By Anubhav Srivastava (Register For His Workshop – Super Confidence For Super Success !)
Do you spend more time worrying about how to get things done instead of actually doing them? Or do you feel you are underutilizing your time and you could get a lot done and accomplish many of your goals much faster only if you learnt how to be more productive. Well here are 12 tried and tested tips to get you going and maximize your output!
Do keep in mind that different things work for different people. If what works for you is the opposite of the points mentioned here, don’t worry, just keep doing it. If, however you are stuck in a rut and are looking for new ways to become the best you can be, read these 12 points on how to be productive in life and most importantly, implement them!
1) Stop Multitasking.
Yes the image above illustrates an apparently multitasking man and yes some people are better at it than others, so if multitasking is what works for you, go for it. But most of the times if you are constantly trying to do 10 different things in the moment, you will not be able to give enough attention to even a single one of them, at least not at maximum efficiency. If multitasking doesn’t work for you then do one thing at a time. It does not matter how long you do it for, whether it is 1 minute, 5 minutes, one hour or 5 hours, just focus on one thing at a time and you will be amazed to see how efficient you become.
2) Set Targets but Follow your Feelings
Identify when you are in the mood to do something and then do it. Yes, this may be a little contradictory to the idea of self discipline when you get up and do things even when you don’t want to, but you don’t need to rely on self discipline all the time. You can follow your feelings. For some people routines work great, for others, they lead to boredom and monotony. If routines don’t work for you then identify then it is ok to randomize things up a bit and do the tasks without adhering to a strict routine.
Let me give you an example. I workout three times a week but adhering myself to working out at the same time on the same day doing the same things would lead to boredom as it has often. So I keep a target of working out three times a week no matter what day or what time I do it. I just do it when I feel like it and meet that target. This approach has worked best for me.
3) Stop Thinking, Start Doing.
Stop thinking about the things you need to do and the desire to do them perfectly. The desire to do things perfectly puts a lot of stress on you and often also leads to procrastination because our brain starts associating that activity with increased stress. Instead, chill out! You do not need to do things perfectly nor do you need to keep stressing about how hard you should be working. Just keep pushing yourself slowly bit by bit and you will see results, even if it is slowly.
This approach is best for lifestyle entrepreneurs or for people who are competing with themselves. If you are a professional athlete or trying to build a business empire, you probably do need to push yourself to the maximum. Again, depends on your priorities.
4) Set points to discuss in a Meeting.
Meetings are an incredible way to waste time sometimes. People just blabber on and on and often do not come to a conclusion or come to a conclusion without actively discussing the reasons why a particular decision should be taken. If you are going to have meetings then set a list of points to be discussed, time allotted to each point and the agenda of the meeting. Remember, it is a meeting to get things done, not a coffee break.
5) Get rid of tasks you do not need to do.
A lot of times in our to do list are not even essential and we just put them in there because somehow putting them in there makes us feel more organized or responsible. The truth is you do not need to do everything, some of it is not even important. Objectively evaluate how important that task is, if it is not very important then stop stressing over it. Either get it done there and then or don’t do it at all. Don’t fret.
6) Do the hard things first.
A major cause of stress is not the task itself, but the process of reminding yourself how you ought to be doing it but are not doing it. That thinking and rumination causes most of the major stress pileup. The more you think about how you should be doing it, the more negative associations your brain makes with that activity because it identifies it as not pleasurable but still extremely important. So stop thinking about how you ought to do it or will do it later in the day. Get the hard things done first and get them out of the way. You will be amazed to see how relaxed you will feel for the rest of the day when you tackle the hard things first.
7) Turn off Phone notifications.
Maybe this particular tip would not have been that useful a few years ago but in the era of smartphones very everyone is getting buzzed about everything every few minutes, whether it is email, news, Whatsapp messages or Facebook notifications, phone notifications are a tremendous productivity killer. Turn off your Phone Wifi or Mobile Data when working. If it is really urgent, the person trying to reach you can call you.
8) Create fake deadlines.
What does a fake deadline mean. A fake deadline means that while you that particular task may not need to actually be completed before a deadline that is given, you create a deadline for yourself before the actual deadline. If you keep the actual date of submission or getting the work in your head as the goal, you are going to pile up considerable stress by working feverishly before the deadline. So create fake deadlines in your own mind and try to accomplish the task within that period of time regardless of when the actual deadline is. Not only will it lead to less stress, you will also have enough time correct a lot of errors that often occur when you finish your work too close to the actual deadline.
9) Break it Up.
A big goal will overwhelm you. Break it up. Just focus on the smaller things every single day and over a period of time the big things will take care of themselves. If your goal is to write a book, then just commit to writing a chapter every day or week, whatever works best for you. That is it, over a period of time it will all add up.
10) Delegate and Automate.
Is it absolutely necessary that you do the tasks yourself? Is your time worth more than the money involved in outsourcing it? Or are there people out there that can do this job much better than you can, thus freeing up most of your time for other activities in exchange for money. Then consider delegating or automating those processes, only do those things yourself that you absolutely cannot afford to delegate to someone else, you are best at and want to retain control over. You will be freeing up a lot of your time to either spend with your family or focus on other essential things to get to your goal faster.
11) Start Timeboxing.
Allot specific time periods and try to do your absolute best within that period. An alternative to focusing on achieving goals in terms of a fixed quantity is that you could set aside an hour every day or a few hours every day and focus on coming out with the maximum possible output within those few hours. If you are writing a book, whether you write one chapter or three is up to you, you just have to do your best. If you are working out, whether you do ten sets or thirty is up to you. The focus is on getting the maximum done within that time period. While I am giving the analogy of writing a book or working out, this same strategy can be applied to virtually all other goals including business goals.
It is amazing how lack of sleep has been glorified by society as if it is something to be proud of. In times of emergency or urgency it is okay to maybe cut back on sleep for a limited period of time, depending on how urgent the job is. But if you constantly sleep below your body’s requirement for week after week and month after month, you are going to burn out, you are NOT going to be at your productive best and you are going to bring on a lot of health risks. What is the point of building an empire if you are going to sacrifice your health for it ? There is also plenty of evidence to support the fact that people are at their creative and productive best when well rested.
A key point here is that everybody’s sleep requirements are different. Some people can get by on 4 hours of sleep, not because they are constantly disciplining them to sleep below their requirement but because that is all their body needs. Others feel that even 7 hours is not enough. Listen to your body, don’t go by the expert rules of how much or how little you should sleep. Your optimum sleeping hours are the amount of hours it takes for you to be sufficiently well rested, whether it is 4 hours or 9 hours.
About the Author
The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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Also check out this cool infographic of this article by 24slides.com