For better or for worse, the idea of productivity relates directly to an individual’s value. How much you can do for an employer is how they know how much to pay you. In a less formal way, your ability to get things done around the house, or finishing a load of school work is an indicator of how well you are handling the pressures of life.
Because of how the measure of how much you are able to accomplish over a period of time is so critical to success and personal identity nearly everyone is looking for ways to do more. The old adage ‘work smarter not harder’ is in a measure true, but truer is the idea of, ‘work smarter and harder’. Here are 10 easy ways to increase your productivity.
Track Your Time
Time is one commodity that runs out whether we intentionally use it or not. Time is always working, do its job, day and night it never gets tired or takes a break. Since these are the conditions that one works under it is important to get a hold of how time is managed. The first tips for keeping track of time is to use a timekeeping service. Such companies can help you see who is working and for how long.
By simply keeping a record you will be able to analyze how long it takes to accomplish a specific task or project. Being able to look at the numbers will allow an impersonal view of an individual’s productivity.
What is it that the work is being done for? Is there a specific purpose with which the workers are engaged? Answering the why question will always prove foundational to the what and how questions. Goals should be formed with an idea toward a specific end over a specific period of time. Goals should start long term. These large scale goals give context to all of the smaller actions that will take place over the course of the day. From there, goals can be arranged however best suits a given situation. Hourly goals can help maintain focus and discipline, or monthly goals can help build in flexibility for an unpredictable life.
Very few people have discovered the secret to maximizing productivity in their first go at it. Because needs and circumstances are always changing so to will your goals and methods for accomplishing them need to change to meet new challenges head-on. One way to know if it is time to alter or create new goals and methods is to develop the habit of frequent evaluation.
It isn’t hard to look at the results of a day, week, month, or even year and ask if all was done that needed to be. The end of each day is a great time to look at what you needed or wanted to get done and weigh it against what was actually accomplished. If there is a discrepancy between the two from there a determination needs to be made relative to what factors limited productivity so as to detract from the accomplishment of a goal.
There is a huge market for distractions. For whatever reason, people will pay through the nose to be distracted from their day to day lives. Perhaps the humdrum and strain of working day to day is too much for some, but for those who are appropriately concerned with their personal productivity, there is no time to burn with a favorite distraction. One idea for reducing distractions is limiting your connection with the internet. There will always be a video or game that can be had online and just a quick glance at a phone or computer can be tempting enough for you to pull yourself away from working to accomplish a goal.
Set Aside Time For Play
This does not mean that a person looking to increase their productivity must live as a hermit. Rather, it means that when work needs to be done or tasks need to be accomplished that a productive person allocates time that is held as quasi-sacred to that end. The time set aside for productive activity cannot be infringed on.
Just as time must be set aside for work, so to must time be set aside for pleasure activities. Doing so will increase one’s ability to be wholly focused on tasks at hand whatever they may be. The temptation to stop a train of thought or a series of productive actions to have a little fun will be lessened because of the knowledge that a fun activity is planned and will occur at a more convenient time.
Plan Your Day
Uncertainty is one of the greatest wasters of time. Wondering about what to do throughout a day leads to inaction which robs productivity generally. The best time to plan out a day is in the morning. Briefly list all of the things that need to be done in the course of that day. Plan what must be done hour by hour. Write it down or use an app on a phone or tablet to set that plan in stone. Once the plan is written down all there is to do is to stick to it.
Do Things At The Right Time
Some activities are best suited for certain times. This is something that must be a part of the daily planning just discussed. If there are certain things that can only be done at home or at the office, those things ought to be planned together. Traveling and transitions between locations and tasks can be detrimentally time-consuming.
The human body has a definite capacity level. This level is different for everybody so it is important to learn how much sleep a specific person needs, how much food they should be eating, how often they should be exercising, etc. Allowing the body to rest, deep sleep, in particular, is one thing that will increase the productivity of nearly all people. It tends to promote higher brain functions and physical endurance.
When someone knows more about a subject they are usually able to more profitably apply relevant concepts to their daily lives. Whatever tasks one may be engaged in, knowing all that they can about that task and any connected topics will allow for innovation.
Be Willing To Sacrifice
Beyond knowing how to do something and giving the body the rest and recuperation it needs is the ability to push beyond limitations. The most productive people are able to look beyond what they were capable of before and look forward as they strive to accomplish their goals. Rest can be set aside temporarily in the quest to be more productive.
Following these strategies will enable someone who is already motivated to be more productive to realize their desires. But no series of strategies will cause someone to want to do more. That kind of desire is needed before applying any of these ideas will help. If you feel the need to be more productive then you are well on your way to higher accomplishment thresholds.