Past researchers have found that being productive can be achieved by focusing on aspects of a goal that have meaning to you, or by focusing on a larger goal that is significant to you and will motivate you to complete tasks.
We have some tips that will help you become more productive starting today!
- Plan Ahead
The stress of a busy work week is something we can all relate to. It’s especially hard to fall asleep on Sunday nights when you start thinking about all the things you have to do in the coming week.
However, if you set aside some time each day/week/month to plan ahead, you will feel more in control of your daily life. Planning ahead has many benefits, such as reducing anxiety about future events and freeing up more time in the present moment. Additionally, you will be less likely to miss important meetings or forget to send emails. Effective planning will help you stay accountable.
If you don’t have a clear plan for what you need to do in a given day, you’ll probably feel busy, but you won’t be productive. Try planning your days in advance, even the night before, and you’ll probably find that you can get more done in less time, and that your life feels more manageable and valuable.
- Set Realistic Goals
Many of us have goals that we want to achieve in our lives. Having goals helps us to stay focused and motivated. It can also be satisfying to achieve small milestones along the way to our overall goal.
In 1980 the largest survey ever undertaken regarding the link between goal setting and productivity was carried out by researchers at the University of Maryland. Locke et al described in the abstract for the article:
Challenging goals are more effective than easy goals, “do your best” goals, or no goals, according to a review of laboratory and field studies on the effect of setting goals when learning or performing a task.
The results in terms of the goal setting were outstanding and it went on to state:
There are four main ways that goals can affect someone’s performance: by directing their attention, making them more eager, helping them to keep going, and inspiring them to come up with new strategies.
We can learn that it is beneficial to set goals and work towards achieving them early in life from this text. It is never too late to begin working towards goals.
however, all of them contain the same basic concepts The best way to set goals is to use the SMART concept, which has a few variations, but all of them contain the same basic concepts.
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable
Your goals should always be;
- Clearly defined – therefore, rather than ‘learn a new skill at work’ it should be ‘learn how to conduct a business meeting online’
- Realistic – Set yourself goals that are achievable with resources that are available to you right now rather than ‘future planning’ these goals. For example, you cannot do something that you know will take you 3 years of full-time dedication and application in 2 years while holding down a full-time job and raising a family.
- Challenging – If the goal you set yourself is easy to achieve, it’s not a goal. You must see the goals as a challenge that needs your time and effort in order to be achieved. Start by setting a goal that might seem slightly beyond what you are capable of and that way you’ll be able to do more than you believe you can.
- Meaningful – The goals or goals you set need to provide you with a sense of achievement.
If you set goals, you will be more productive because you will focus on achieving them.
- Track and Limit
) Do you ever think about how much time you spend on tasks while at work, and how long each task takes to complete? You might be wasting a lot of time!
Although we may believe we are skilled at estimating the time spent on tasks, research suggests that only a small minority of people are able to do this accurately.
You can improve your time management by tracking your tasks and timing how long they take to complete. This will help you understand which tasks are taking up too much time, and whether you are using your time effectively.
Why is it beneficial to track your time at work? There are several reasons why tracking your time at work can be beneficial. First, it can help you identify where you are getting distracted. Second, it can help you spot things at work that repeatedly throw you off track, such as meetings, interruptions, or unplanned tasks. Third, tracking your time can also help you identify bottlenecks and workflows that may need to be automated instead of you spending hours on them.
If you’re not sure when you’re most productive, try using a time tracking system. This can help you figure out when you’re able to do your best work. Once you know this, you can plan your tasks around your energy levels. For example, save deep focus work for when you’re most productive, and do other tasks that don’t require as much energy at another time.
- Be Proactive, Not Reactive
The word reactive means that you do not have initiative and you let others make decisions while you are the one who gets things done.
The word proactive implies that you are always looking for new ways to improve things and that you don’t need anybody to tell you what to do because you are usually already ahead of them.
Being proactive is being proactive is the same as being reactive, except you plan your reaction in advance.
Set your priorities, respect your time and limit distractions To use your time more efficiently, you need to set your priorities and respect your time. Limiting distractions will also help you be more productive.
- Ask yourself what is likely to happen and make sure you have a way to deal with it before it happens.
- See the big picture and implement the necessary steps to take ahead of time.
- Be on top of your game and make sure your energy is too. Doing something you love helps with being proactive as you will genuinely want to be the best at what you do.
