Productivity is about getting things done. But it’s not simply about working harder — it’s also about working smarter!
By enacting the small but impactful changes below, you can make the most of the hours in your day and get more done in a shorter space of time.
TIP 1: Plan The Night Before
A big part of productivity can be momentum. Once you are in a rhythm it is easy to get things done; it’s the getting started part that’s hard! One way to avoid this (especially the strain of getting going first thing in the morning) is to plan your routine out the night before.
The night before you’re due to work, or at the very end of the previous working day, list your tasks for the upcoming day, along with any scheduling or plans. These can be as rough or detailed as you like, and it can be down to personal preference whether you schedule out every hour, or just create a rough overview of the day.
The important thing is to create enough of a structure that you do not need to waste energy on making decisions about what to do, or on checking what needs to be done, during the day itself, as you will already have a plan in place to guide you – therefore allowing you to focus all your energy on the task in hand.
TIP 2: Reward Yourself
If you are getting through your tasks, however large or small, reward yourself! A treat can be a great way to build momentum for future tasks, and to add positive reinforcement to your productivity.
Rewards can be as small and simple as a coffee after completing a task, or a hot bath at the end of a long day, but they could also be larger and more elaborate – such as a day out, or even a holiday!
Rewarding yourself can also be part of another vital aspect of productivity: resting effectively. Many people think productivity is just about work, but it is also about rest. If you are rested and refreshed, you can work more effectively and constructively. You are also less likely to experience work-related ill health or burnout if your energies are being adequately recharged.
Reward yourself, rest effectively, and watch your productivity skyrocket as a result!
TIP 3: Write Things Down
Don’t rely on your brain to remember your entire schedule and task list! Even if you have an excellent memory, writing things down is said to leave more space for creative thinking and adaptability.
For maximum productivity, write down your schedule and tasks and refer back to them in a system you can trust. This can be digital — such as within an app or electronic calendar — or analogue, such as a diary or planner, or both!
The important thing is that crucial dates, deadlines, and tasks are kept in a reliable place that you refer back to regularly.
TIP 4: Set Timers
Did you know that being timed can actually make us work faster? You can create the same effect yourself! Setting timers helps you to keep track of how long you’re spending on a specific task. It can also feel more manageable to break down a larger task into achievable time limits.
The time limits recommended by systems such as the Pomodoro Technique are 25 and 45 minute blocks, but you can experiment with what works best for you. Set a timer on your mobile phone, an app, or even a simple stopwatch, and see how much you can get done before the time is up!
TIP 5: Invest In Equipment
Don’t forget to invest in the tools and the equipment that best supports your work. Whether this is a reliable car you use for business, a computer with suitable software, or even your favourite pen — everything helps!
Maximising productivity means being able to rely on your own self-discipline, but also the effectiveness of the tools and the systems around you. Ensure these are properly maintained and your workday will be smoother and more efficient as a result.
TIP 6: Clarify Your Goals
Get clear on the goals you want to achieve — and especially why you want to achieve them. Break objectives down into smaller, more manageable steps and then celebrate your progress with each milestone!
Clarifying your goals helps you to plan effectively and stay on track – maximising your productivity and ensuring that the goals you have set are helpful, exciting, and meaningful to you!