Want to know how to get more done in less time? Then you’re in the right place.
Have you been spending all your time, energy, effort and money to achieve your goals? Have you sacrificed hanging out with your friends, going out shopping and your sleep? You sincerely want to succeed, but do your results seem insignificant? Frustrating, is it not?
Like many, you may feel like your workspace has become a prison cell that keeps you away from civilization.
How To Get More Done In Less Time:
This article helps you to get massive amounts of shit done. Say goodbye to excessively hard work with little results and hello to productivity.
- Reduce stress and feel more comfortable when getting your tasks done.
- Boost your productivity with the best apps and stay on top of your work.
- Learn how to monitor your progress so that your productivity keeps improving.
The word productivity is used a lot, but most people only use it in sentences asking someone else to hunker down and get to it. Few people actually give tips on how to achieve that excellence of being able to produce good results consistently.
Productivity is not just the measure of how much work you can accomplish at work; it stretches way further and encompasses every aspect of your life. Effective productivity is about getting more things done in the same amount of time.
This post will provide you with invaluable information about productivity and how you can actually get things done. Feel less stress and more comfortable when you are focusing on the tasks at hand.
Use it as guidance and make sure that you actively seek what will truly benefit you on your journey towards a tenfold in productivity.
Preparing your workspace for ultimate productivity
Let’s start by kicking in an open door! Having all the required tools and supplies close by makes it easy to complete tasks. While they say creative minds can make sense of their own chaos, it can also add to stress and hamper your productivity.
Research shows there is a direct correlation between productivity and clutter. Did you know the average American spends about 38 hours a year looking for lost and misplaced materials? In other words, spending 5 minutes a day clearing up your workspace is worth the investment.
Tidying up your workspace includes putting away your tools and equipment. While doing so, allow yourself to identify potential problems before they arise by performing basics checks on a daily basis. You might be using them again soon, but that it no reason to leave them lying around.
Ensure that they are secure so that you do not lose productivity by trying to search for something that is no longer there. There are always people with sticky fingers around.
Do not expect to come up with revolutionary discoveries in uncomfortable situations. Think how you can actually be comfortable while working. Do you have a nice ergonomic chair? Is the temperature right? How about the light entering the room?
Depending on the task, studies show that sunlight can improve your productivity by twenty to thirty percent. Psychologist Chris Knight and colleagues found that houseplants have a similar effect. Adding them to your workspace can increase your productivity with fifteen percent.
How to reduce stress and feel more comfortable
Most people can relate to time pressure due to waking up to late. Rushing in the morning easily makes you forget things needed to get your tasks done. What if you are about to present the sales contract to a prospect, only to find out you left it at home? Just prepare everything you need before you go to bed.
If necessary, make a list and check it twice. Sometimes the right mindset is all it takes to get things done. You will most likely not finish that report when your mind is all over the place.
Take some time before you fall asleep and think about the things that you will get done tomorrow. This empties your mind and lowers your stress level, resulting in a better sleep as well.
Being awake all night is hardly ever a good idea. Sleep deprivation will most surely reduce your attention span and your ability to concentrate. After twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation, there is an overall reduction of six percent in glucose (brain-fuel) reaching the brain.
This is why you start craving sugary junk. It sounds childish, but set a fixed bedtime and stop being a slave of the coffee machine. You will see a significant increase in your productivity.
2. Eat like your productivity depends on it
Productivity is also closely connected to your diet. Research shows that eating unhealthily is linked with a sixty-six percent increased risk of productivity-loss.
Constantly skipping breakfast and eating greasy, salty and sugary foods throughout the day is a bad idea. The first thing is to make your eating decisions before you get hungry.
If you do not have time to make breakfast in the morning, simply make it the night before and store it in the fridge. For lunch, unhealthy options tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them all the more alluring in the middle of a busy workday.
You might save 10 minutes at lunch, but will pay for it with weaker performance the rest of the day.
Do not let your glucose bottom out. You will perform better by grazing throughout the day, as glucose is fuel for your brain. Spikes and drops are both bad for productivity and bad for the brain.
Make healthy snacking easier to achieve than unhealthy snacking. For example, place a container of nuts and a selection of dried fruit by your computer.
3. Meditate and move
Stressed? Back away from the task at hand and get up. Do not tell yourself that you will never get the job done and that you will most likely fail at your task. Instead, take a few deep breaths to lower your blood pressure and clear your mind of chaos.
Stretch your back, your arms, your legs and everything else that is stretchable. After stretching, your brain becomes more efficient than it could have if you just slogged through the pains. Studies show that too little body movement can reduce your productivity by fifty percent.
The trick is to pause your work in a way that allows you to easily get back at it. For example, if you are working on a set of math problems, then pause after completing a problem, not while you are still busy solving one.
Closing your eyes for a few minutes every hour reduces the anxiety caused by staring at your computer. This helps you to stay sharp and active.
