I was talking with a high-achieving businesswoman who is one of my fellow committee members of Women Driving Business. Somehow during the course of the conversation, we started talking about productivity.
Based on her conversation, she was not ending each workday with a satisfied sigh of knowing that she had been the best at productivity.
I encouraged her by letting her know that she too can be the ‘productivity star’, rather than the alternate person who ends her workday slumped behind a desk stacked with unfinished projects.
Over my years of being a Master Strategist in the area of Growth. Success. Acceleration., I have learned that most of us aren’t as productive as we would like to be for the following two reasons:
- We have bad habits that interfere with our workplace productivity
- We are more reactive rather than proactive and spend much of our workday responding to and trying to put our fires.
The solution to the two reasons is very simple: replace our bad habits and reactive patterns with good habits that will make us more proactive.
Well it sounds great, but here’s the problem – replacing bad habits with reactive good habits.
Below are a few tips for how to be more productive. Is it going to require some effort – absolutely – can you do it – absolutely – now it up to you to get started.
- Do your heavy lifting when you’re at your best. There was a time when the focus was on doing the heavy listing in the mornings, but what if you are a night owl.
So the focus should be on doing your most demanding tasks based on your personal peak productivity time – whenever it is.
I use my mornings to focus on me. I stretch, pray, eat a good breakfast, workout and then I am ready for whatever the day brings. This ensures that I have the necessary fuel for a productive day.
2. Stop multitasking. New studies have shown that multitasking can be harmful over time and it is a productivity killer.
So stop it right now! Instead, dramatically increase productivity by focusing on one task at a time and give it your full attention before moving on to something else.
As soon as your eyes and hands start drifting towards something else, such as another screen, think about how important it is to keep your focus on the task at hand.
- Prepare a ‘to-do’ list for the next day each night or on Sunday evening for the new week. For me, ‘to-do’ lists are invaluable. This list keeps me organized; provide me with focus and a lot of reward when I am able to check off those completed tasks. I love – love – love checking on things that I have completed.
When making (or updating) a ‘to-do’ list each night or Sunday evening means that you don’t waste time at the start of the workday determining what task to do.
If you want to really ramp up your production, there is a productivity tip that will speed you to the finish line. Talk through your ‘to-do’ list the night before with someone.
It makes you feel like you have already done the work in your head and the next day, all is needed is to get it done.
4. Cut down your ‘to-do’ list. How many items are on your typical ‘to-do’ list? Five? Eight? Ten? Twenty? or Twenty-eight?
For me, I have three ‘must to-do’ for the week and three ‘nice to-do’. My focus is always on the ‘must to-do’ and I consider it a bonus if I accomplish the ‘nice to-do’.
If you want to increase productivity – it demands focus and focus means narrowing your options. So each night when you’re reviewing your to-do list, ask yourself two questions;
- What are the important tasks on this list?
- How many of these important tasks can I realistically accomplish or make significant progress on tomorrow?
As a side bar, for me sometimes the best way to stay productive is to sit and think. There are times when it’s best to just drop everything, clear your mind, and just think.
I have found that it greatly relieves stress and increases my productivity tremendously when I do get back to work. What’s your thoughts!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series on productivity.
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