Sometimes we just have to hear it again. There are things that we know that we know, but when we hear someone say the thing we know, it suddenly clicks. We might “know” that we should keep our to-do list short, but getting buried in the daily details creates a mile-long list of tasks. Reading (again) that a smaller to-do list equals less stress opens our eyes and gets us back to center. So even though you may “know” these principles, it’s time to review and gain a new perspective with these six secrets to boost your productivity.
6 Secrets to Boost Your Productivity
1) Check your associations. And that doesn't mean the club you joined or the people you hang out with. Rather, stay aware of the thoughts and emotions you associate with certain tasks. You may have unknowingly begun to build associations that are not helpful to you. For instance, over time you may have built associations of stress and time pressure with writing your blog posts. Having an “a-ha” moment about what’s going on is a huge step towards resolving the situation. Don’t blame your blog for what’s really a life management issue. Try writing some posts ahead of time and create new associations of energy and creativity.
2) Work for yourself first. Every time you wake up in the morning or sit down first thing at your desk and check email and Facebook messages, you’re putting yourself at the mercy of the priorities of others. You certainly need to connect and check your inboxes, but not at the expense of your own work. Part of that work is personal development such as reading, journaling and planning. Be intentional about when you work for others. Don’t give away your prime productive time to the whims of your inbox. And don’t cheat yourself by working for others…for free.
3) Limit your to-do list. You have a finite, limited amount of time and energy. Keep your to-do list finite and limited, too. Make a small list on a sticky note and feel the satisfaction of getting it all done. It beats marking off three things on a list of twenty-five and feeling like a failure.
4) Do a little bit every day. We tend to underestimate how much we can get done by doing a few minutes or a few tasks daily. Small, consistent effort accumulates over time and leads to big results. That’s encouraging news for anyone who doesn’t have long hours to accomplish things they’ve always wanted to do.
5) Build in breaks, rewards and renewal. Have you convinced yourself that productivity only comes with exhausting, endless work? The truth is that regular breaks and mental vacations are actually beneficial to your brain and body. You know yourself better than anyone, so plan ahead to allow for regular breaks in your day, week and month. Set up some rewards for your breaks and enjoy the increased feelings of wellbeing and energy.
6) Don’t wait till you feel like it—get to work. Successful people work without regard to mood or circumstance. Make a decision. You have a business, not a hobby. Most great writers have a routine, not a mood. They work every day, not just when they “feel” right.
Practical Action Steps for Better Productivity
Match these action steps to each productivity secret:
1) Pay attention to negative feelings, then check the associations you’ve created.
2) Start your day working for yourself.
3) Buy some small sticky notes for your to-do’s.
4) Set a timer to do a little bit every day.
5) Use the timer for your breaks and have a small reward waiting.
6) Create a routine to help you stay consistent and then….Make a decision!