Do you want to become more productive? There are many methods and tools you can use for that. Some of them, however, are pretty complicated and take time to apply.
But what if you want to become more productive today, not tomorrow or next week? Then you need something that’s simple and practical – something that you can apply right away.
Here are nine practical ways to become more productive today.
Here is a fact: your productivity depends more on your energy management than time management.
Time management gets a lot of attention, but energy management is actually more important. Why? Because if your energy level is high, then you can get many things done in a small amount of time.
Have you ever felt like you don’t make enough progress despite spending significant time on a task? A likely reason for that is a low energy level, which makes it difficult for you to focus.
A good way to increase your energy level is to exercise in the morning. Even a 15-minute exercise will do. I didn’t have this habit years ago, so I can attest to the difference it makes. It gives me the energy to go through the day with focus and enthusiasm.
You might want to accomplish a lot in your day, but the fact is that your resources are limited. So you need to prioritize. You need to choose the few things that can make the most difference.
Ask yourself: what are the few things that – if I accomplish them – will make me feel productive today? Do them, and then delegate or eliminate the rest.
As Rick Warren once said, “You should say to no to good opportunities so that you can say yes to the great ones.”
3. Allocate an Uninterrupted Block of Time
One important factor for productivity is flow, a state where you get absorbed in the task at hand and lose your sense of time. But flow can only happen if you have a large amount of uninterrupted time.
So make sure that you have such a time. Allocate uninterrupted blocks of time for serious work.
4. Turn Off Notifications
To prevent yourself from getting interrupted, turn off notifications before your work sessions. This includes phone notifications, email notifications, etc.
In my case, I turn off all notifications from instant messaging apps. I check them only when I’m not working. This helps me focus on my tasks.
5. Use a Timer
This might not work for everyone, but my favorite way to help myself focus is using a timer.
The rule is this: when the timer runs, I must work on the task at hand. I may not do other things. Whenever I switch to something else (such as checking emails), I must stop the timer first. This requirement makes me aware of the distraction, and I can usually get back to the task quickly.
An added benefit is that I can measure my productivity. I can see how much productive time I have in a day by looking at the timer.
6. Use a White Noise App
If you are in an environment that has distracting sounds, it’s helpful to use a white noise app. It blocks out the noise in your environment. It has ambient sounds that can help you focus, such as the sounds of rain or sea.
Using such an app can also give you the feeling of being in a new environment. You can feel like you’re in a jungle, boat, or some other place. This can help you feel fresh.
7. Use a Checklist
For routine tasks that you do again and again, it’s a good idea to use a checklist.
Using a checklist has many benefits. For instance, you don’t need to remember all the steps to finish a task so your mind is free for creative thinking.
8. Do the Next Simple Thing
One thing that can prevent you from being productive is feeling overwhelmed. If that happens to you, you might become paralyzed and end up taking no action at all.
To avoid that, you should focus on the next simple thing. Ask yourself: what is the next simple thing I can do to move this project forward? Do it and then ask the question again. With this habit of persistent starting, you will eventually finish the big project.
Remember, the way to eat an elephant is to eat it one bite at a time.
9. Write Down Your Ideas
You may have a lot of ideas during the day. But if you don’t write them down, you might lose them forever. That’s why it’s important that you write down your ideas. Writing down your ideas can help you become more productive.
These tips are simple, but they can increase your productivity. Choose the ones that work for you and apply them. I’m sure you will be happy with the results.
Get smarter in less time: try Blinkist