The 7 definitive tips to increase your productivity, and work fewer hours
Do you want to know a secret? I, personally, have procrastinated a lot, I have left tasks halfway, and I have wasted a lot of time in jobs that could have been solved in a couple of hours. But, in this life, mistakes (as much as they may hurt) serve to help us improve, to learn, to be stronger.
Today, we want to give you our treasured ancient secrets to increase your productivity, and work fewer hours.
By increasing your productivity you will be able to set priorities and have more free time. Being very clear about what you have to do, in what order and in what way, is the first step to organize your life, your work, and your time.
1. Set what your priorities are
First of all, spend 5 minutes making a list of everything you have to do during the day. From this list, you’ll have to prioritize what is really important.
You have to establish a clear distinction between important things and urgent things because many times we confuse both concepts.
Here’s an example to make it clearer: you may get an email and feel the urge to respond. But is answering this email more important than completing a certain project? Think about it, become aware, and set priorities.
Tidy up the to-do list, and mark all those important tasks in green (or whatever color you prefer, pink as a pig if you want) – make sure you complete them before all other tasks.
Investing a few minutes in the morning will save you many hours of lost time, or accumulated work. This applies to all the things you have to do in your life!
2. Focus on the present: apply mindfulness to your work
Once you have defined your priorities, focus on them and try to complete them one at a time. It is a mistake to confuse “multitasking” with performance. Doing a thousand things at once leads to stressful situations that are emotionally difficult to manage.
Companies like Apple, Google or Nike offer mindfulness workshops to their employees. Mindfulness helps a lot to increase concentration, manage stress, and to have more mental clarity.
When you are doing a specific task, close the other programs and limit yourself to thinking only about what you are doing. Being in the present moment, and being aware of what you are doing, will allow you to process information effectively without letting yourself be messed up by the other inputs that constantly come to you.
For example, imagine you have to write an article about your flagship product. It gathers all the information that is necessary in the same document. Next, turn off, disconnect from the internet, put the phone in airplane mode, and isolate yourself from your peers with music that helps you focus.
Be aware of the text you are going to write, of your body posture, and fully immerse yourself in carrying out the task without being affected or losing concentration by your surroundings.
Although this technique needs a lot of practice, as you practice it, you will see that it is possible to focus only on what you are doing.
3. Spend an hour on your most important task
Your most important task may also be the one that makes you feel less comfortable. It’s normal to feel increased anxiety with important, or difficult tasks, as they involve increased pressure to complete the task satisfactorily.
Many times, this pressure causes us to leave the task for later in the afternoon, or for the last minute. When we have been working for eight hours (or nine, or twelve…), our brain is no longer as active and needs to recharge, so it will possibly be much more difficult for you to carry out your important task (and you’ll postpone it forever).
Spend an hour or an hour and a half each morning doing your important homework. Do not open the email, because if you do, urgent tasks will appear out of nowhere that will cloud you and prevent you from focusing on what really matters.
4. Just because you do something right doesn’t mean it’s important
It is possible that you are very good at writing, and that you prefer to start the day writing pending texts. But you know what? Doing something you’re good at doesn’t mean you’re doing something relevant.
You may have to prepare an important meeting for yourself and you may postpone it because it makes you uncomfortable, or you don’t enjoy it. But what if this meeting will help you achieve your goals?
Don’t do something just because you know you are doing it right, get out of your comfort zone and do it because it is important and significant: because it will make a difference in your professional career.
5. Focus on the results, and open your mind to understand that there are many ways to achieve them
In order to be truly productive and get what you want, you always have to take into account what you want to achieve. Do you want to attract a certain type of customer? Do you want to talk about your product in a webinar of 200 people? Increase your sales?
No matter what your goal is, what does matter is that you always have it in mind and that you open your mind to creativity since there are many ways to achieve those goals and you may not be contemplating them.
Why is it so important to have your goals set? Well, because you have to mentalize that, whatever the cost, you will have to overcome the obstacles that arise to reach them.
It does not matter if it is a simple, or super complicated, and difficult path. Do whatever it takes to reach them.
6. Understand that being more active does not mean being more productive and that you don’t have to carry all the work
Many of us are living in an infinite loop of work, leisure and family life, and are unable to stay put for even a second. We are so unaccustomed to getting bored and enjoying our “not busy” time that we, in a way, enjoy stress and being busy. Why? Well, because we believe that, being busy, means that we are doing more important things and that we’re decent humans being.
But you know what? Being more active does not mean being more productive. Rather than just being focused on doing more, you have to be focused on accomplishing more. And many times these things are not accomplished by working a thousand hours and performing a thousand different activities; rather they are accomplished by focusing on the really important tasks and prioritizing them, NOT just with working like crazy!
We are also usually afraid to outsource our tasks, because we think we can do everything.
Hiring an external service will free us from tasks that do not add value. An example? Seek help so that someone is in charge of carrying all the paperwork for your company or making arrangements. In this way, you will not be investing time in activities that have no return (but that, unfortunately, have to be done). If you are interested in someone who supports you by generating marketing strategies, branding and quality content, do not hesitate to contact us!
7. Leave your comfort zone
And last but not least, learn to challenge yourself constantly. There are many achievements that can only be achieved through a path that can be full of obstacles or discomfort.
It may make you sick having to talk to a customer or supplier, but these kinds of discomforts have to be overcome if we are to achieve our goals.
Get out of your comfort zone and face them. Once we overcome this, it will be much easier to, little by little, accept that our insurmountable task is just one more task to complete.
If you are embarrassed to face a meeting, for example, put on small challenges that help you lose your shyness: stare at the person you are talking to, expose yourself to a small audience, attend networking sessions, or entrepreneurial events.
Intervene, speak, give your opinion, and lose the fear of facing new challenges.
What do you think of these definitive tips to increase your productivity? We would love for you to tell us what your tricks are to be more productive and make the most of your time.
Together we will manage to become more efficient, productive and work fewer hours.