- Take Advantage of Commuting
The average American spends more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, regardless of how they get there.
We can’t deny that a lot of time is spent commuting. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2014, there were more than 139 million workers commuting. On average, they spend 26 minutes commuting to work each day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year.
In one year, Americans spend a combined 29.6 billion hours commuting. That’s the equivalent of 1.2 billion days, or 3.4 million years. Just think of all the things you could be doing with that time, instead of sitting on a train or being stuck in traffic.
Although your commute is unavoidable, you have the power to turn it into a productive time during the day. This doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook, but starting your working day early.
For example, you could;
- Plan your day – we previously mentioned how important this point is for your productivity so why not plan it out while you’re on your way to work?
- Answer emails – get your day started by answering all those emails that take up time first thing in the morning. By the time you get to the office, you’ll be able to start your tasks with a clean inbox…pretty great right?
- Self-learning – why not spend time fuelling your career? Listen to a relevant podcast or catch up on the latest news in your field. You’ll educate yourself and get your brain going early.
You can increase your productivity during your commute by listening to educational audio content, planning your day, or meditating. You will also start your workday feeling accomplished.
- Do the Hardest Thing First
io One tip that I have always loved for productivity is “eat the frog” which means to tackle the most challenging task or the task that you like the least first thing in the day.
When you come in the morning, CEO John Furneaux of Hive suggests that you start with your least pleasant task on your to-do list.
The best time to do your most difficult task is early in the day when you have the most energy and the fewest distractions. This will help you focus and get it done more easily. It also sets a positive tone for the day, since you’ve already accomplished something tough. To help stick to this routine, turn off all distractions like checking email, your phone, or social media until the hardest task is done.
- Review Your Week Every Friday
Scott Farquhar, Co-CEO at Atlassian, recommends reviewing your diary at the end of each week. He suggests printing it out and taking a close look at how you’ve spent your time. Doing this regularly will help you transform the way you use your time.
Some people go to bed at night with their minds racing, stress about what they have to do the next day preventing them from processing what they did that day.
Elaborating on his productivity quote, Farquhar says he sets aside a block of time each week to sit down and go over the previous week so he can answer three crucial questions:
- Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve?
- Did I personally need to be there for everything I attended?
- Could I have achieved the same in a shorter timeframe?
This is a powerful way to figure out if you are managing your time wisely.
- Start With Just 5 Minutes
If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself that you will only do it for five minutes. Chances are, after five minutes you will end up doing the whole thing.
Procrastination is the opposite of productivity, but we have all been guilty of it at some point.
Systrom says the best way to beat procrastination is to commit to doing just five minutes of whatever you’re putting off. By the end of five minutes, you’ll find yourself sitting and doing the entire thing.
The following text is a perfect example of how starting is the hardest part, and how taking action is the most important thing. You will find that getting things out of the way will actually increase your productivity because you’re not allowing dishes to pile up in the sink. You’re instantly washing your hands of them.
- Get Enough Sleep
In a survey conducted by William A. Anthony, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of Boston University’s Center for Psychological Rehabilitation, it was revealed that 70% of Americans admit to falling asleep on the job. The reason for this, as stated by the Americans surveyed, is that they simply feel the need to due to early-morning commutes, long working hours, and too many responsibilities at home meaning that they aren’t getting enough sleep.
We are all aware of the negative effects that not getting enough sleep has on all areas of our lives. However, in the workplace, the lack of sleep has an even greater impact. The prefrontal cortex is impacted by lack of sleep and will impair us when trying to complete such tasks. The prefrontal cortex helps us with tasks that require logical reasoning and complex thought.
Since it is crucial that we remain productive, it is important to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure you finish everything on your to-do list during the day so you can go to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep.
- Set Boundaries
To do my job well, I prefer to focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to do several things at once. If you’re not clear about what you’re willing to do and what your time limitations are, people will try to take advantage of you. So it’s important to be aware of your own boundaries and how to communicate them to others.
Karen Edgar tries to avoid pointless interruptions and diversions by being clear about her expectations from the beginning. Does she want her co-workers to leave her alone for specific periods of time? Is there a time of day when it’s okay for them to ask her questions? If she communicates her boundaries effectively, it will help everyone understand her better, give her back some control over her schedule, and make her more productive overall.
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