32 Ways To Increase Your Productivity (That Actually Work)
You’re probably wondering:
“How to be more productive?”
Well, consider yourself very lucky…
All of us usually lack motivation to work hard. The usual reason why we are not successful in our job is ourselves, simply because we don’t want to do it. As a result, our efficiency and productivity are reduced.
Today I want to share with you my 32 ways to increase your productivity.
I hope that some of these techniques can help you to get the best results in the shortest time possible.
I will also consider other ways to improve your effectiveness and give you some examples.
1. Just get started. 17. Stop wasting time.
2. Stay positive.
4. Surround yourself with the right people.
5. You need an inspiration.
6. Start with small wins.
7. Hard work pays off.
8. Learn to say No!
9. Control your fear of failure.
10. Parkinson’s Law.
11. Understand Pareto Principle.
12. Say “No” to multitasking.
13. Forget about big lists of tasks
14. Pomodoro Technique.
15. Do less, get more result. What ?!
16. Start habits that will help you.
18. Prepare for tomorrow.
19. Make your workspace comfortable.
20. Turn Off Alerts.
21. Remove unnecessary information.
22. Use Productivity Tools.
23. Have 30-Minute Meetings.
24. Music Boosts Productivity. Fact.
25. Don’t sit in one place.
26. Don’t force yourself too often.
27. Exercises in the Morning.
28. Eat Breakfast!
29. Drink Water.
30. Give Yourself a Break.
32. Eat healthy food.
1. Just get started.
17. Stop wasting time.
The title speaks for itself, and this is the first and most important tip.
Want to start working? Start it immediately.
Remember the great Nike slogan – “Just do it!”. So, do it.
Also, folk wisdom says that the path from 1000 miles begins with one step. Just start to do something and you will not have time to look back. That will you get involved in the process.
You are relating to the task just as you think about it. Learn to love what you do. Whenever you catch yourself in negative thoughts, try to replace them with positive ones.
Do everything in your power to make the events in your life positive. Do not build unnecessary illusions or wear rose-colored glasses, but treat yourself constructively, because we create our own history.
«Self-evaluation is the beginning, middle and end»
— Says Bruce Tulgan, author «The 27 Challenges Managers Face».
Tulgan advises us to always assess our own productivity, work quality and behavior. We must ask ourselves: “What can I do to finish the work faster?”, “How can I rule out the loss of time?”, “Should I plan better?”.
But remember, self-evaluation leads to improvement only if you use the information received. Self-management and self-improvement come in small steps. This is an ongoing process because there is always something to improve.
The people that surround us have a very strong impact on our lives. Communicate with those people who will motivate you, and not vice versa.
Work with them and learn from their experience.
Make sure that you communicate with people who have found success, and who are thankful and positive. Just being in their company will have a really good effect on you.
And please, limit the time you spend with negative people.
Like anyone, we need people to look up to.
So why not make profit of them?
Find and watch inspirational films, books, subscribe to people who inspire you on YouTube or Instagram, etc.
Just find a someone who will inspire you.
After that, you will feel an emotional rise, and you will be in a good mood, you may even want to do something useful.
For me, It’s Elon Musk.
On the way to a big goal in business, sport or another sphere of life, there will always be small victories and results.
Keep track of these and reward yourself.
It is difficult to find motivation for continuously working on a project for four months or preparing for a competition for year. But if you reward yourself for little steps and victories, the reward will become easier and the mood will be different.
Just think about this.
Actions motivate you for even greater action. Make one small move towards your dream.
Just a little thing.
Then another couple of such small actions, and you will notice that your attitude has changed. Events have started to push you to the dream, it’s like Signs from the universe. As with one wingspan of a butterfly, a hurricane may start, and from one movement a chain of events takes place leading you to success.
The first step begins a journey of a thousand miles.
Sometimes, saying “no” to something, you leave yourself the freedom to say “yes” to something better. If I choose a job, then I am far from the family. When I’m with my family, I do not work. Always say “yes” to things that make you a better person.