4. Break it down
Most big tasks have deadlines weeks from the current date. Therefore, it is best to know what you will be doing within the next weeks. Manage your time and resources accordingly and try to achieve something worthwhile every day.
Productivity methodologies like Pomodoro suggest that you break down tasks into small, manageable subtasks. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally twenty-five minutes in length, separated by short breaks (either five or ten minutes).
This technique can easily increase your productivity with twenty percent. Clear and short tasks give you more motivation not to slack off or procrastinate.
5. Be nice to yourself
Others usually tend to encourage us when we have gotten things done. So who says we cannot encourage ourselves? Give yourself a compliment after a long day of work! This kind of encouragement boosts your confidence and is great for your overall wellbeing.
When the weekend kicks in, make sure you get some well-deserved rest and recreation. Watch a baseball game, organize a family barbecue, go for a nice swimming, climb a mountain. Do whatever floats your boat.
This helps clear your mind for the upcoming week by lowering the I-hate-my-job feelings. End your day the same way you started it… feeling happy.
Working with checklists, notes and mono-tasks
6. Prioritize by using checklists
Checklists with reminders let you organize your workload and checking items of that list constantly gives you encouragement boosts. They also minimize mistakes and can easily give you an hour of extra productivity per day.
Write down your tasks and make sure you estimate the amount of time each task should take before you start your workday. Try planning out your day ahead and anticipate the possible roadblocks. Tackle the more difficult and the time-consuming tasks first. You still have full energy and it makes your other tasks seem easier.
Sometimes tasks keep popping up at a faster rate then you can get them done. You see the stacks of paperwork piling up on your desk. Prioritizing is the way to solve this. Quickly review the tasks that pop up and use your foresight to assign priorities based on time to deadline, required resources and difficulty.
Eradicate the tasks that are unnecessary and tidy up your checklists. Again, tasks with a high priority should be worked on first, unless they rely on a resource that is still unavailable.
Getting different workloads throughout the week makes it slightly more difficult to plan ahead. However, a tentative schedule is better then no schedule at all. It gives you an idea of the things that you want to get done during the day and it helps you accomplish the most important tasks right away.
This makes procrastination and confusion less likely. You can also use it as a plan of action, which you can consult as soon as you seem to be lost.
7. Keep it simple
Cognitive processing works best if we focus on one thing at a time. Our brains are not as efficient when we try to handle several tasks at the same time.
A study by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London found that multitasking causes a greater decrease in IQ then smoking pot or losing one night worth of sleep.
You need to stop overloading your brain with simultaneous inputs and revert to focusing on one thing at a time. This will make you less prone to making mistakes. Check your work regularly to spot mistakes early on.
Solely checking everything at the end, only to found out you completely messed up, is not productive. Ensuring that the quality of your output is just as important as getting output.
Make sure you make notes if you come across some awesome information that might help you in the final stages of your task. Add the location and content as well. This allows you to keep it out of your mind until the time is ripe.
8. Productivity apps
App scan help you prepare your schedule for the day and even for the upcoming weeks. Setting up reminders will reduce the risk that you will run late or miss appointments.
Also, having your smartphone memorize your deadlines allows you to concentrate on the task at hand. Keep in mind to update your reminders when changes occur that will have effects on your schedule. Do this as soon as the need arises because you do not want to forget it.
Updating your reminders in time helps you to avoid uncomfortable situations. Undoubtedly, this also reduces stress and makes you more comfortable in performing your tasks.
With app called Evernote (1), you can take notes, save content from multiple sources, search through your saved notes and share your work with others.
After you have logged in on all your devices, using the same username and password, you can create and view notes from any device or web browser.
Boost your productivity and stay in control
9. Emailing kills your productivity
You can spend your whole day checking your incoming emails, responding to them for eight to ten hours straight, and it feels like actual work.
Avoid this and try tackling your emails twice a day: fifteen minutes in the morning to filter out the most important ones and one hour in the afternoon to clean up your inbox.
Know that the average person spends about sixteen minutes refocusing after handling incoming emails. This means that checking your emails ten times a day will cost you almost three hours of refocusing.
At the same time, keep your outgoing emails short and to the point and state that you expect a similar type of email in return.
Try to avoid receiving unnecessary emails by sending selectively and by unsubscribing from newsletters that you trash anyway.
10. Avoid procrastination like the plague
Focus all your energy on completing whatever task can be completed at this moment, unless something urgent comes up that demands immediate attention. Procrastination is the most expensive invisible cost in business today and costs as much as 5000 dollar per employee per year.
It does not only lower your productivity, it also sets you up for risky crunches that could have been much less difficult if you completed your tasks as they came up. Procrastination is fed by distractions, so try to remove them from your workspace as much as possible.
The extreme end of procrastination is working too hard. Just because a day has 24 hours does not mean you have to invest all of them in work. Although it is tempting, try to avoid finishing tomorrow’s work today. Working too many hours is terrible for your productivity.
