We all want to use our time productively. But its not always easy, and as a result, we can often find our time dwindling and our productivity decreasing.
I want to use my time well and I’m guessing you do too. Yet, if you’re similar to me, you’ll sometimes feel that you’re failing to use your time productively and often falling short.
Life’s demands can cause us to feel stretched beyond capacity, so if we want to achieve our goals and be most effective, giving thought to our use of time is even more important.
In view of this I want to share three steps I’ve been practising to increase my productivity from day to day. Hopefully you’ll find them useful too.
#1. For improved productivity review and prioritise your tasks
As well as at regular intervals throughout my day, I’m developing a habit of using 10-15mins each evening to review my daily productivity by asking questions like:
— What have I accomplished?
— What could I have done better?
— What did I do well?
But I don’t just review in the evening. I also ask questions during the day aimed at encouraging me to consider how my actions are moving me towards what’s most important to me.
For example, I might ask, “How is writing this post meeting my goal of influencing positive life change?”
This kind of honest reflection has increased my productivity, and hasn’t been too laborious either. All that’s needed is a little uninterrupted time and some commitment.
#2. To improve your productivity start the night before
Having to think about routine tasks inhibits my productivity takes up brain space. The impact of these tasks, for example, getting my exercise gear ready, can be lessened by giving myself a head start.
In leaving my exercise gear out, I achieve more because my mental focus is given to exercise, not on having to locate my shorts, Gymboss, or trainers.
To improve your productivity, try starting the night before. Put out your gym clothes. Tidy your work space. Cut and soak the vegetables if you’re expecting dinner guests the following afternoon.
Its a simple step to increasing your productivity, but it makes a huge difference.
#3. Improve your productivity by starting with your BIGGEST (ugliest) task first
Mark Twain once said,
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
By your worst task I mean what Brian Tracey describes as your ‘Frog’ in this short video. The idea is that we’re to complete the tasks we’re most likely to procrastinate on first, as they’re often the ones that’ll add most value.
If you’re unsure of what your frogs are, here’s a hint — they’re the things you often least look forward to. It could be making a cold call, initiating a difficult conversation, or meeting an important report deadline.
One of my frogs is doing a killer leg workout, but getting them done gives a sense of achievement which provides motivation for other tasks.
Okay, I’ve shared three simple, yet practical steps towards improving productivity that have been working for me. As a reminder they are:
- I prioritise my to do list the night before and review progress
- I prepare for routine tasks in advance
- I start with the tasks I least look forward to — my frogs!
There are many ways to improve productivity, and what works best will be different for everybody. The important thing is that you give thought to making the best use of your time in order to improve your productivity and effectiveness.
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Over to you
How effective are you with your time and what could you do to increase your productivity? Share your tips in the comments below.
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