10 brilliant productivity tricks you’ve got to try

The difference between success and mediocrity isn’t some hidden gene or feature of our DNA – more often than not it’s just the difference between getting stuff done and not.

There’s no business guru in the world who doesn’t extol the virtues of hard work. Put in the hours and the results will find you. The only problem is – there often aren’t enough hours in the day – so that financial goal, startup business or promotion always seems just out of reach.

Newsflash:

It doesn’t have to be.

If you could harness every minute of the day and put it into hard and smart work – you’d be firing through your to-do list like never before.

Here’s 10 ways you can boost productivity and put your fate back in your own hands…

Stop multi-tasking

Perhaps you think you can multi-task, perhaps you don’t – but we’re all guilty of giving it a try – sometimes on a daily basis. Try a day without it and see what happens.

Rather than having a day that’s got tasks thrown all over it, allocate each of your tasks a particular timeslot – by doing so you’ll drastically reduce the amount of time it actually takes you to get it done. What’s more, you’ll find that the accuracy of your work is far better too. Multi-tasking is multi-distractions… Make sure you have the right tools in place is a good place to begin, use Word to take notes and Excel to track the time you spend on your projects, if you dont have these then you can grab cheap Microsoft office here.

The difference between success and mediocrity isn’t some hidden gene or feature of our DNA – more often than not it’s just the difference between getting stuff done and not.

There’s no business guru in the world who doesn’t extol the virtues of hard work. Put in the hours and the results will find you. The only problem is – there often aren’t enough hours in the day – so that financial goal, startup business or promotion always seems just out of reach.

Don’t quit your day job

Quitting your job to focus more time on your own venture sounds great- you’re your own boss, the day is your own and you’ve now got 8-12 hours of time you can put into making your dream come true.

But wait.

The vast majority of people who jump ship from their day job find they don’t put the hours they intend into their new project – and why would you? Breathing space might sound good – but you’re better working with some constraints, it’ll make you value your time a LOT more. If you’ve adamant that it’s time to make the jump then go part-time and scale your venture accordingly.

Create a to-do list

There’s no memory that’s better than a pen and a piece of paper. Making a to-do list in the morning gives your day some shape. You’re going to have priority jobs to tick off it ASAP, so mark down the order that you’re going to attack the list in – but don’t go overboard. If you’re still numbering when you get to 24 tasks that a heck of a day – and probably quite demoralising.

Instead, just mark the next two priority tasks you’ve got to get done. When they’re out the way, take a breath and reassess – mark the next two. Take your day one bite at a time.

Bag some easy wins

Although we’ve just suggested knocking off the priority tasks before anything else on your list – you might want to try ticking off a couple of ‘easy wins’ to get you in the mood for productivity.

There’s nothing better than seeing a line go through a couple of tasks before 09:30 – so send that email, make that quick call or fire over that invoice – once you start ticking off tasks you’ll pick up pace…

Clear your head

You might feel like the only person in the world that’s got ‘stuff’ going on outside of work – but believe us, you’re not. The key is trying your best to not let said stuff eat up your energy when you’re working.

Giving the outside world some order often helps. Why not make a to-do list for the real world? Keep it just out of sight but know it’s there and add to it if something sneaks into your brain and starts to worry you. You can’t always live in the ‘now’ – but you can defer tasks until a point when you can realistically deal with them.

Don’t aim for perfect

Perfectionists of the world unite! It can be hard to not give a task your absolute all and end up with a perfectly polished product that would impress any CEO on the planet – but if it’s just the lunchtime sandwich order – it probably doesn’t need the much attention!

Being a perfectionist is shown to reduce your output by somewhere around 50% – so start trying to do work that’s good enough – rather than perfect. People can always come back to you and ask for tweaks – and in the meantime, you’re ticking 3 more things off your to-do list.

Plan – then execute

If you’ve got a habit of ‘making it up as you go along’ you’ll often find that you end up taking a lot longer to do things than if you’d created and worked from a simple plan.

Instead of steaming in – take time to consider the task at hand. Plan what you’re doing, find some resources, talk to the right people – THEN start the task. You’ll find that a good piece of work comes together far easier and quicker if you’ve got a good blueprint.

Plan meetings early

Ever find yourself not starting a task because you’re leaving for a meeting/taking an important call in the next 45 minutes?

Rather than planning important interactions late in the day – get them out of the way early and get back to your desk – that way you won’t find yourself killing precious time.

Stay in the correct mindset

This one’s particularly for you creative types out there. How easy do you think it would be for a designer to flit between creating marketing material for a new crèche that’s opening and a tour poster for a Danish thrash metal band?

Okay, extreme example – but if you’re in the right mindset for the task at hand, see that through before you try to chameleon into the mindset needed for your next job!

Have a ‘brain-splurge’ pad

Isn’t it amazing how we can’t get started on important work tasks yet we can instantly spend time being fascinated by what the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air look like now? The good news is, you don’t have to forget these little gems of ideas that sneak into your day – you just have to put them off until you’ve got the time to actually do them!

Get a notepad and write down every timewasting task you think of doing through the day. Not only do you then have something to refer back to later – but it also makes you increasingly aware of how distracted you can be – and awareness is always the key to change!

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