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How To Increase Productivity Instantly

Boost ProductivityIn today’s era of ‘hyper distraction’ productivity has taken a slump on a global scale. Most people are living in reactive mode as opposed to proactive mode. If you would like to learn how to increase productivity instantly, then look no further! I’ve tried to keep this brief. These are my personal top ten..

1)      Don’t turn on your computer before you know exactly what you’re going to be doing for the day, or at least that morning. If you don’t have a plan, then you’ll waste time before you start. It’s so easy to get lost in distractions when you start your day without a solid plan. The best time to plan your day, is at the end of the previous day. Or rather, plan your following day at the end of your current day! An added bonus is when you plan your following day at the end of your day, then this frees up your mind which helps you relax and sleep.

2)      Never ever open up your email client at the start your day. As above, you’ll immediately get distracted, and before you know it, you’ll have wasted hours of your most precious time of the day. When it comes to emails, check them twice a day in allocated time slots, say between 11am and 12pm and between 4pm and 5pm. Put a note on your Out Of Office saying that you’ll respond between those times. What tends to happen is that people who are seeking your help, will figure it out for themselves. If you’re worried about emergencies, then leave an alternative method for them to contact you. Also, when you respond to people quickly, it’s as if you’re on a leash to everyone trying to contact you, so you’re at their mercy. Most people in today’s world are living in a reactive state rather than in a proactive state – turning your email off for most of the day is a brilliant way to put yourself into a proactive state.

3)      Put yourself into “Airplane Mode”. We live in an age of ‘Hyper Distraction’.  Gone are the days of just people interrupting you, calls, texts and emails, but with our smart phones we now get push notifications from social media sites, coupon sites, businesses and whatever other apps you have on your phone. When you remove these distractions, you put yourself into a proactive approach to your day rather than being in a reactive state.

4)      Work in 60-60-30 chunks of time. Our bodies have natural rhythms that typically cycle every 90-120 minutes. If you therefore work for 50 minutes, then a 10 minute break, then another 50 minutes with a 10 minute break and then a complete detachment from whatever it is you’re doing – and incorporate some food, water and maybe some relaxation exercises, then your body will get a change to naturally renew before starting back refreshed for the next bout of 60-60-30. Better still, use a timer and free yourself of all distractions.  Try it, I dare you! It’s actually quite liberating and you get loads done.

5)      If you’re a business owner, allocate the start of your day to the income-generating tasks of the business – the ones that will give you most leverage in the medium to long-term. These are the creative aspects of your business – marketing and innovation. These are the value-added tasks of the business. Avoid admin at the start of your day – whilst important, it can be completed later when you’re not in your optimum time – or better still, allocate to someone else! At the start of your day, this should be when you feel most energised after a hearty breakfast, maybe some exercise and is typically the most valuable time of day.

6)      Always eat a nutritious breakfast with healthy carbohydrates (carbs) and some kind of protein. When I say healthy carbs I mean to steer clear of “fast carbs” – these are carbs that cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which cause an insulin release and this can cause you to feel very low on mental energy very quickly – among many other negative side effects such as causing your body to store fat. Fast carbs are some of the typical breakfast cereals – like cornflakes, bran flakes, Rice Krispies – and anything with lots of sugar in them. Porridge/ oats are an excellent source of slow-release carbs. In general, stick to brown everything and avoid white and refined bread / pasta / rice (possibly not the best choice for breakfast anyway but you catch my drift!)

7)      Do 20-30 mins of aerobic exercise before you start to work. This doesn’t work for everyone but there’s only one way of finding out whether it works for you or not. For me, I struggled to exercise before work until I was in an environment that was perfect for it – namely by the beach. However, I have always found I’ve been much more productive when I kick start the day with exercise and many highly successful people, such as Richard Branson, attribute their morning exercise to their incredible productivity.

Multitasking8)      Stop multitasking!! Multitasking or “task switching” is evil. It’s been proven to be ineffective where you perform at a lesser degree of accuracy and quality compared with if you were to work on one task with focused attention, until completion before moving on to the next. It has also been proven in a number of different studies that multitasking is damaging to your brain! Our brains were not designed to switch from task to task. Chronic multitaskers have been found to have less ability to concentrate and focus, to be more forgetful, and perform worse at cognitive tasks – ie, it makes them stupid! If multitasking isn’t practical, then allocate times during the day when you schedule your multitasking – preferably during the times when you check and respond to emails.

9)      Manage yourself, not your time. To-do lists are boring – let’s be honest. Where’s the motivation? How do to-do lists get you closer to your goals? When you focus on you, what you want to achieve, your goals and aspirations, then it’s a lot easier to allocate time to the things that are most real and useful to you which will add most value to your life in the medium to long term. Instead of To-Do Lists – try ‘Why-Do Lists’ – and against each task, write why it is that you need to complete that task. Attach each task to an end goal and you’ll procrastinate less and crack on with the task a lot quicker.

10)   Make sure that each day, you are achieving 3 things that get you closer to your goals. If you’re not setting goals, then you really ought to think about it! A lot of people coast through life making incremental changes every now and again, and before they know it, a year has passed, or 5 years, or 10 years – and they’re left wondering where on earth the time has gone and why they’re doing what they’re doing. By setting goals, you create for yourself an action plan. Without goals, you have no destination to head for. And without a destination, how will you get there? 

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  1. […] work because there is no motivation attached to them (as you’ll have seen in last week’s post, How To Increase Your Productivity Instantly), make sure that each day you are managing your focus, and yourself, and getting at least one step […]

  2. […] become one of, if not the biggest, time killers of all time. A while ago I featured a post called How To Increase Productivity Instantly and in the number 2 spot I suggested only checking your emails twice a day, never first thing, say […]

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