There are 5 tips you can employ in order to be on top of your productivity game:
1. Having A Game Plan
The basic principle of productivity is having a game plan. This is accomplished by having effective time-management. If you do not have a game-plan for getting it done, the results will not be satisfying. While procrastination and wasting time impede productivity, lack of effective time-management can be as destructive.
Increasing your productivity and getting things done means having a good game-plan. First, you need to know exactly what must be done. Second, even if you do not have a specific deadline, you must also decide when it must be done. The third step is putting yourself to the task of doing it.
You want to accomplish your goals, whether they are short-term or long-term. You also want to be proud of and satisfied with the results. When you are not content to simply “go with the flow,” and instead take your game-plan seriously every step of the way, you are nearly guaranteed of success, pride, and satisfaction.
Here are the 3 components of an effective game plan:
- Identify What Needs To Be Done
Firstly, you need to know exactly what needs to be done. For instance, if you have been assigned to prepare for a presentation as well as a meeting that will be held within the week. You have to be clear of the tasks at hand.
- Decide When It Must Be Done (Timeline)
Secondly, even if you do not have a specific deadline, you must set a timeframe for the task to be completed. When you have organized your workload, you are less likely to procrastinate and this will help you in prioritizing your tasks as well as managing your time.
- Do It
The third step is putting yourself to the task of doing it. There’s no use of all the planning and organizing if you do not take immediate action in completing the tasks.
2. What Should You Do First?
If you think about back when you were in school, you may remember teachers telling you that the best way to approach homework and other projects was to do the hardest task first. They may have also advised you to tackle the homework subject you disliked the most first, before moving on. This same approach can greatly enhance your productivity today.
Instead of beginning with a task you enjoy, or one which comes easily to you, start with one you dislike, or one which you feel will be quite difficult. At the end of the day, you may be pleasantly surprised with how much you have accomplished. You will also feel that the day has gone much smoother.
The explanation for this is because usually at the start of your day, you have more energy as compared to the end of the day. When you devote this energy to the hardest or most disliked tasks, you will not feel as drained or frustrated in doing them.
Secondly, if you begin with the easier tasks at hand first, you will be looking at your difficult upcoming tasks with negativity. This will no doubt cause your motivation to decline and you will dread the rest of your day.
This approach will increase your productivity. When you do not look at your work day as a long, uphill battle, you will get more accomplished. Getting the tasks you dislike out of the way first, early in the day, will generate better results with all of your tasks. Not only will you get more done, you will be much more satisfied with the outcome of each and every task.
3. Increasing Motivation
Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
We have all heard people say that they were “not motivated” as an excuse for not getting things done. In most cases, this is a polite way of saying that they are lazy. In the real world, where productivity and success are essential, motivation is a key element. If it does not come naturally to you, you need to examine ways to increase your own motivation, and put it into action every day. The more motivated you are, the more things you are able to accomplish.
One of the most practical steps you can adopt to get your motivation up and running is to enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments. Applaud yourself for completing every single task, regardless big or small. While you should not be distracted or side-tracked from your main focus, giving yourself the deserved credit as well as a figurative pat on the back will no doubt increase your motivation.
When you do this, it will also help to increase your stamina. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by one main goal on the horizon, which can leave you tired and stressed, it can make you feel more energetic and better prepared for the next task.
It is easy for a person to lose his sense of motivation when he feels that he is not accomplishing anything. This can result in him not feeling very good about what he does, and even doing less. Fortunately, it is not difficult to reverse this pattern and be back on track. When you get into the habit of feeling glad about every task you complete, and have pride in each and every accomplishment, it will increase your motivation to do even more, and to do better each time.
As motivation and energy are connected, you will also see that you have much more energy for all of the tasks in front of you. No matter how large your ultimate goal happens to be, or how much time and work you need to put into it to accomplish that particular goal, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much more smoothly it all progresses. As both your motivation and your energy increase, you will get more and more done. You will see how great productivity can be each day.
4. Setbacks Are Stepping Stones
Many people take setbacks negatively, and often times your perception towards setbacks is the biggest obstacle and hindrance of productivity. When you focus on how setbacks can only bring you down and does not serve as a stepping-stone for you to move forward, you will end up not doing anything at all.
Setbacks occur in all areas of life. Regardless of what type of job you have, you probably experience them either occasionally or on a regular basis. Setbacks can occur from making mistakes, from not being adequately prepared for what you need to do, or from unexpected problems which are not anyone’s fault. The way you experience and view a setback determines how it will affect you and your productivity.
However a setback occurs, there is one outlook which can prevent it from becoming a roadblock, and actually increase your productivity. Whether the setback was due to an error on your part, or whether it was no one’s fault, refusing to see it as a failure is the first step in getting you back on track.
Another way of viewing setbacks is by perceiving them as an opportunity for you to do better next time. If you have made a mistake on your part, own up to it, correct the mistake and move on. There’s no use of dwelling in the past as these can have repercussions.
You may beat yourself up about the mistake, or even obsess about it. These behaviors are never useful. Not only will they prevent you from getting things done, they will also cause you to feel bad about yourself. At its worst, it can lead you to feel incompetent. This is not the way to get things done.
Viewing each setback as a learning experience is the way to approach. Beating yourself up too much won’t get you anywhere. You should always remind yourself that you are capable of doing better, and capable of doing more. What you need to do is to correct the mistake, move on and make this pattern second nature to you. By doing this, setbacks will not bring you down and hinder your productivity.
5. Taking Care Of Yourself
If there’s one thing we usually neglect to do, is taking care of our own physical wellbeing. If you are like most people, you have probably had the experience of working all night to get something done. You may have gone without sleep, skipped meals, and other important factors in self-care, for the purpose of finishing a task or meeting a deadline. While it is sometimes necessary to do this, neglecting self-care on a regular or frequent basis will backfire. Your health may suffer while you are not accomplishing nearly as much as you had hoped.
Many of us disregard the fact that taking care of our health will also keep us productive. The person who goes without sleep on a regular basis, or relies on junk food instead of eating nutritious meals, will not be physically or mentally up to par. While you may believe that you are giving one hundred percent to your job, these unhealthy habits result in having less to give.
On the other hand, if you take care of yourself; getting sufficient sleep, keeping to a balanced diet, you will in turn contribute more to your work. When you are in top-notch condition, you will focus better, be more alert, and not become fatigued as easily. You will do better, and you will do more.
It is time to examine your lifestyle. Are you constantly depending on coffee or artificial energy boosters to keep you going? How about snacking on junk food? Are you getting enough sleep or are you constantly burning the midnight oil in order to complete your tasks? Try and reflect on these questions and if you find yourself leading an unhealthy lifestyle, it is high time for you to improve on it and observe how this has effected your day to day productivity.
Although nearly everyone is occasionally in the position of skipping a meal or working late into the night, if these have become habits for you it is not likely that they are helping you to become more productive. In fact, they are probably slowing you down.
Even if you have a fast-paced job with many responsibilities and deadlines, neglecting proper self-care is counterproductive. When you begin developing the habit of getting enough sleep and a proper diet, you will be doing more than taking care of yourself. You will get more done, and be more satisfied with the results. Always remember that overworking can backfire!