Some people wake up at the same time every day, create a to-do list, and start working. These people are able to work in a highly disciplined way. They do more than others could in the same amount of time and they’re highly productive.
Is it important to be highly productive? No. It’s a choice. Productivity helps you make a better version of yourself. Such people are always dreaming, and envisioning where they want to be. Then they work hard to achieve the desired results quickly.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. — Paul J. Meyer
How to become more productive?
But how do they do it? You can do the same if you practice these simple rules. Being highly productive is not rocket science. It’s simply a few techniques that you need to follow religiously. Here are the seven techniques of highly productive people that you can start practicing right away.
1. Keep a to-do list
A to-do list makes you balance your personal life and your work life. When you have a lot on your plate, a to-do list becomes a lifesaver. Create a list of the things you need to get done each day and see just how productive it makes you!
Some people simply use a pen and paper to prepare a list, while some use an application on their mobile device or computer. So selecting a medium to get your things done is completely up to you. Some popular choices at the time of this writing are Todoist, Any do and Remember the Milk.
Just putting down the task alone will not help. Plan your day and give a designated amount of time to each task. When you’ve got a clear agenda in front of you with timelines, you can focus on what’s important and when it needs to be completed.
2. Prioritize your tasks
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities – Stephen Covey
If you analyze the success rate of highly productive people, you’ll see that they divide each project according to their seriousness. Be it a complex or simple project, prioritizing tasks according to priority will help you achieve better results.
You should clearly define “important” and “unimportant” tasks and allocate enough time for important tasks. Don’t lose track of your goals! Make sure to do the important ones first. This disciplined approach ensures that you will do that.
3. Eliminate distractions
Distractions can cause a lot of problems in your life. They can shift your focus off your work, causing you to get behind. According to Gloria Mark at the Department of the Informatics University of California, an average American takes 25 minutes to get settled in at their office and begin working on their first task.
To avoid distractions, turn off notifications from all social media applications and keep your phone off or on silent while working. Due to a lack of interruptions, author David Rock was able to write four books during several flights to Australia and back.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t check your email or social media pages, but keep it minimal. Most highly productive people only check their email 2 or 3 times a day. When you are working, make sure to pay no attention to social media or your email application.
4. Stop multitasking
We’re better off focusing on one task at a time, especially if our work is cognitively demanding. Highly productive people never multitask. One study at the University of London showed that multitasking can also lower your IQ.
Instead of multitasking, identify your most important task and devote your morning time to completing those with high priorities. This will significantly increase your productivity.
5. Say “NO” to procrastination
Procrastination is the root cause of many failed successes and dreams. For many reasons, people tend to postpone and delay tasks and things on hand. This can adversely affect your probability of success. You cannot march towards success by skipping the task forever, so it’s always better to do it today rather than thinking of doing it tomorrow.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. ― Abraham Lincoln
Procrastination happens when you are super busy with unimportant things. When you devote your time to these things, you eventually delay certain important tasks(and delay them, and delay them… you keep on delaying). This will happen very often in the office environment, where your colleague seeks your help or involvement in their tasks. Be assertive and learn to say “NO” to the things that you don’t have time for.
6. Make your meetings shorter
Meetings are essential for collaboration, brainstorming, sharing ideas, and planning. But the meeting will kill productivity if it goes beyond the actual time frame and drags without any positive outcome. Long meetings will make the audience bored and out of focus due to distractions.
Set a clear agenda for your meeting. Stay focused on the agenda and point out if someone goes off track Lead the discussion aligned with your subject and agenda. Reduce your meeting time to thirty minutes and cover everything within that timeframe.
If the subject is too vast take breaks and split the meeting into two or three sessions. Your agenda and topics need to be designed in sessions. This will increase the concentration of attendees, and enhance the focus on the subject being discussed.
7. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is being especially conscious or aware of what’s happening in the current moment. It helps to focus down your thoughts and enhance your creativity and design thinking. Practicing mindfulness can help in concentrating your mind and distraction-free working.
Mindfulness can improve focus and makes planning easier and more effective. It can improve your creativity and helps in determining what is most important. According to one 7-year study, practicing mindfulness meditation is associated with improvement in sustaining focus and attention.
It will take relieve stress about the hectic morning you had, a presentation you have to give this afternoon, or planning what you’ll cook for dinner tonight. Instead, it will let you focus on what you do and think about the present without worrying about the future. By practicing mindfulness, you can reduce stress, anxiety, and boost your productivity by staying super focused.
Productivity is a habit; it is attained with a disciplined way of doing things. It needs to be cultivated and nurtured over time. But if you can succeed in doing these simple techniques, you can increase your productivity and create a good work-life balance throughout your career.