Do you often catch yourself looking, in awe, at people that just seem to get everything done? Do you envy their ability to seemingly conquer at the game of life? Well you can be just as productive and successful too. All you have to do is practice these 15 fantastic habits, and you’ll be on your way to productivity heaven!
One of the best ways to become more productive and successful is to dedicate 20% of your eight-hour day to the most important tasks. It doesn’t matter how crazy your day gets, giving this amount of focus to the big tasks ahead is a great way to stay on top and be more productive. Think about it. That’s only 90 minutes of your day!
“Even if you squander the remaining 80% of the day, you can still make great progress if you have spent 90 minutes on your goals or priorities.”
– Productivity Coach Kimberly Medlock.
Simplify Your Space
A messy desk equals a messy mind — that’s no surprise to anyone. A cluttered desk or workspace is a sure fire method of distraction. That book is just begging you to pick it up and that folder is just reminding you of the work you haven’t gotten done yet. By clearing your workspace, you are lessening distractions and giving your brain the best chance at optimizing and becoming more productive.
“Attention is programmed to pick up what’s novel,”
– Josh Davis, director of research at the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Two Awesome Hours
Work Less, Not More
We might think that slapping on a few extra hours of work will help us get things done, but nothing could be further from the truth. According to a 2014 Stanford University study, a greater amount of working hours equals a lower rate of productivity. The study found that those who worked 70 hours a week only had the productivity of someone who worked 56 hours a week. So what does that mean? Give yourself a break and give your brain time to unwind.
Focus on HVA’s
High Value Activities are activities that come relatively naturally. Task that you are naturally good at seem easier, upping your efficiency. Meanwhile, tasks that are harder to complete are a struggle and make us perform less efficiently. If you can, delete the duties that seem like a chore and focus first on the tasks you enjoy more. This will up your efficiency and your overall productivity.
“HVAs are within your mission, leverage your strengths, and create impact or change…They also create clarity and open your schedule.”
– Hillary Rettig, author of The Seven Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block.
Put Down the Phone
Simply turning your phone on silent isn’t enough. According to a study from Florida State University, if your phone is on and near you…it’s a distraction. The study found that the vibrations alone were enough to cause a distraction in focus, even if you didn’t look at the phone. So turn it off and put it away to achieve maximum focus and productivity.
Have Smarter Meetings
You can get the most out of your group sessions by making a plan, banishing distractions and making sure to move around. Set the most important priorities of the meeting first and make sure to maintain everyone’s focus by removing distractions like cell phones and windows (cover them up). To really make sure everyone’s brain is staying on task and focused, try getting up every 45 minutes and switching chairs. This will keep the brain switched on and engaged.
“Keep meetings short by limiting the agenda to three items or less…Afterward, send out minutes using your agenda so everyone knows what to work on.”
– Alan Eisner, professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business
Avoid Productivity Killers
Just like cell phones, there’s an array of “productivity killers” that will stop your success right in its tracks. These things include: social media, texting, internet, gossip and email. If you want to be more productive, try avoiding the use of these things through unplugging. Turn off your phone, close that internet browser and, no matter what else you do, avoid social media!
Take a Nap
This may not always be a possibility but according to several studies, short daytime naps are shown to increase productivity. According to one study by the University of Michigan, it was even found that daytime naps increased resilience to frustration! With benefits like that, how could you really say no?
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Big shocker here, right? You can get more done by being more mindful of your everyday choices. Prioritizing allows us to choose the best tasks to complete based on on personal and professional needs. For instance, when you’re in creative place maybe you should tackle that writing task. If you’re in more of an organizational mood, then maybe it’s the best time to tackle that spreadsheet.
This, of course, means that some other activities have to go…and that’s okay too. In order to be more successful you have to be ready and willing to let the other things go, as there just isn’t enough hours in the day to tackle every single task on your to-do list.
“In order to focus on urgent or meaningful activities, let some other things slide.”
– Lisa Zaslow, founder of the New York–based Gotham Organizers
Get Some Sun
Getting a view while you get to work is a great way to boost productivity. According to one study by the California Energy Commission, having access to a window in the office boosted workers’ productivity 10%-25%!
If you’re just waiting for 1 important email, don’t distract yourself by checking your email constantly. Instead, set up that important email to come directly to your phone via text. Here’s how:
- Find the email-to-text format for your cell-phone provider with a quick Google search. Verizon, for example, is @vtext.com, so if your mobile number is 555-123-4567, your address is email@example.com.
- Using that address, set up your email so it forwards messages from a specific sender to your cell phone via text (in Outlook, find “Rules” in the “Tools” task bar).
- Shut down your inbox and ignore your emails while focusing on more pressing tasks, knowing you’ll be alerted when the important message comes in.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
We all know that a good night’s sleep is a great way to wake up rested and ready to be productive. However, there’s actually a sleep “sweet spot” that has been proven by several studies to enhance your productivity. Now, that sweet spot will differ for everyone, but it’s generally considered to be about 7.5 hours of sleep. The studies found that those who received less, and those who received more, were almost 2x as likely to take sick days.
Don’t Be Afraid to Complain
There are good and bad ways of doing this, but being able to voice your opinions is an important part of being productive. Present your dislikes along with ideas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to use the input of others to make a path to progress.
Framing things in terms of solutions lessens the focus on the problem and who might be at fault…It evokes pleasant emotions instead of negative ones that cause mental fatigue.”
– Management Professor Russell Johnson
Be Human, Be a Motivator
By being more human and accepting of all our human faults, you can be more engaging and a greater motivator. By motivating the people around you, not only will you boost your own productivity but also the productivity of those around you. According to a recent Gallup poll, workplaces that saw more personal engagement saw a more than 21% bump in productivity. Now that’s something to get excited about.
You didn’t think you could escape this one did you? Exercising regularly not only helps better your health, it helps boost your output as well! A study from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that just a short jog — 20 minutes or so — on a regular basis helped participants complete problem-solving tasks quicker and more efficiently. So put on those running shoes and get to stepping!
What’s your favorite way to get motivated and be more productive. Share your ideas in the comments below or on Facebook and Instagram. For more great ideas, check out the LADY VIVRA lifestyle section!
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