A person has a desire to please others and avoid conflicts.
But here’s what I tell you: you can either do your work at the world level or attracting everyone – you will not be able to combine the two.
The essence of high productivity and outstanding craftsmanship assumes that you need to fully concentrate on the task. So, you quite often have to ignore requests to respond to letters, disconnect the mobile phone and reject a bunch of social obligations that only distract from your work.
Of course, people will be angry with you for this. But the full implementation of own talents and skills is much more important than human disapproval. Moreover, it is necessary for you to better your own skills.
For your motivation, make mistakes and have failures. Say that now you can step on the rake and make mistakes.
There are no bad results because any result can be considered positive. After all, you tried and learned something. You have gained experience, and this is the most valuable. Many are so afraid of making a mistake and failing to cope that they do not even want to start.
Can you really motivate yourself if you always fear failure?
It is better to live with a plan than without it.
Parkinson’s first law is “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This means that if you, for example, have decided that you will write a report for the week, you will write it all week.
Especially Parkinson’s law applies to cases that we do not like and which we have no desire to do. Many of us tend to stretch tasks as much as possible. But if you make each task in a rigid framework, this will allow you to deal with cases much more effectively. When you have deadlines, you try to do everything on time, so this is a great motivation.
In general, this principle is formulated as follows: 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of efforts – only 20% of the result. Principle 20/80 applies in almost all spheres of life.
For example, according to this, 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes.
If you know how to use the Pareto principle properly, it will help you not only in your professional, but also in your personal life. This is a small easy trick that will help to predict the result.
Think about which of these people will come to your rescue in a difficult situation. Probably, there will be few of them, just something around that of 20%. It is worth taking care of this and trying to keep in touch with this 20%, instead of wasting time on virtual friends.
How does it work?
According to the Pareto principle, you should do all the unimportant tasks when your productivity is low.
Another example, many people, as soon as they came in the morning to work, can’t immediately join the workflow. They need to communicate with colleagues, drink a cup of coffee or do something else that will help them tune into a working mood.
Only, in this case, they can work productively. It is important to prioritize work tasks.Try to perform important tasks exactly at the time of day when your performance will be at a high level.
Multitasking does not make us more productive, it’s a myth. In fact, when we concentrate on many tasks at the same time, this has a negative impact on our productivity and concentration.
But you will say “I have so many things to do”.
So what? Distribute it.
It is possible to effectively perform several tasks at the same time only in certain special cases. For example, when you do something automatically.
If you want to perform the tasks more efficiently, better focus on one thing, complete it from beginning to end and only then move on to the others.
Don’t underestimate the power of Focus on Productivity
To focus on something is to give it all your attention. It’s a powerful technique that can boost your productivity, performance and achievement levels. So, if you want to achieve your goals and be more productive, then discover the power of focus and how to use it to your advantage.
One thing successful people have in common is their ability to focus. They don’t multi-task but instead they single-task. Working on one task at a time until it’s complete. Not just any task though, with a particular goal or objective in mind they work through the steps toward achieving it; one at a time. They also tend to concentrate on those tasks that are essential and relevant to their goals and objectives instead of minor incidental ones. If you’re running a business, then you can always delegate or outsource these minor tasks leaving yourself to focus on the major ones. When creating your list of tasks, prioritize them so that you can identify the major and minor tasks.
Using focus increases productivity as it gives you the ability to utilize the power of the flow state. This powerful productivity technique comes into force when you are engaged in an interesting, stimulating task that requires you to be challenged to use the skills and knowledge you have, as well as to learn new ones. While you’re engaged in the task you’ll feel energized and may well lose all sense of time, so it’s important to monitor your time. The flow state will also increase your level of happiness. Without focus you won’t achieve a state of flow.
Focus is a powerful tool. Often overlooked by those who feel that multi-tasking is more efficient, it is in actuality, something that should be learned and used on a regular basis. By using its power, you can increase productivity, achieve goals and attain peak performance.
