Imagine achieving every goal you set yourself each morning and finishing the day with a self-satisfied smile, knowing you have done everything you needed and wanted to. Some people swear by productivity tools, others by to do lists and prioritization. Below we take a look at the best ways to improve your productivity in life and work.
Tips for improving your productivity
In the absence of being able to add an extra hour or two to our days, making the most of our time means either working harder and longer or smarter. Given that lack of sleep is responsible for lost productivity and costs the United States around $411 billion a year, working smarter is the far better option. Working smarter means utilizing productivity tools well and making a few changes to our daily routine.
1. Mono-tasking: First and foremost, ditch the multi-tasking. Although you might feel like you’re getting more done, you’re not. Our brains aren’t designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Research has shown that so-called multi-tasking is more ‘mental juggling’ and actually decreases productivity. Instead, focus on one thing at a time; you’ll complete it faster and at a higher quality than if you are trying to do more than one thing at a time.
2. Each minute is precious: Make the most of your day by rising early and using your commute time well. Instead of scrolling through your social feed while your train hurtles you toward the office, get ahead on emails, organize your to-do list for the day, or run-through a daily meditation or mindfulness practice. Meditation and mindfulness calms your inner chatter and improves memory which supports better focus and clarity of thought. It also reduces stress and improves emotional control which can aid logical decision making and help us to remain calm.
Having a regular wake and sleep time helps your body to make the most of sleep – when it repairs itself from the day you’ve had and prepares for the day to come – thus boosting productivity in your wakeful hours. Rising early has also been shown to improve people’s productivity. Early rising is linked to higher conscientiousness, greater happiness and being more proactive.
3. Make a list and prioritize tasks: Having a list of things that need accomplishing each day helps you to maintain focus. It will also provide a sense of achievement as you tick things off which can help with motivation levels. For a productivity-boosting to do list, try prioritizing tasks and working on difficult or harder to accomplish tasks at the time of day when you have greater focus.
4. Take care of yourself: To improve productivity and maintain a higher level of efficiency, we need to take care of ourselves. This means taking breaks throughout the day so we can focus on the tasks we need to do, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep each night. Nothing kills productivity faster that a foggy brain from lack of sleep or a sluggish body that is relying on caffeine and sugar boosts to get it through the day! Take care of yourself so that your mind remains sharp and your body can keep up with everything you have planned.
If you feel the need to boost your productivity, refrain from putting in more hours at your desk. Instead, take a step back and analyze the way you spend your time. A few simple adjustments so you’re working smarter may well be the answer you were looking for and yield the productivity boost you yearned for without compromising your work life balance.
Contributed by Amanda Lasater