Since I was in middle school I was obsessed with productivity, as I wanted to accomplish more in less time, using the resources I had accordingly. I guess the French quote ‘Vivre sans temps mort’ (translated as: live without wasting time) suites me really well. After years of trying different methods, I thought about sharing five of them which really helped me reach the level of performance desired and hopefully will work for you too.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment
1. PLAN IT AHEAD
We tend to lose a lot of time trying to figure out what we have to do when we could already be working on our tasks. Making a list of all the things you have to accomplish tomorrow will give you a sense of control and a boost to your work, as you will know exactly what you need to do. You will stay in touch with your priorities and you’ll be sure you won’t miss anything, minimizing the stress. In this way, you are mentally prepared for your to-do’s.
2.START WITH THE HARDEST ONE
Start with the hardest task (or ‘Eat that frog’ as Brian Tracy would say) although that’s the last thing you want to do in the morning. I know it’s not pleasant at all, but your energy and focus are limited, so you better make the most out of them as long as you still can. If you start with the easy ones, chances are you will not have the patience anymore to do the hard stuff afterward. Completing a tougher task will give you a sense of accomplishment and build your confidence, motivating you to finish all of your tasks.
3. STAY AWAY FROM DISTRACTIONS
You can easily get distracted by different factors and by eliminating them, one by one, you are more prone to stay focused. Distractions can cause errors and some studies even show that it takes you about 25 minutes to get back into the swing after being distracted. How many times have you started doing something and then found yourself scrolling down your phone? If you find it hard to concentrate while your phone is calling for your attention with all those notifications, I will suggest you shut it down, or put it somewhere far from you. That way, there will be no temptations and it will be easier for you to focus.
4. STOP MULTITASKING
Although you think that by multitasking you will be more productive and accomplish more in less time, science suggests that it can decrease your productivity by around 40%. Your attention will have to shift from one thing to another, as your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Our brains are not designed to deal with so many things at once, so we loose focus when we try to multitask and therefore, slow down. Try and make a commitment to yourself next time you are doing anything and give that activity your full undivided attention. Notice the results and compare them to your past behavior. Do you notice any difference?
5. TAKE BREAKS
Breaks are a key component of productivity, as we need to recharge our batteries from time to time. Working non-stop is just not the best formula for everyone, so don’t feel guilty about it. To be able to perform at our full potential, it’s a must to take a break so we can unwind and refuel. Also, taking breaks too often can affect your productivity, as your work will be ruined by distractions. In the beginning, you can try to focus completely for 90 minutes on your task and then take a 10-minute break. If you think that’s too much, go for 60 minutes, or however you think your attention can cope with. Training yourself to focus on something for a larger period of time, will eventually help you develop your patience and stamina.
Let me know if you tried any of these tips and if they worked for you. If you have more suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments! And remember…
Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.