Many people make a list of cases, that allows you to make the workflow more organized. Of course, in the 21st century, we have already moved away from writing notes on paper. We’ve smartphones and laptops for that.
What’s the bottom line?
I suggest you follow one simple rule: before the start of the workday, spend five minutes to write down the three most important tasks of the day. And then concentrate all your efforts on doing this short list.
This is a wonderful alternative to those infinitely long lists of tasks that we usually like to compose. After all, It is not enough for a week, not to mention one day. Focus on these three main tasks, and if you have time to take care them ahead of time, then you can start doing something else.
This simple but effective habit can really improve your productivity.
Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo. It is called a Pomodoro because the author used a kitchen timer as a tomato to measure time.
The basis of the methodology is the principle: work 25 minutes over a specific task without a break, but after that, make sure to take a break.
How does it work.
1. Look at your task list and select the highest priority from it.
2. Then set the timer for 25 minutes and start to work, fully concentration until you hear the timer signal. Each 25-minute period of time is called a “tomato”.
3. Then, take a five-minute break and turn on the timer again.
4. After four “tomatoes” (every two hours), take a long break in 15-20 minutes.
5. If your task takes more than five “tomatoes”, it can be divided into several parts.
This technique helps to work on higher priorities, improves attention and helps to concentrate better.
The philosophy of “Do Less” is very popular in modern realities. For example, Greg McKeown wrote the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less“.
He refutes that workloads make employees lazy and negative impact on their performance. When we perform a smaller number of tasks, we can enjoy our achievements.
How can you actually use this?
Greg McKeown recommends finding a few minutes during the working day to meditate. It helps you to breathe properly, get rid of stress, you can better concentrate on the task.
First of all, do important tasks, and then go to the low-priority. Don’t overload yourself with a big list of tasks: it is better to do less, but with quality and with pleasure, the more, but without enthusiasm.
Usually in the mornings, when I do not know what to do first, I understand that I’m wasting time.
To solve this problem, get some daily habit that will adjust the brain and body to the working mode.
It should be something simple, such as a trip to work or a coffee on the way to the office. Usually, I pour myself coffee and check my favorite sites. As soon as I finish my coffee, I have an internal signal that it’s time to work.
There are other ways to commit ourselves to work: turn off the phone, do a warm-up or have breakfast. You can even create a special playlist that will play and create the right mood.
These methods also can be used on weekends. Surely on the weekend, you will want to give up everyday habits, but many continue to follow them.
Remember that the more you relax and forget about everyday habits, the harder it will be to return to them at the beginning of the week.
Do not assume that the execution of everyday affairs is a sign of a dull person who lives in the same regime. Habits are a sign of people who set their goals and found the best way to achieve them.
The first step to productivity is to start to notice the moments when you are wasting your time.
Watch how you spend your workday, and look for patterns. Perhaps you spend time on social media too much. Or you make a two-minute working conversation to ten-minute chatter.
When you notice that it takes you too much time and leads to procrastination, you need to adjust it to your habits.
I used to spend a lot of time in the morning checking out my favorite sites. Now I have written this lesson in everyday habit as I have already said, I look through my favorite resources while I drink coffee, and when I finish it I start to work.
Yes, there is nothing new in this advice.
Actually, all articles on productivity recommend planning your day in advance.
Only a few people really know the art of time management and they have great control over their lives. Do not you feel a surge of strength and confidence when you know your plans in advance?
Remove from the workplace all unnecessary items.
Mess in the workplace can adversely affect your concentration and focus.
Get rid of the mess around yourself, and you will feel more organized. It is much easier to concentrate on current tasks.
Disabling notifications on your computer and phone greatly increases productivity.
If you need to finish the work immediately, disconnect any digital devices that might be distracting you. After that, look around the room and think which device you could still forget to turn off.
For example, I use my Apple Watch, which I configured to receive only the most important notifications.
Nowadays it is as easy to overload your brain with information as it is to get a heat stroke in the Sahara desert. And even the symptoms are similar: sleep disturbance distracted attention and delayed reaction. Our brain is overloaded with information noise. In the modern world, people are constantly looking for news, although its everywhere around us.