Do yourself a favor and work within your capabilities. Productive people are the ones that put do not have trouble being decisive. Simply learn to say no if their requests do not fit in your schedule. This will save you from a lot of stress.
11. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Some people do not have enough self-discipline to keep themselves working. Are you like that? What really helps is to find a buddy that checks on you from time to time.
Choose someone who tracks your progress and gives suggestions. Basically, you are asking your buddy to act like your boss. Keep in mind that your buddy should actually understand what you are doing.
In order to boost your productivity, try to surround yourself with like-minded people who are really into what they are doing. Working with people that have similar habits and styles is uplifting.
If you are someone that is rather serious then laid back, find people that share this ideal. This helps you synchronize your work habits and creates a pleasant relationship with your peers.
12. Keep your heart pumping
Regularly exercising keeps your body in good shape and your mind sharp. Most people spend around eight hours a day sitting on a chair. Try to break this routine by physical exercise.
When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to the brain, which helps sharpen your awareness and makes you more ready to tackle your next big project. Exercising on the weekends helps you break the monotone routine of work and helps get rid of the Monday blues when work starts again.
Getting massive amounts of shit done
13. Nail it in your prime time
There is a time frame where you perform at your best. During these hours your concentration is flawless, your tasks get finished on a rapid pace, your efficiency is like never before and your results are peaking. You can calculate prime time by charting your energy levels and finding a pattern.
Let’s talk about calculating your prime time. To chart your energy levels, I recommend a few things. The first is to cut out caffeine, alcohol and other mood enhances or depressants to get an accurate reading. This is absolutely essential in getting reliable data.
Secondly, wake up and fall asleep naturally, without setting an alarm (if you are able to). My third advice is to record your energy, motivation and focus every hour, on the hour. Do this on a ten-point scale. Finally, collect at least three weeks of data.
Collecting it will be a pain, but the more data, the better your results will be. Three weeks of data will give you twenty-one data points for every hour of the day, which is a decent number to draw conclusions from.
Based on your conclusions, schedule your most important activities when you have the most energy, motivation and focus.
14. Learn how to deal with distractions from friends and family
Doing something out of the ordinary, like working early mornings or late in the evenings, is a relatively new phenomenon that some people still fail to grasp. Distractions from friends and family are terrible (2) when you are trying to catch up on a deadline.
Do not allow their trivial concerns to distract you from your purpose. Make them aware of the fact that you are working and that you appreciate it if they do not disturb you. This does not necessarily mean you need to be rude and offensive.
Instead, learn to be firm and prioritize important things instead of constantly ending up accommodating the concerns of your friends and family. Simply explain them that you are not free just because you are at home or because it is not somewhere in between nine and five.
15. Check your progress and eliminate inefficient habits
Make sure you check the concrete work you have done within a specific time frame. Are you happy with the result? Did it take longer then you wanted it to? This gives you insight in your actual productivity.
Track your progress manually or use software, which tells you how you spend your time on the computer. Take time to analyse your work at the end of the day. Is there a more efficient way of getting your tasks done?
Eliminate your old habits as soon as you find a better way of doing things. This will unlock a powerful solution to getting things done faster and with a higher quality. You will thank yourself for it.
16. Reduce your workload through outsourcing and automation
If you find it a challenge to fit everything into an already hectic schedule, then immediately try to outsource some of your tasks. Have a look at fiverr, which is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, beginning at a cost of five dollar per job performed.
Fiverr allows you to outsource anything for just a few bucks, from research to slick designs.
Have you read the 4-hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss? In his book, Timothy tells you how he used YourManInIndia to hire an Indian virtual assistant for a few dollars per hour through.
He outsourced all of his repetitive tasks this way. Keep this in mind if for when you are ready to cut down on tasks.
Noteworthy, virtual assistants have to be managed correctly. Define your expectations precisely and do not hesitate to fire your virtual assistant when he or she is not up for the task. Start outsourcing the less crucial tasks today, as it takes time learning how to multiply yourself by using a virtual assistant.
Finally, try to figure out how you can automate your processes. Make use of free apps, which can significantly cut down the amount of time to complete a certain task.
This is where Zapier comes in handy, which connects the web apps you use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks. For example, you can let Zapier save new Gmail attachments to a specific Google Drive folder.
Automation simply allows you to free your mind from unexciting tasks, allowing you to have more brilliant ideas.
Get started now and tenfold your productivity!
Being more productive does not always require huge changes. Everything you learned here requires small changes that can easily be obtained. However, all the topics in this text have one thing in common, namely that they require action on your end.
You will simply not become more productive if you are not actively changing your workflow. Try to adapt practical habits and include them one by one. Once you do, you will find the rewards are truly promising. So what are you waiting for?
Get started now and tenfold your productivity!