Having many things on your to-do list doesn’t always mean you’re getting anything done. Keeping yourself busy for many hours daily doesn’t mean you’re being efficient either. Truth is, you need systems – to find out what works best for you and do more of it, to do things slowly but with more attention, to build the right habits that will boost your productivity in the long term, and to be selective when it comes to dedicating time to projects.
But some people – especially hard-working entrepreneurs who have many things to do and little time – can’t even spare some time to do a research, find the right resources, brainstorm ideas on how to be more productive, or else.
And that often means they get stuck, don’t see progress, and are too stressed and overwhelmed.
But that can be fixed.
Here’s a quick and simple guide on what to do so that you can reclaim your time and freedom, do meaningful work, focus more easily, and be happy with the results.
1. Focus on one thing at a time
Our brain is programmed to perform well when the mind is focused on one activity. That’s the only way to pay our full attention to it and to get it done faster while doing our best.
So if you’re not as productive as you want to be, try this approach today.
2. Plan your day the night before
That’s another simple habit, but most people rarely consider it important. However, it can be the one thing you do that will make a big difference.
Set aside 5-10 minutes every evening to make your to-do list. Include all the things you need to get done tomorrow – from important and urgent tasks and meetings, to things to do at home and small errands to run.
This way you’ll get an idea of the big picture and will keep it in mind for the whole day tomorrow. Also, using such a list lets you enjoy crossing items off it, as after each completed task you feel accomplished.
What’s more, you’ll always know what’s left to be done for the day and will know how much time to dedicate to each and how to schedule your day.
3. Start small
Often the big projects we work on may seem so scary that we can avoid even starting. And without making the first step, we can’t get any further.
So why not make it super easy?
Break your big project or task down into achievable actions. Then break these down into even smaller things. In the end, you’ll have a list of all the steps you have to take in order to complete this, and each will be simple and will take no time.
You can easily start with the first one right away.
4. Eliminate distractions
Distractions are the enemy of focus. And – unfortunately – they are everywhere these days.
They may be in the form of people coming in the room/office all the time, others calling you, notifications coming in all the time, noises, thinking about the things you have to do later, and so on. All this prevents your mind from doing the only thing that matters in this moment – working on the current activity.
So do what you can to remove such distractions. Tell people not to bother you when you’re working, find an isolated place where you can focus easily, be ruthless with your most productive time of the day and don’t let anything distract you for a few hours.
5. Define your M.I.Ys
These are your most important tasks. And if you have set goals in life and want to get closer to them, these are usually the tasks connected to them.
So in order to increase productivity and see progress, you’ll have to prioritize. Put them before anything else, respect them and let them stay on the top of your to-do list.
6. Work on them first thing in the morning
Another important thing that goes together with the previous productivity tip is that the MITs must be done first.
So when you wake up, and have already listed all the tasks for the following day (and thus won’t waste any time deciding where to start), do the 1-3 most essential ones first.
You’ll feel great after that.
7. 80/20 your life
That’s the Pareto principle. And it states that only 20% of the things you do give you 80% of the results you get.
So it’s smart to identify these 20, and do more of that. While eliminating the rest.
All these are simple habits you can start developing and techniques you can start implementing that will improve your productivity and help you get more done in less time.
Choose one of the 7 items and give it a try today. Once it’s a permanent part of your working process and mindset, move onto the next. Such gradual change leads to permanent success after some time.
Article by Lidiya K.