In this case, Timothy Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich“, advises people to “being on an information diet”.
Fantastic book, read it with pleasure.
Think, are these emails, blogs, videos that you are viewing really important to you? Do you really need to spend so much time on social networks and TV?
Try to receive as little as possible completely unnecessary information for you at least for a week and see how this will affect your productivity.
In order not to distract yourself to sites, I recommend that you use tools that allow you to block resources for a certain time.
For example, I use SelfControl.
Once you set a limit, for example for an hour, after that, there was no going back: the service will not allow you to enter the social networks or the news portals. At first, you will feel strung out, but then you will like it.
There are also many excellent utilities that will boost your productivity. Try list of 30 Best Productivity Apps Ever Created by Process.st.
Also, we were interested in, which productivity tools using Laura Stack. And she said that:
I type using a text replacement utility that spits out strings of words, phrases, and paragraphs called www.shortkeys.com, which I estimate saves me 15 minutes a day.
For example, I can type my street name simply by hitting the number sign twice ## and then “st” and it it replaces that text with my street number and name.
Have you ever noticed that your meetings take too long?
I’m sure you thought about it and remembered when the meeting lasted painfully long. You could use this time with advantage.
Make a rule for yourself “meeting no more than 30 minutes.” This is more than enough to find out all that you need about the person with whom you meet, prepare and write a plan for further work, discuss everything you need.
As a rule, you delay meetings and spend your time on talk about nothing.
Read more about the study Harvard Business Review quite a fascinating experiment.
The music service Spotify conducted a study of the influence of different types of music to person. Its authors have found out that a musical tempo within 50-80 beats per minute can help the brain to reach the alpha state, and then the person feels calm, focused and able to concentrate.
As for music, I follow this rule: when I need to do routine work, I choose rhythmic compositions. It’s really helps me to concentrate on my task.
Have you ever worked at home? Did you notice that you could do more than usual?
The reason of increased productivity is simple: you were not attached to one place, freely moved around the house – from the desktop to the sofa, from the sofa to the kitchen, thereby giving freedom to the body and thoughts.
Use this lifehack at work.
If your office does not prohibit a free seating, try to start each new task in a new location: in the meeting room, in the kitchen etc.
People like to take on too much work and overestimate their strength.
You will not believe, but the best way to concentrate is to take a break. Our brain is able to concentrate only for a certain time, then it is already turned off. That’s why by the evening of Friday we already have lost the desire to work.
Everyone has their own limit. Every few hours, take a short break for 10-20 minutes or use Pomodoro Technique. Your boss may think that you are a lazy person, but soon he will understand that you stay cheerful longer.
Spend time on breaks. Believe me, your chances of success will increase if you have a good rest, so have fun as actively as you work. It does not matter whether you communicate with friends or with strangers – the main thing is to find time for a good mood.
We asked Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten TNW founder & CEO about his own productivity tips, and there is one of these:
Sometimes I’m at work and realize I’m doing work, but I’m too tired or uninspired to really do useful stuff, so I do ‘fake’ work: read emails without replying, move around todo items on your list, open and close documents without doing anything, all stuff that seems like work, but if you’re honest to yourself isn’t really effective. That’s when I stop what I’m doing and then I think about what the one thing is that would make me happy and energized, and I give myself permission to do that. I might go for a walk, or chat to a co-worker, or read a book, or just sit in a corner and do nothing. If you can’t get shit done, stop trying and work on something that will get your energy level up to where it needs to be.
To many, it seems obvious, however, productive people begin their day with physical exercises. The fact is that even a small exercises will help wake up your brain, which means that the mind will stay clear for as long as possible.
This will help keep the body in the right shape, which means that the mind and spirit will also work more effectively. And you will feel much better. Exercises do not require any special simulators, except one, the most important – willpower.
The advice seems strange, but it is very important for good productivity.
