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8 Things to increase your productivity

Are you spinning out of control with endless demands on your time and life? Are your stress levels at an all-time high with never ending tasks and deadlines leading to endless working hours and no family time to recharge your batteries? It is time to master productivity skills for the workplace that will empower you for higher performance while enabling good health and a better work life balance through reduced stress and efficient use of office time. Despite breathtaking advances in communication technology, many people still feel miserable and disengaged at work.

If every day, you are making progress towards what’s most important to you in life, you will feel a greater sense of productivity, inner peace and fulfilment. If that sounds interesting to you, if you’re interested in being more productive, having more time, achieving more, enjoying more of life, being more relaxed and generally happier, then below are tips you can implement immediately.

1. Think start your day

Spend the first 10 minutes of your work day to figure out what you want to achieve. Think through pending jobs, pressing problems and urgent deadlines while making notes on your diary or a task list. Rearrange them into a rough check list prioritizing the most important tasks on top. Getting the most important task of the day – this is also most often one of the hardest ones – done early in the day will lift a weight off your shoulders. You'll feel good about yourself and feel less inner resistance towards taking action and getting more things done for the rest of the day.

2. Stop Multitasking

Multitasking might feel like you are doing things quicker. But it usually winds up in depleting your energy faster, in several things being done not as well as they could have been and in few things actually being finished. The right way to work efficiently is to schedule and prioritize tasks and then tackle them one at a time. With complete focus on that one task, your speed will go up dramatically and you will get a lot more done in any given hour than if you try to speak on the phone while creating the sales chart on Excel. Also, there was a report that came out which showed that multitasking actually reduces your intelligence, mainly because you stop doing the hard work of thinking. So don’t multi-task, at least not when you’re doing high value tasks. Do things with a single minded focus and you would be surprised if you did not at increase your productivity by at least 30 to 50%.

3. Eliminate Distractions

This is a massive one in today’s era of modern technology: emails, instant messaging, status updates, sms etc. When you are in the middle of an important task and you get interrupted or distracted, it can take you up to 20 minutes to get back into the zone. If this happens 3 times in a day, that’s 1 hour of lost productivity. Read all e-mails in 10-minute slots at one go, but only every 2 hours or more. Shut the door to your office if possible. Shut down instant messaging programs and notifications for new emails. Put your cell phone on silent and put it in a drawer where you can’t see for a while.

4. Divide and conquer

Break Up Big Projects into Smaller Phases, Think of your projects the same way and divide your journey into smaller goals, and celebrate when you reach them. By just focusing on taking one small step at a time you can greatly reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and the impulse to flee into procrastination. So break projects or daily or weekly tasks down into small and actionable steps.

5. Eliminate workload

Regularly ask yourself: what tasks can I simply eliminate and not do with few or no consequences? It is easy to just keep doing things because “you should” or because it is what you have always done. You can always delegate your work to someone else or outsource them. There are many online options available for outsourcing your smaller work. It is not about finishing off to–do list, more important is to get done higher priority work done.

6. Write everything down

When you make a to-do list, you make your ideas into something you can hold on to and work with. When your plan is on paper, you can focus fully on each task as you work on it. It does not matter how well you try and order your day, unexpected and new tasks will be thrown at you. Whenever a new task comes up, write it down and compare it in importance to your already scheduled priorities for the day. This one tip will save you a bucket load of stress and increased productivity substantially because more often than not, an unexpected task that comes up is often of a lower value than what I already had planned for the day. So I can stick to my original plan. Schedule out everything you visualized and as you complete each task, cross it out – it’ll give you a sense of finality when you complete your task.

7. Goals

Make sure you set goals for yourself both long term and short term goals. Unless you know where you are heading, it is so easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with how much you have to do. Your productivity in life is directly linked to how much time you spend working on your goals. Set some exciting goals. Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done. Tell other people about your goals and you will instantly be held accountable. Find a mentor. By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

8. The last thing to do

Celebrate both small and bigger triumphs. If you achieve something big then celebrate it by treating yourself to something for example. And if you have only had small triumphs during the day then still take 2 minutes at the end of it to appreciate and celebrate what you have accomplished. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. Be kind to yourself and ask yourself: what is one thing I can learn from this? Use what you can learn to do things better and to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Refuel your enthusiasm regularly. On some days the enthusiasm may be lacking. If so, try to refuel it. Get an enthusiastic vibe by listening to a podcast or audio book or by reading a book or blog for just 10 minutes created by someone who is enthusiastic.

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