Updated: Jul 22
We often feel inundated with responsibilities and burdened with excessive work.
This post aims to explore several techniques that can help us regain control.
Before diving into a range of tips, however, it's essential to remember that productivity without purpose is meaningless. It’s like running fast without a destination.
Also, greater productivity is not a substitute for caring for yourself. Prioritize your well-being before trying to work better.
Let's dig into some habits we could consider changing.
Overall, the advantage to some planning is that if you spend time in advance, then you will save time later.
Ways to plan better:
Spend a few minutes daily revisiting your goals and priorities.
Plan your week at the end of Friday or first thing Monday.
Determine the value you bring/receive with every meeting. See if you can provide information without attending or watch at 1.5x later. Review your meetings quarterly to remove yourself from ones (or cancel ones) where there is value gained.
Rely on your calendar as a to-do list by blocking time for priorities. These blocks may move but should not be deleted. During deep work, let people know your availability.
Know your energy cycles, and tackle the most important projects during high-energy times. Use low-energy times for work requiring less energy.
Do the worst thing every day first.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing
worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
– Mark Twain
Batch email responses (versus responding to people throughout the day) and check messages and social media at certain times (not constantly).
Consider a virtual assistant to outsource time-consuming tasks such as social media, trip planning, and scheduling.
Get better at delegating. Done constructively, this is both good for you to remove responsibilities and for someone else to learn.
Knowing Your Environment
Ways to control your setting where you want to get work done efficiently:
Move your body and refocus your mind regularly
Remove or silence smartphones and other distractions
The news is proven to make us less happy, so take a break during periods, even days
If you had a rough morning or bad meeting, shake it off and bring your best self to the next activity
Consider light/sunlight, room temp, background noise, chair and desk position, clean workspace, etc.
Learning & Adjusting
Track these areas weekly to improve:
Progress on projects
Ways to learn
Experiment with productivity apps including hardware, software, and timers.
Pay attention to what works well. It will take time to improve and see results as you build mental muscle!
Adding More Tips
Making a positive change in any of these areas can impact productivity:
Eating (diet and timing)
Practicing Mindfulness (e.g. Breathing, Meditating, or Yoga)
Connecting with people who want the best for you
Recognize that changing habits is difficult. Don't plan to change all at once – try one change to start and wait 4-8 weeks before deciding its effectiveness.
Final Tip: If you try a change and it doesn’t work, forgive yourself like you would a struggling friend.
Productivity increases from perseverance, not perfection. Start with your purpose, consider the factors you can control, then adjust by learning.
Photo by Andreas Klassen who can be found here
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