We all know that one person in our lives who is just a wizard at getting things done. While the rest of us are struggling away, they’re out there achieving things at work and home, knocking out tasks like a machine. The truth is, becoming that person is not nearly as impossible as you might think. It’s certainly not easy, but there are a lot of things that you can do to help focus your energy and get better at being productive. It’s about putting yourself in the right mindset, setting the right habits, and just generally making sure that you’re placing yourself in the best possible situation for success. Here in this article, we’ll go over a few easy and straightforward tips and tricks for improving your focus and productivity both at home and in the workplace.
Start With the Hard Stuff
Whenever we’re getting started on the day’s tasks, the impulse is usually to start with the easy stuff and ramp-up to something difficult, kind of like a warm-up. Resist this urge! The best way to start your day is actually to tackle your bigger tasks first. It might be tempting to take the path of least resistance, but starting with difficult stuff first sets you up for a much more productive day overall. The primary benefit of scheduling this way is that you know for a fact that all the important tasks are going to get done. You won’t have to worry about running out of time at the end of the day, or having to stay late at work because you need to wrap up something time-sensitive. Start with the stuff that you need to do, and that way you know it’s always going to get done. The other big advantage is purely mental. Once you’ve finished the difficult work, then suddenly your day starts to look a whole lot easier. You’ve already accomplished a lot, and you’re not even done with the day yet! Now you’re the master of your own schedule, and you can relax knowing that it’s all downhill from here. So next time you have a big task that you’re not looking forward to, just try to get it done early in the day. It’ll make things a whole lot easier.
This is probably an obvious one, but it’s still important enough to be well worth mentioning here. When you’re buckling down and trying to get stuff done, distractions are the worst possible drain on your productivity. It’s totally understandable – after all, work can often be pretty boring. That’s kind of just the nature of work. But you need to be able to avoid distracting yourself from your tasks if you’re going to get them all done. Here are a few quick tips on how to avoid distractions. First, turn off your phone! If you can’t turn it off, at least place it somewhere out of reach, so you’d have to stand up to get it. Smartphones are pretty amazing devices, but they’re also essentially little distraction machines. Social media, in particular, is sometimes easy to get caught up in, and next thing you know, you’ve lost an hour or more of time. It’s good to stay reachable, but when your phone is out of reach, it’s a lot easier to resist the urge to pick it up and check your messages or find an article to take up your time. You can also try starting a distraction list. Every time you have a distracting thought, just type it up in a document or on a piece of paper. Some of those thoughts may actually be important, but you really don’t want to be spending the time and brainpower thinking about them now. Just write it down and go back to it after you’re finished with what you’re doing.
Use the 80/20 Rule
You may have heard of this before, but just in case you haven’t, the 80/20 rule is the idea that 80% of the results of any endeavour tend to come from just 20% of the work. Essentially, it’s about efficiency. If you’re looking for ways to be more productive, try to find the most important 20% and focus on that first. By focusing on the most important and relevant work, you can streamline the whole process and save time and effort later on. This is especially easy if you become good at breaking down your tasks, another very important skill. Not only does it prevent procrastination, but breaking your tasks down into smaller sections can help you uncover the most important 20% of every pursuit.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks
It’s tempting to try improving your productivity by just working for longer periods of time, but that’s actually not really the best idea. Nobody, not even the most productive person in the world, can work for eight hours straight without taking breaks! Breaks help you relax and clear your head and can make your work a lot easier. It’s usually recommended to take a break about once an hour or so, just for a few minutes. However, make sure that you’re not just getting distracted! Taking too many breaks can mess with your flow and make it more difficult to get things done. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule your breaks. Plan them out ahead of time, and try to find a good stopping point in your work before taking your breaks.
Don’t Take on Too Much at Once
If you’re taking on too much work at once, it can slow your progress down and break down your motivation, making you much less productive. Try to keep your tasks in manageable, bite-sized chunks, so you’re never too overwhelmed with work. If you’re struggling with motivation or planning, you might consider checking out some prominent conference speakers for help. Motivational speakers are full of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your productive time, so they’re always a great option if you’re having trouble.
Even though there’s no magic bullet for becoming more productive, there are plenty of habits you can pick up that will make it a lot easier. Remember, nobody becomes more productive overnight! It takes time and work to set yourself in these habits, but stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.