So many times I have been dealing with productivity and even more times I have been asked to help people, groups, teams, businesses with it.
In my personal and professional experience, and also according to Experts (like the ones from the Harvard Business Reviews) you can improve your productivity with just a few steps.
In this post, I am suggesting to you the easiest and most effective 5 tools to immediately and dramatically improve your productivity.
Of course, the first thing to do is welcome these tools into your routine, so that it will be easier to apply them and achieve the desired results.
The first tool I suggest is quite an obvious one, at least for many: planning in advance.
At the end of every day, before leaving your work or professional activities, think about what you need to do next.
What you will be able to plan today will result in time saved in the next few days. I usually write down both an electronic device and on paper the most important, and urgent things that I need to do and leave that note in evidence both on my computer and in your physical agenda, bloc note, planner.
While taking that note, also add the status of the thing and the reason you are going to do that. Sometimes it happens that what seemed hyper-urgent one day is no longer a top priority the next one.
Also, there are many ways you can use to choosing which things to prioritize. The ones I prefer are the Eisenhower Matrix, the Pareto (80/20) Principle, and the Rice Framework.
I will tell you about these methods in 3 different posts.
2. LEARN TO Say no TO MEETINGS AND TASKS
No is a really powerful word, as its opposite, Yes.
Often we grow up and then spend (a good part of, if not all) our career and life by telling … Yes. Yes to tasks, to obligations, to pressures.
Yet, when you learn to say NO you are actually clearing your road toward achievements and effectiveness.
When you speak to top performers you discover that they are masters at choosing exactly what brings them more results instead of wasting their time and energy trying to do every single task they are facing.
So, yes, you will need to cherrypick your tasks as we all have a finite amount of energy and time and we all want and need to avoid stress, mental fatigue, burnout, depression, physical and medical issues.
3. MAXIMIZE YOUR EFFORTS ON KEY TASKS
Coming from years of competitive sports, I have learned that the best way to do things in order to achieve the maximum results is to concentrate our efforts on key tasks. Again, the Pareto (80/20) principle kicks in: learn to give your full dedication, attention, and energy to that 20% of tasks that will give you the 80% of the final results.
What I do is to work on sprints of 30 to 90 minutes on the key, or most complex tasks, then I take a break and/or I work on more trivial/easy ones.
4. USE BREAKS AND power napS
If your body, your mind, your soul are not relaxed and fit you will start noticing a quick decay in your ability to perform and to achieve.
Creativity, alertness, attention are highly dependent on your fatigue. The more fatigue and stress you experience, the fewer results you are going to get.
So, every time you feel tired, or after some time, or even before starting working on a key task (this last is what I do more frequently), take a break and, if you can, a power nap.
Even 15 minutes of napping will help you get back your energy and be more efficient.
Longer naps or breaks (doing a walk, practicing some relaxing exercise, dedicating time to your favorite activities) will be helpful when you need to achieve top performance or creativity levels.
5. DON’T BE SLAVE OF YOUR MAILS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Last but not least, emails, notifications, and social media.
Let’s be completely honest with that: you cannot be productive if you are continually distracted and interrupted by notifications.
You should be in control of the communications you receive and you should be able to prioritize them.
Start by turning off notifications when you are focussing on an important task, when you are taking power naps, or when you are off.