You feel like you are super busy all the time, but your productivity has never been lower? If you want to solve this issue, see results instead of procrastination and get more productive than these productivity tips will help you.
13 Productivity Hacks To Get Stuff Done
#1 REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
The easiest step to stop wasting your time is by removing distractions. Declutter your work space, put your phone away and turn off the notifications. If you are not sure about your own distractions you can write a list over the next few days. Find out which things distract you the most and remove them afterwards.
#2 PLAN AHEAD
If you write yourself a to-do-list or you plan your day ahead you will be more likely to actually do your tasks. So prepare yourself a little plan in the evening and I promise you in the next morning you will be way more productive, when you start you day with a clear plan as you would be without it. I mean, who is ready to face their tasks, when you don´t even know where to start with, right?
#3 TINY TASKS
Breaking big to-dos down into little tasks helps a lot to make the starting moment easier. For example writing a hole uni essay doesn´t sound much fun, but if you know that you just research books that you could read about the topic it´s not too hard. It will take you just a few minutes and afterwards you might feel motivated enough to even structure the chapters of your essay. If your break down your tasks in little pieces you´ll be surprised how motivating it is to get them done. And checking of 10 to-do´s per day feels way better than working for a week on just one big essay-task. That way you see your progress and might even feel motivated to finish earlier.
#4 TIME BATCHING
If you have your to-do-list ready and split it in tiny tasks, than have a look, which ones belong in the some category. Look for similar tasks for example all the phone calls you have to do in the upcoming week or all the appointments you have to make and write them down in one category. Schedule one time batch in your calendar, where you do all these calls. That way you don´t have to motivate yourself over and over again to make a call. And believe this trick helped me so much, cause there isn`t anything more annoying to me than making calls. But when I`m already over with the first one, I don`t mind doing a couple more.
So task batching is definitely a good thing, but I would recommend you to not make the groups too big. To make you feel most motivated to start a time batched task it should take 20 to 30 mins maximum. With calls for example it would be max. 5 calls, cause if you look at your to-do-list and see that there are 12 calls waiting for you the time batching won`t help you and make you procrastinate instead. If you have too many things of the same category just open a second time batch a couple of days later, instead of overloading one.
#5 SET A TIMER
The next tips goes together with the tiny tasks and the time batching. If you have your to-do-list ready than set yourself a timer. This motivating technique is called the pomodoro method and it advises you to break down your tasks in 25-minute blocks. Between each block you will get a 5 to 10 minute break and after a few productive blocks you get a 15 to 30 minutes break.
A typical pomodoro session looks like this:
- 4 x 25 minute pomodoros blocks
- 5 to 10 minute short breaks in between
- 15 to 30 minute long break at the end
The technique helps you to have an easier start, as it doesn´t sound as bad to just sit down for 25 minutes to do something. And if you want to stop afterward the first 25 block, that´s totally okay. I´m telling myself pretty often that I have to just try for 25 minutes and if I want to stop afterwards it´s alright, because I did at least a little bit. But the thing is once I´ve actually started, I am so into my project that I don´t want to stop anymore. So if you want to have an easier start and stay more focused than try this method.
#6 USE YOUR TIME WISELY
Sometimes you have to spend your time on meetings, calls or other things that take way more of your time than you want. But you can actually win a lot of time, when you set a time for those tasks as well. For example cut meetings down to 30 minutes, most of the time that is absolutely enough to talk about a topic. And if you have a phone call I recommend you to put a timer on, that makes a loud sound. So if you are already talking for 20 minutes, but the other person is just repeating itself and you need a polite way to stop the talk, than this will help you a lot. As the other one will hear your timer as well, you have an easy and nice way out of the talk.
#7 LEARN TO SAY NO
We all know this and yet we spend our time with doing stuff that we neither enjoy nor does it help us with our own goals. Of course it is always good to help other people and I personally like to do that a lot. If you help a friend, attend an event or celebration party or just say yes to a great opportunity you should obviously do it as long as you enjoy your time. But the things is when these things just make you feel bad and while you are there you wish you could escape, because you really need to do something else instead, than please say no. For your own sanity. Just do it in a respectful way and the more you get used to it, it will get way easier.
This means not only that you should prioritize your main tasks of the day (the 3 most important tasks that you want to get done on that day), but also that you have to prioritize in your life. If you are only spending your time doing things for others (your boss, your family, your friends, your partner etc.) you shouldn´t be surprised, when you loose your energy after a while. It is important to look after yourself and sometimes you have to make the decision to better spend a friday night at home just with yourself, instead of going to a party again, because you need some rest-time. Prioritize smartly and you will be more energized and motivated to face your tasks.
#9 BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC
You might think that you are absolutely capable of writing a to-do-list and maybe you are, but writing it doesn´t automatically mean that you can work good with it afterwards. The better your to-do-list looks like the easier it will be for you to work with it. So the rule number one is to make your tasks as clear and specific as possible. Instead of „doing exercise“ better write down for how long, when and where you want to it.
For example: „going to the gym directly after work for an hour“ or „do the yoga video of person x in the morning“. The more specific you are the easier it will be to actually do it, cause your brain is already used to the thought of it. And when your write down the 3 most important things of the day, prioritize them by importance. Start with number one and really focus on that one task. Don´t multitask ´cause it doesn´t improve your productivity and you will just feel overwhelmed quickly. But you want to be the most productive version of yourself so better concentrate fully on that task. In your break afterwards you can do whatever you want to do and enjoy it fully without a guilty conscience.
#10 CREATE ROUTINES
By creating routines you can increase your productivity a lot. Your mind will not tell you to procrastinate as it´s used to the task already and expects it to happen. So if you have a big goal try to make it a habit. For example when you want to write a book, set a time when you will always sit down to write. Like 30 minutes in the morning before you start your day. The first times it might feel weird and new, but after a while it will become a routine and you will be reaching your goals.
#11 BETTER DONE THAN PERFECT
This is the most important lesson I had to learn in the last months. Instead of wasting your time with unrealistic expectations rather finish a thing. Better concentrate on the progress that you are making and not so much on how great or perfect your result is. It is alright, sure it could get better, with more time. But if you work on it over and over and never finish it, than it´s not really better than not starting at all. So don´t be so hard to yourself and let yourself finish it. It´s alright, and done is way better than perfect.
#12 TAKE A BREAK
Accept that some days will be less productive than others. You might sit down, but you can´t concentrate properly and that is totally okay. Don´t fight it, better give yourself the rest that you deserve and need. If you will fight your mood and try to be productive anyway, you might just create a big blockade and even though you will sit for hours on your to-do-list, you will not get it done anyway. Better give yourself the time you need right now and tomorrow you will feel more energized again. Taking a break and time for yourself is also being productive, cause you take care of yourself and that is the most important thing you can do.
Something that could help you on a bad day is writing down your fears. Pretty often when you want to procrastinate there is an actual reason for it. Find out why you don´t want to do something. Maybe you like writing, but are actually scared of being successfully with it, ´cause that would mean that you have to quit your full time job, which you also like. You might be afraid of the unknown and your own potential scares you.
There can be one hundred things that could stop you. Finding out which they are, can help you understand why your brain is stopping you from doing your tasks. Self-doubt is one of the biggest productivity killers, but you already learned you don´t have to be perfect right from the beginning. Just try to be better than last month. Or the year before. Look at all the progress you already made and concentrate on that instead of the big goal in front of you.
So this are my 13 tips for more clearance and a better productivity. Now I would like to know what are your productivity helpers: do you listen to some music? Do you work with treats or have another great tip that I could learn from?
Have a great and productive day,