There are only so many hours in a day, so making the most out of your day is critical. You can either put in more hours of work or work smarter to get things done faster.
There are numerous ways to improve your productivity with smart-working tips and hacks, here are the ones that are the most important:
1. Avoid Multitasking
Most people think multitasking is doing two or more things at the same time, but research has proven that our brain can’t actually handle multiple tasks at once. What we are actually doing is simply switching from a task to another — back and forth.
By switching between tasks, our brain needs more energy to recall the memory of one task, and then the other. Multitasking actually does more harm than good to our productivity. It doesn’t only slow you down, it also spends your energy up quicker compared to the time when you’re focused.
To dramatically increase your productivity, avoid multitasking as much as possible. How do you do that?
Establish long-term thinking. Most people who multitask heavily are short-term thinkers. They focus on urgent tasks over important tasks, so they are always rushing, always busy without pondering on their long-term vision and purpose.
Make a priority for each task. To avoid multitasking, prioritize every single task you have at hand. Understand what are the most important things that create the biggest impact and do them first.
Avoid distraction. Research has shown that heavy multitaskers are easily distracted. People who multitask always get distracted by teeny-tiny matters such as unrelated Facebook notifications or unimportant phone calls. To reduce your distraction, get away from them. When you’re working, turn your phone notifications off and stay focused.
2. Plan In Advance
Productive people usually plan things in advance. If you failed to plan, you’re planning to fail. Most of us never take planning seriously.
Having a rough idea of what you’re going to do tomorrow in your mind is not enough. Create a to-do list with what you need to get done with a specific times and deadlines. With this, we can tremendously reduce the chance of forgetting about what we need to do.
Planning is not just about making a to-do list. As I mentioned above, we should always think long-term. Planning is about making your long-term vision and purpose, so you can evaluate them or take action on them further.
3. Do What Matters The Most First
No one stays at his or her peak state through an entire day. Every single human being on earth has limited energy to carry out his or her tasks at hand. Most of us already know about our physical energy, but there is another energy source that we heavily depend on — our willpower.
We depend on willpower to carry out our difficult and undesirable tasks that are necessary to achieve our goals.
— Willpower forces you to workout regularly and practice a healthy diet.
— Willpower pushes your business forward even after multiple rejections.
— Willpower keeps you focused on important activities and resist the temptation of unrelated (but fun) stuff.
Clearly, willpower is one of the ingredients for us to achieve success, while at the same time making us more productive. But most of us aren’t aware that willpower is like a muscle, it will get tired or low after extensive use without rest.
With that said, take some good rest (from time to time during a task) and get proper sleep (every day). Most importantly, do what matters the first thing in the morning (or afternoon if you usually start your day late).
So, instead of checking your inbox, call your prospect clients first. Instead of watching the news, read 20 pages of any book first. Instead of hanging out with friends, hit the gym first.
4. Build Habits
If you aren’t aware yet, all of us are carrying out some daily tasks on autopilot. There are only about 10% to 30% of daily activities that are carried out under our conscious decision making.
In another word, 70% to 90% of things we do are run under autopilot without us thinking about it. That’s the power of habits! The truth is that habits can build us up, at the same time destroy us.
Take a closer look at your daily schedule and observe your daily habits. Are the majority of your habits making you more productive and leading you toward your goals? Or actually, are they tearing you apart from the inside physically and mentally?
To boost your productivity, start nurturing and practicing good habits that push you forward to your desired direction.
Make those important tasks are on autopilot, so you can have more energy to focus on tasks that are even more important.
One suggestion for you is to start small. Start from reading 10 pages, making one sale call, or jogging for 15 minutes. Make it effortless to start so you have a grip on them quickly, it’s more likely for your new habit to stick if you unconsciously perceive it’s easy.
5. Bring it all together
As a conclusion, the best way to boost your productivity is not to get a lot of things done in less time (at the same time), but to get clear on the most important things at every moment and do them with focus (and speed).
Never forget to focus on the quality of your work, double check on your direction, while you’re trying to speed things up.