11 Tips To Become The Most Productive Person You Know
When you're sitting at your desk come Monday morning, chances are you don't feel like rolling your shoulders, pushing up your sleeves, and showing that to-do list who's boss. But there are ways you can become productive that don't make you want to slowly put your head down on the desk. Rather than spending the majority of your work time talking about The Bachelor on G-Chat and cruising through spring outfit ideas, you can tackle more important things: Like career goals and money maker projects.
But I know that with that comes a lot of work and a lot of effort. And when one just doesn't have the energy to get started, what's a person to do? The thing is, you don't need that magic zap of inspiration to start anything — all you need to do is take the first step, and soon after everything starts falling into place. Once you begin it's a bit hard to stop, so no more looking for the muse in order to be productive. Instead, you could do things like restructure the way you self-talk, create habits around certain processes, and multi-task in a clever way, and your productivity levels will start rising. Below are 11 tips to become the most productive person you know.
1. Create Routines Around Everything You Do
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every time you come into the office, create routines around all the tasks you do in order to save yourself time and mental energy. Entrepreneur writer Kevin Kruse from Forbes pointed out, "Establishing routines around the way you carry out regular tasks makes you more efficient and productive." Have templates for emails, have routines around doing projects, brainstorming ideas, and seeking out new information, and everything will run smoother and easier, allowing you to do more and stay productive.
2. Figure Out Your Optimal Times
Are you the most motivated to tackle those big projects right early in the morning, or do you get a second wind right after lunch? Figure out your most productive times and schedule your hardest projects for those hours. Entrepreneur writer Sujan Patel from entrepreneur site Inc. said, "Figure out your peak times for getting things done. Schedule your high-priority tasks for those times. Schedule less important tasks before and after." That way you won't run into the "but I don't wanna" excuse when it's time to reach for the to-do list.
3. Stop All Those Excuses
When you feel those first pricks of procrastination, get real with yourself and admit that's just you being lazy rather than believing your excuses. Lifestyle writer Kirstin O'Donovan from Lifehack pointed out, "How many excuses do you have and live by each day? ‘I couldn’t do this because…or I don’t have time to do this because…’" Admit that those statements aren't true when they roll through your head, and then get off the couch and start slaying the day.
4. Plan Your Day The Night Before
Rather than taking a chunk of your morning trying to figure out what to do with your day, leave all the planning to the night prior. Matt Mayberry, maximum performance strategist and Entrepreneur contributor, wrote, "When we plan our day the night before, we wake up ready to hit the ground running knowing exactly what has to get done." Give yourself the leg up by having it all planned by the time you wake up.
5. Set Deadlines On Everything
Don't start a task without knowing when the deadline is — by having yourself race the clock, you'll give yourself momentum. Patel offered, "Give yourself a concrete amount of time to make a dent in a large project. Don't focus on whether the project was completed. Just put in the time and watch the progress." By giving yourself challenges like deadlines, you kick your competitive streak into gear and keep yourself pushing forward.
6. Start Thinking In A More Productive Way
Rather than approaching a situation and thinking "Gah, there's just so much to do here," instead flip it to "If I break it up into these tasks, this becomes more manageable," and jump in. Or rather than thinking "I could be doing this instead," think "If I get x, y, and z done, I can wrap it up and go." As O'Donovan observed, "The words and phrases you use immediately empower you or they don’t; they either make you feel better or more stressed." Once you reframe your self-speak, you have the potential to become so much more productive.
7. Focus On Tasks That Help You Grow
While daily housekeeping tasks are unavoidable (looking at you, cluttered email inbox,) make sure you're not burning yourself out by doing just as many menial tasks as important ones. Instead, use a big chunk of your day focusing on tasks and activities that will help you grow. Productivity expert Chris Bailey of self development site A Life of Productivity advised, "Instead of focusing on doing more things, focus on doing the right things. Find tasks that are aligned with what you care about, so you know why you want to accomplish the things you’re doing." It'll be a productivity game changer.
8. Break Tasks Into Smaller Pieces
Rather than being met with a mountain of work that will have you running, break your tasks down into smaller, less intimidating pieces. Kate White editor in chief of Cosmopolitan told Real Simple, "I tend to avoid projects that seem too big, so in order to be productive, I have to cut overwhelming tasks down to size. I do that by working in small increments." So for example, if you have to write, tell yourself you'll only write for half an hour. It sounds so much easier!
9. Get Into The Habit Of Ping-Ponging Ideas
When you're in your head all the time, it can become difficult to see other angles or think of fresher ideas. But when you open yourself up to brainstorm projects or ideas with other people, not only will you get better results but it can get you more excited to roll up your sleeves and get started on what you guys formulated. Patel advised, "Present your ideas and projects to others. They'll have a different angle to bring to the table, and you can use them to brainstorm ideas for improvements that will ultimately save you time." When you feel yourself progressing or starting something really innovative, it'll be hard to slow down.
10. Combine Mindless Tasks With Inspiring Ones
When you're doing boring things like cleaning out your inbox or reorganizing your work station or what have you, link those tasks with inspirational or growth related activities to make the most of your idle time. Bailey explained, "Create a mindless list. Accumulate a list of the mindless activities you do (laundry, cleaning, etc.), and do them all at once while listening to something productive (an audiobook, TED talk, etc.)."
11. Create "Process Goals"
Rather than setting vague goals like "finish project by Tuesday," create process goals that will dictate in what way you'll be reaching the finish line. Bailey explained, "A process goal is what you will actually have to do to achieve a larger goal (e.g. instead of winning a boxing title, you might set a goal to keep your hands up for an entire match)." By setting yourself standards with the goal, you'll cut down on the probability that you'll abandon it with procrastination.
With these tips, you could become the most productive, motivated babe you know.