No matter which industry you’re in, whether you’re an executive or an entrepreneur, it seems that everyone is plagued with the same problem – lack of time. 24 hours in a day and 5 working days (for most) in a week, and yet we just can’t seem to finish everything we need to get done. Where does all the time go? Honestly, it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s there; It’s just our inability to make full use of it that makes us feel like time is never enough when it comes to work. Learn to maximize your time and level up on your productivity to get more done!
Start by hacking your brain.
It’s not a big secret that the brain controls every aspect of your life, from ensuring that your body functions normally to making complicated decisions. Every action is rooted in our brain. It is then natural that we can start increasing our productivity levels by first looking at our brains and minds.
Personally, I use a method called a “priority mindset” in both my professional and personal lives. Simply put, a priority mindset is exactly what it sounds like it is – figuring out my priorities and working on them first. There are always going to be more important and urgent tasks, and the less important ones. All it takes is 15 minutes at the start of every day to figure out the things that should take priority over others during the course of your day. And by focusing on what really matters and completing them first, everything else would just naturally seem to fall into place.
Since we’re on the topic of focus. Here’s a little pro-tip: It pays to focus on administrative projects first! Having worked with many different businesses and industries, I found that many companies make the same mistake of overlooking the administrative part of running their businesses. When given a choice between quickly increasing cash flow through expanding on sales efforts, or giving the business some sense of organization and structure through working on administrative processes, most people would choose the former. Investing in administrative projects early on in the game can go a long way in ensuring continued growth and success for your company.
Hack your working environment.
Tailor your workspace. Some people work better in distraction-free cubicles, while others work better in spacious, bright rooms. Believe it or not, a study from the University of Texas has been published that colors do, in fact, affect our productivity levels. It has been a widely adopted belief that colors can affect our overall mood, so it doesn’t seem too far off that they can also influence our output. If you don’t have the luxury of experimenting with colors in your work space, here’s a great article to help you figure out your most productive hue: How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity
I don’t know about most people, but I most definitely cannot concentrate on work in a crowded or noisy environment. If you find that you are able to focus better with some music playing in the background, or perhaps sounds of nature or gushing waves gets you in the zone, you’ll find soundscaping useful. Working effectively with white noise or at atmospheric sounds in the background has been around for years, but everyone works differently. All you need to do is to figure out which soundscape helps you work better.
Of course, if we’re talking about productivity and working environment, we can’t leave out decluttering. Clutter in and around the workspace naturally means drifting minds. And drifting minds are chief productivity killers! Push these distracting thoughts out by removing clutter and not even allowing your mind to wander in the first place.
Hack through your workday.
This should be common sense by now, but it doesn’t hurt for a little refresher. There is a reason why to-do lists are inherently linked to productivity – they actually work! Make a list of everything you have to do in a day, prioritize them according to which is more important and urgent, and then do them. Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been around for years and I still find that his explanation and elaboration on how to categorize and prioritize the list of to-do tasks makes the most sense.
Don’t start your day checking emails. Checking emails first thing is the morning is a mistake most people make. You ended your previous work day with a mental note on the list of things you need to get done the next day. And work emails usually mean that more tasks will be added to your to-do list. Why let someone else tell you what should be important and completed first? Finish off the top priorities on your to-do list before checking your email. Or even better, give yourself a fixed window by only checking them during your lunch break.
Saying “yes” is so much easier than saying “no”. But while saying no may seem negative, learning how to say no can turn out to be a powerful skill to have. Say no to things that don’t warrant your immediate attention, say no to people who are trying to undermine your efficiency, and say no to anything that will prove to be counterproductive.
Get help when you need it. You are only one person and one person can only do so much. No amount of additional resources can help you to accomplish every single thing that needs to get done, unless it is the resource of an additional person. This person also comes with additional hands, additional time, additional brainpower, and most likely their own set of additional resources. Figure out what warrants your attention the most urgently and what can only be done by you, then delegate the rest if you can. The ability to delegate is one of the most understated skills of a great manager/boss. Effective delegating can also help your business to grow in the long run.
Leveling up your productivity is really not that hard. While some tips are common sense, and others are a little more advanced, mix and match a few of them or combine everything to help you hack away at your distractions, and get down to work!
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