Improving productivity has long been a priority for both individuals and businesses. Not only does it help you get a step ahead of your competition, it also helps build morale by increasing your sense of accomplishment. In this article, we're going to focus on 9 hacks to increase your productivity.
1. Gain control of your day with "The Rule of Three"
Your day-to-day tasks can get overwhelming and become a nerve-racking ordeal if you don't organize and take complete control over them.
Set your three MITs for the day to boost your productivity.
The Rule of Three is one of the simplest strategies for organizing our priorities and focusing on pulling off the three most important tasks (MIT's) everyday.
Being busy and being productive are two different things and by setting your MITs, you can increase efficiency by reducing time spent on the less important tasks that keep you busy.
I set up my three MITs for the next day before going to bed, so that I can start off my day determined and motivated, knowing exactly what to focus on. At the end of the day, accomplishing my three MITs adds to my enthusiasm for the next day.
2. Set SMART goals
Now that we've discussed about the importance of prioritizing tasks and setting goals let's delve and take a look on how to set SMART goals.
SMART goals help give your work clarity and focus.
Ever feel like you're working hard but not getting anywhere? The sole reason behind it is that we fail to set definitive goals and tend to focus on unrealistic goals which has nothing to do with our ultimate aim.
A recent article by Inc. states that only 8% of people achieve their goals. Seeing SMART goals is an antecedent to success and will help you identify and set clear goals, give you a sense of direction and measure the intended outcome. So make sure that all your goals are set SMART.
3. Stop multi-tasking: focus on one and get it done
Many of us try to save time by working on multiple tasks at once, which often means we keep switching between tasks rather than focusing on one and accomplishing it. Counter to previously common belief, multitasking consumes more of our time and energy than it actually saves.
For instance, let's say you've set your three MITs for the day and have started working towards accomplishing them. It can take a longer time to complete your tasks if you try to handle more than one thing at a time.
4. Set deadlines and stay motivated by self-interest
When there's no definite time set to accomplish specific goals, the temptation to procrastinate work is stronger. Set deadlines for yourself to help pace your work.
Back in our school days, many of us used to stay up late to complete our homework and assignments before sleeping. Knowing we had concrete deadlines (and consequences if we missed them) helped us pace our work and accomplish our tasks.
Now, our home assignments have been replaced with personal goals and work responsibilities, but deadlines can still help motivate us.
5. You need a break: refresh and keep going
Regular breaks in between work are important because they refresh your mind and give you a break from intense concentration. This reduces work stress and helps to maintain motivation throughout the day.
Dr. Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen in their book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, explains that timely breaks can reduce mental stress, boost brain function and keep us focused for a longer period.
They have also mentioned that taking adverse breaks can backfire and make us more susceptible to procrastination by taking breaks more often.
Scrolling through your smartphone at breaks doesn't contribute in a positive way to your productivity, instead you can take a walk and enjoy nature or play brain-boosting puzzle games.
Considering the longer run, if you're working on a particular project for a period make sure that you take a small vacation or break before starting of with the next one.
Re-energize yourself by taking breaks that renews your focus and help you to be more productive.
6. Jot down to remember
If you're of the mentality that you can remember everything and don't need to write things down, you will likely end up with incomplete or forgotten tasks. It's always better to take notes and keep track of tasks, errands, and intended decisions.
Avoid the risk of missing deadlines or forgetting details by noting down everything that's important to remember. Zoho Cliq allows you to take notes easily during routine work and meetings using Notebook.
7. Schedule ideal time for work and personal care
Organize your work time and set your workflow to use your mind to its fullest. Ideal times differ for each person: some may feel more energetic and self-driven during early mornings while others hit their stride in the afternoon. Use your peak alert time for work to accomplish your most important tasks. The Pomodoro technique is one of the best ways to manage your time efficiently and strive ahead with enthusiasm.
It's also important to allow time for self care. Set aside time for yourself because you cannot be productive unless without mental and physical health fitness. Create a self-care schedule for yourself make sure that you follow it because mental and physical health is of prime importance for being productive at work.
8. Automate repetitive tasks
A systematized workflow helps you to be more efficient and productive. Automate all your routine tasks and integrate tools that you currently use with your workspace.
For example, if you're using tools like Todoist to manage your daily tasks and track your project updates, try integrating it with collaboration software like Zoho Cliq so you can easily get in contact with your team and stay up to date on your day-to-day tasks without switching tabs.
Bots and commands in Zoho Cliq help you perform repetitive, everyday tasks and also provide you with instant updates. You can even custom build your own bots and commands in Cliq, and stay updated by setting reminders. The Reminder option in Cliq allows you to convert your messages or tasks into reminders and makes sure that you follow up with your tasks.
9. Start fresh: set and clean up your workspace before starting to work
You spend a large amount of time in your office or home workspace, so it has a significant influence on the way you feel. Keep your workspace clean and tidy to improve your focus; a cluttered workspace can turn your mood pessimistic or distract you from work tasks.
Reduce any stress from trying to finding a report or file in a messy storage space by organizing your drive and structuring it. Likewise, keeping 10 -15 browser tabs open is distracting and will decrease your productivity. Save the pages you need in organized bookmark folders, close all the extra tabs, and focus on one thing at a time.
Putting your productivity to work
We have looked at few hacks which can help you be more productive, the overall emphasis here is that the amount or load of tasks that you carry doesn't matter but what matters is the way you handle it. Work smarter and enhance your productivity.
We hope you found these productivity hacks useful! Try these tips and let us know how they improved your productivity in the comments below.