“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” Some very wise words from Bruce Lee but in this day and age, we have a much more pressing issue. People don’t spend too much time thinking, they spend too much time procrastinating. Yes, procrastinating. A concept that most of us perfect during our teenage years and then pretend to never do for the rest of our lives.
Procrastination is the art of never getting anything important done because you are too busy wasting time with other pointless tasks. Well life is too short to be a [pro]-crastinator, so here are a few ways to perfect your productivity instead…
Lists! People either love them or hate them. Personally, I love them. Ticking something off a to-do list has to be one of the simplest pleasures in life. Knowing what you have to do before you even wake up is not only a fantastic way to organise your daily schedule, but it also allows you find the perfect work-life balance.
Instead of letting daily tasks pile up leaving you frazzled before you sleep, a simple list will let you wake up as light as a feather! Alright, I know that was cheesy but it’s true. A list is the perfect way to reduce stress because you can prioritise, work to deadlines and thus use your day wisely.
While I know it can be daunting having a long list of things to do, one of the best pieces of advice I have (probably ever) received is to just start. As obvious as it seems, you’d be amazed at how many people benefit from being reminded.
Staring at your tasks is even worse than procrastinating because you are getting absolutely nothing done. What works for me is the good old-fashioned ‘work hard and reap the rewards’. If you have things to look forward to at regular intervals, you will see your productivity levels soar. It really is the simple things.
How many of you have found yourselves replying to emails, while writing the last bit of that article, while trying to find the number for your hairdresser and all while you’re making that one phone call that was supposed to be the only thing scheduled for this morning? Multitasking.
We all do it – despite the myth that men are completely incapable of it! It’s always tempting to touch upon everything on a to-do list so at least you’ve made a start, but leaving something unfinished or giving each task a fraction of your attention is counter-productive. Give yourself a time frame within which to complete one task, focus and don’t let yourself move until it’s done.
That way you’re not only improving productivity, but you’re also practising self-control – two birds, one stone! And, if that’s not enough then let me remind you that the result you’ll be left with is a perfectly finished product that you can cross off your list. Trust me, this feeling is addictive!
Now this final point is two in one. In recent surveys, research has shown that 70% of adults spend the majority of their day online. Just imagine what you could do with those hours if you didn’t spend them scrolling up and down your Facebook or Twitter news feeds! Naturally, these distractions make it harder for you to give your work your full attention.
However, by blocking these sites for a few hours a day or working offline, you will be able to produce better quality work, more efficiently. Magic! Nevertheless when you do take a break and go online, speak to your friends and tell them what you’re up to. By telling your friends what you’ve achieved and how you intend to spend the rest of the day, you’ll be more motivated to actually reach your targets because you’ll be answerable to other people. You wouldn’t want your friends thinking you’re all talk now would you…
So there you have my top tips to increase productivity. Try them out and feel free to tweet us or comment to share your personal favorites!