Do you waste time doing little things? It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane. I recently came across a Forbes post where Ilya Pozin talks about 9 powerful ways to get more productive. I agreed with pretty much everything. These are simple things to increase productivity and impact. If you’re ready to get out of the weeds and make your time more impactful, here are 9 habits you can tap into:
1: Cut your to-do list in half
Sometimes our to-do list can become really long. I've seen some with 100 things on them. Mine currently has 10 things on it - if I get those 10 things done, I'll consider it a productive day. I like to do a “10 before 10” - 10 things that I get done before 10:00 am. Those 10 things are what is going to create the most impact for the day. If I can do that then everything else is cake. Pick your top ten things.
2: Take more breaks
If you're anything like me, you're committed and you'll go, go, go. This is one of the easiest things to forget. Keep a bottle of water by your desk and some munchies. Remind yourself to stand up, stretch, do some jumping jacks, drink water, and snack a little. In my college biology class, we set an alarm and after 20 minutes we would get up, do 1 minute of jumping jacks, then sit down and work for another 20 minutes. Awesome results from that. When you take frequent breaks like that your body state changes. You're more alive and awake to receive information.
3: Follow the 80/20 rule
You've probably heard that 20% of what you do produces 80% of your results. Focus on the most important 20% that you have to do. When you're thinking of the top 10 things you need to get done, ask yourself if those are in the 20% that will get 80% of the results. If not, change what's going on the list.
4: Use your morning to focus on yourself
The alarm goes off, you check your phone and notifications, etc. This is a super easy habit to slip into. Your mornings are what fuel the rest of your day. If you allow images of quick things from email, facebook, text messages and such to fill your mind in the morning, you train your brain to go on high-speed auto. Go, go, go. You won’t get things done that way. The best way I've found to start my day is to drink water, take some deep breaths, do some exercise, listen to my recording of my ideal life, study scripture, and eat. I do all those things before checking emails or getting into social media. Sometimes, I fall into the habit of checking my phone but on those days I find I don't feel as refreshed - I'm more tired and it feels like I have to hurry because the day is moving too fast. Use your morning to tap into yourself and the Universe. See the day, visualize it and what you need to do, and you will have a huge boost in momentum.
5: Tackle your challenging tasks before lunch
The brain is ready to rock and roll earlier in the day. Again, do the hard things first.
6: Improve your email etiquette
I would add social media etiquette to this as well because it can be a distraction from things that really matter. You can easily get absorbed in these activities and before you know it, chunks of time have passed and you haven't even done what you got on there to do. A lot of that time gets spent in uselessness. Set some time aside to consciously check email/social media and do a list of specific things. Speak it out loud. I will do that if it's something I've struggled with in the past. "I am getting on email right now to do ..." Doing that teaches you that you're in control, not email or Facebook.
7: Create a system
There are systems for everything. You can have systems to check your email at specific times, your am/pm routines, delegating, etc. Creating a system will help keep you efficient.
8: Stop confusing productivity with laziness
Pozin says that sheer laziness is the number one contributor to lost productivity. It's very easy to be lazy. It's the natural state of man. I counter laziness by setting rewards for accomplishment. If I finish this task, then I get to go play a game or have a date with my wife. Give yourself something to look forward to - that will help you get it done quickly.
9: Stop multitasking
The Forbes article says that they've found changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points. Other studies I've seen show that people who multitask have the same IQ as someone doing drugs. Not cool. Stop multitasking. Do one task, stay fully present, and then move to the next thing. That's how you grow. If you're not 100% present while you're doing something, you're not growing, you're just doing it to get it done. That's a job. You don't' want to turn your dreams into a job. Allow yourself to grow by being present in all that you do.
Pick one of these things to focus on and implement it. Post what you're doing in our Facebook group. We'd love to hear what you're working on and how we can serve you.