I think that personal productivity has never been as important as it is today. Like never before today’s unstable and hectic working environment demands to achieve more and more with less. The standards are high and the pressure is big. To tackle this challenge requires profound thinking of finding out ways to make ourselves more productive. There are a lot of good tips around this topic and I encourage you to search and find out the best that fits your personality and your circumstances. In order to help you in your search I have listed few that I came across and found them interesting and useful. Hope you will find some good for you.
First of all, have in mind these thoughtful quotes that support my central idea on this topic – it is not just to work harder but rather to work smarter.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. ~ Peter Drucker
Effort isn’t the point, impact is. ~ Seth Godin
It is not the amount of time you have been doing the work; it is the amount of work you put into the time. ~ Tony Schwartz
Start every day right – Exercise first thing in the morning because exercise is energizing. (Research also shows that moderate aerobic exercise can improve your mood for up to 12 hours, too.) …Not only will you get an energy boost, efficiency in the morning sets the stage for the rest of your day. Start your day productively and your entire day will be more productive, too.
Have a single purpose focus – One thing many successful entrepreneurs have in common is the ability to focus on what matters most. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, says, “I keep things focused. The speech I give every day is: ‘This is what we do. Is what we are doing consistent with that, and can it change the world?'” Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com, has this piece of advice: “Pick one thing and do that one thing—and only that one thing—better than anyone else ever could.” We can derive a great deal of power from developing a laser focus on our top business priorities. It’s one of the attributes that sets apart the average businessperson from the more successful one.
Attack the challenging first – Checking email first thing in the morning allows non-essential tasks to steal your focus. Don’t give your finite brain power to the trivial. Keep focused on the difficult and challenging first. Dedicate the first two hours of your day to the most important tasks.
Focus on the critical Few – Eighty five percent of the things you do account for only 15% of your results, and vice versa. Therefore, only work on the critical things and you’ll get there faster and with less effort. Re-think your to-do list. Create a 85/15 list. Write the top priority items at the top. Write the low priority items at the bottom. Throw a line between them. Only work on the top of your list.
Forget about multitasking – Even though we all like the power of being able to do a couple of things simultaneously, you need to remember that our brains and our bodies are not created to properly multitask. We can be much better if we can dedicate our full attention to a single process, and then go on to another, than to try and do both of them at the same time and fail instantly.
Multitasking is a personal-productivity killer. Don’t try to do two things partly well. Do one thing really well.
Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals – Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That’s why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.) So take a break: Get up, go for a walk, have a snack, do something completely different to recharge.
Take breaks – Take a non-productive break instead of getting work done might seem like a waste of time. But there’s evidence that taking occasional, short breaks can help you focus more effectively upon returning to work, especially if you’re having trouble concentrating. Some research has also shown that taking a break when you’re dealing with a particularly difficult problem can also help you get more creative in finding solutions to it.
An effective break involves intentionally (and, ideally, physically) separating yourself from your work for a set period of time — at least 10 minutes or so. Talk to people, eat a snack, get up and walk around, and get your mind off work.
An occasional break might cost you ten minutes of work time, but the benefits — in terms of focus and creativity — are easily worth it.
Take a walk – One type of break is particularly effective: a walk.
One reason is that getting a bit of physical exercise can further increase your creativity upon returning to work. Several different studies have shown that brief periods of walking or other moderate exercise increase people’s problem-solving skills, leading them to approach problems in alternate ways.
If you have access to any sort of green space for a walk, use it. It might seem obvious, but is still worth stating: research shows that people who take brief walks in green areas enjoy tangible benefits, in terms of mood, compared to people who walk in crowded urban areas.
Peak times and Deadlines – Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.
Don’t get paralyzed by perfection – “A career contribution isn’t made in a single ideal moment,” says psychologist and author Art Markman. “It is a collection of good and great moments that add up over time.” The best project is a completed project he says. “It’s easy to get paralyzed by perfection, but it’s better to get something out the door than to hold onto it for a long time hoping to remove every flaw.”
Track your time – Once you start tracking your time (I use Toggl), you’ll be amazed by how much time you spend doing stuff that isn’t productive. You don’t have to get hyper-specific. The info you log can be directional, not precise. Tracking my time is something I just started to do recently. It’s been an eye-opening experience and one that has really helped me focus.
Find “the” app and get the thoughts out of your head – The first step to effective task management is finding an app that works for you. Wunderlist is my favorite and Asana has come highly recommended. It’s crucial to have an effortless way to get the thoughts out of your head and into actionable tasks for yourself and collaborators. That’s where a good app comes in as it evolves itself and remains current to goings-on. I use Wunderlist to manage at least 30 lists, from the tasks I need to complete this week all the way down to the things I have to do before going home for Christmas. When you have a 24/7 approach and a good app you’ll notice time popping up out of nowhere.