We’ve all had those days when it seems like you have been busy, but you’ve accomplished very little. We’ve also all had the days when we couldn’t even find the motivation to get started. It would be great if we could find a way of getting more hours out of the day, but sadly, that’s just not going to happen. What you can do, however, is take a look at how you could work and think, if, perhaps, you could work a bit smarter. If you want to get more out of every day and become more productive, read these ten great tips on how to increase productivity.
1. Wake up earlier
We are not saying wake up earlier just so you can spend more time working. Waking up earlier can actually help you get more done in less time. If you get up a bit earlier in the mornings you will have more time to eat a proper breakfast and more time to prepare yourself for the day ahead. You will find that you are far more productive when you are calm, so avoid the mad panic and rush in the mornings and start your day off the right way.
2. Make a plan
This is one of the most useful tips on how to increase productivity. If you get up a bit earlier, you will also be able to spend ten minutes planning out the day ahead and that will help to keep you focused throughout the day. Most people are more productive in the mornings, so plan to do your three most important tasks before lunch. Leave yourself a little bit of leeway in your timings too, so that if one task slips a little bit, the rest can still be completed.
3. Take regular breaks
There have been many studies that have proven that people are more productive when they take breaks. If you try to work your way through a whole day without taking any breaks at all, you will gradually become more and more tired, and less and less productive. Try taking a ten minute break every half hour or so. That’s all it takes to keep your productivity up.
4. Block out the distractions
Next good tip on how to increase productivity is to block out the distractions. Some distractions are unavoidable, but there are many that you could choose not let get in the way of your productivity, and surfing the web is probably one of the most common of those. You start off by taking a quick peek at Facebook, but, before you know it, you’ve spent a whole hour checking out all your friends. If you want to impose a bit of surfing discipline in yourself, there are apps that you can download for free that will block sites like Facebook and Twitter for a set amount of time each day, or even stop you going online at all.
5. Don’t forget to eat and drink
However busy you get, don’t put off lunch and don’t forget to stay hydrated. You can’t expect to very productive if you are hungry and if you have not drunk enough fluids. If you know it’s going to be a hectic day, keep a bottle of water with you, so that you can always get a drink when you need one. If you become dehydrated, you will lose energy very quickly and you won’t be able to concentrate properly.
6. Listen to some background music
Some people find that having some low volume music playing in the background makes them more productive. Classical music seems to be the best choice, but experiment and see what you think. Not everybody can listen to music and work at the same time, though, because some people find that they focus more on the music, than their work.
7. Don’t multitask
Another good tip on how to increase productivity is to avoid multitasking. It’s a total myth that you can get more done if you multitask, so don’t even try it. If you concentrate all your efforts on one task at a time, you will get a lot more done in the course of a day and you will feel a lot less tired when you get home too.
8. Spread out the mundane tasks
When you have a mixture of interesting work that you love doing and boring tasks that you loathe, spread both out through the day, so that you spend alternating periods of time on both. Arranging your workload into chunks of good and bad, it will make the tedious work seem less boring and it will give you something to look forward to every hour or so, as you work your way through the day.
9. Make notes and keep lists
Next great tip on how to increase productivity is to write things down. Don’t let your mind get cluttered with a million and one thoughts, write down all your ideas and to do lists, so you can forget them for now and concentrate on the current task on hand. If you try to keep everything in your head, you’ll end up multitasking and, as we know, that just doesn’t work.
10. Constantly reassess what you are doing
You also need to be aware if a single task is taking far longer than it should and, if it is, you may then need to decide whether or not that task should be taking priority over all the other ones. If one single job looks like it will take you all day, you may have to reprioritise your workload or delegate some tasks, so you need to be flexible with your daily task list sometimes.