 80/20 rule – RULES
We would all like to say that we do everything perfectly. In fact, many of us try, but how much time are you wasting. Nothing is ever truly perfect and no time is ever right for what we want to do. 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. Figure out where that 20% of highly productive activity and time comes from and focus on that. You’ll be happier and you will work smarter – not harder.
- Learn how to leverage multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking can be distracting; however, if you understand how to leverage it, you can indeed increase your productivity level. Multi-tasking should only be done when you are completing basic tasks like washing dishes or ironing clothes. This is the time very easily fit in time to listen to podcasts or recorded seminars.
- Always keep pad and pen handy
Ideas pop out of nowhere all the time, and so do unforeseen tasks. Don’t rely on your memory. That’s unnecessary pressure. Now, we are in the age of technology so don’t fret…no pad/paper or pen – then use your smart phone. Send a text to yourself, create a reminder, or write a note – and if you can’t type it – use your voice recognition so it can type it for you. Leave nothing for chance – write it down!
I hope these tips prove to be as valuable for you as they are for me!
– Dr. Lisa Y. Guerrant