Often people who are immersed in work even forget to have breakfast. At the same time, energy is wasted, and it needs to be replenished with something. Have breakfast and do not forget about healthy snacks, fill up the spent power.
We quickly get tired if there is not enough water in the body. Therefore, the more we drink, the more cheerful we feel and the better we can concentrate.
The bottom line?
First, the sips of cold water will cheer up the body not worse than an ice shower. Secondly, water will help to satisfy hunger, because we often mistake it for thirst. Thirdly, drinking water is just useful. Fourth, fill the glass with water and slowly drink it, looking out the window at the people walking along the street is also a kind of meditation that will relax a bit and distract from the bustle.
Bonus: add a little lemon juice to the water. This will cheer you up even more.
Remember that there is time to rest, but there is time to work. Draw the line between the two.
Stop doing things as soon as you feel that you need to rest.
The abundance of work, as you know, leads to stress and body overload. Therefore, you need to give yourself time to rest, both during the day and throughout the year. Your strength will be restored, and every day will be productive.
Rest is the basis of good work.
Yes, that’s the way it is. When you relax, you gain strength and are distracted from work tasks. And after such a break, I want to jump again into the abyss of tasks and quickly deal with them. Try to always give time for a short rest, during which you will not think about work.
Annie Mueller is one of the productivity experts who responded to us and shared her best productivity hack:
My best productivity hack is to implement the pause. Don’t rush into your day, don’t rush into a meeting, don’t hurry into an agreement, don’t follow a trail of urgency from one action to the next reaction. Urgency-fueled action hardly ever leads to productivity. Implement the pause. Pause before you begin. Think about what you want to do. Pause before you attend. Do you really need to be there? Pause before you agree. Every commitment costs something; is this commitment worth the time/attention you’ll pay to complete it? Pause before you do. Does this action do anything, or is it busywork that makes you feel productive/justified? Does it really matter? If you can’t answer confidently and clearly before you move forward, pause until you can.
Let one of your top priorities be enough time for sleep.
Schedule a time for sleep and stop working process at least 45 minutes before going to bed. 95% of people need at least a seven to eight hours sleep during the day for a complete recovery.
Only a small part of us regularly get a full night’s rest in this volume, partly because of the belief in the myth that by sacrificing an hour of our sleep, we get an extra hour for productive work.
In reality, the lack of sleep, even in a small amount, decisively affects our mental abilities, creative thinking, emotional stability, the quality of the work and even the speed with which we carry it out.
Also, you can just take a nap.
If you can, sleep a little after lunch – about two o’clock in the afternoon. A short-term sleep of 20-25 minutes will help you to restore physical and mental energy reserves. If you do not have a quiet place to work, or if you do not have your own office, be creative.
If you get to work by car, sleep in it during the break.
Although first of all, you need to try to get enough sleep, the reality is that it does not work every day.
Use these tips, and you can cope with the consequences of lack of sleep.
Boris also said that:
I do regularly take a nap, or just chill for 10 minutes at the office.
And linked a good article about the importance of sleep.
Healthy food helps us work more efficiently. But it is not cheap and it takes a long time to prepare 2-3 hours a day. To eat healthy and not spend much time on this, I propose to make a menu in advance for a week of the fastest in cooking dishes.
This is how one of my days looks like. For breakfast, I cook a few chicken eggs. I eat part of it, I leave some of it for lunch: just add a salad and avocado to it. For dinner, I have a fish.
Bonus tip from Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
I really like this one, which he also said to me.
My other tip is to keep a small notebook, not for writing down new ideas, but for writing down stuff that distracts you. I’m often in meetings and my mind will wonder. I then write down my distractions and get back to the topic at hand. Very useful, and less distracting than a laptop or iPhone.
This is a really strong tip, in my opinion, try this.
And the most important thing.
Do not forget why you are doing this. Do not forget to live!
What is the point in productivity, if there is no time for real life, for movies, books, friends, relatives and friends, travel, walks and rest? Keep your moral and material goals in focus.
Live harmoniously and be happy! 🙂
What are your productivity hacks? Share them with me.