If your energy, focus or motivation is dropping or if you simply want to pump up your productivity… theses handy-dandy tips will keep you on-point when you are tempted to do otherwise.
1. This first one requires no extra effort on your part and is one of the easiest to implement: Guard Your Schedule. The quickest way to get off focus and limit productivity is to allow other things to distract you from your set priorities. Some things will inevitably require immediate attention. However, outside of those things, guard your schedule like a lioness would guard her cub. Treat your time as if you are paying yourself and commit to your personal schedule or plan. In the end you’ll be happy you did.
2. Create a Routine. There are basics all of us have to get done in the course of a normal week or month… cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, groceries, etc. Sometimes these tasks can eat significant amounts of our time, if we aren’t careful.
A tactic that works for me is giving myself a routine. A specific time frame of 3-4 hours, one day a week(or month) to get all these tasks done. I require myself to complete everything within the set amount of time- no excuses. I jam a lot into this time and needless to say, I’m definitely ready to sit down when I’m done. But, I looove how I feel when I do this consistently!!
My environment stays organized and uncluttered. Because of my routine, l know these things will get done at a set time. So, I don’t think about them or allow those things to divert my attention from other things. Incorporating a set routine for your must-do’s will cut a lot of wasted time, giving you more time and energy to focus on your goals and the stuff that counts.
3. Move your body. Invigorate yourself by taking time to move. It’s one of the best things you can do to refresh yourself physically and mentally. Something simple such as taking a 10 minute walk or doing 30 jumping jacks can amp your energy instantly. The endorphine boost you’ll get from moving will also help you get mentally clear when your done.
4. Just say NO… to TV, that is. About two years ago I decided not to watch any television during weekdays. Initially it was really hard. I realized how much I depended on that square box– which frankly, made me more determined to stop investing time in front of it.
After a while I found myself getting so much done- I actually didn’t think about turning it on. I realized then that television can steal tons of precious time from your life. Momentary entertainment but nothing valuable or lasting. I had to stop investing into something that was not adding real value to my life.
I haven’t cut myself off from the telie totally, but now there is balance. I watch t.v. on the weekend. It has proven to be sufficient for me and has its made a world of difference in my productivity.
5. Cut the unnecessary ‘extra’ stuff in your life. All of the things that are not contributing to what I call your ‘P3J‘ need to go.
P3J stands for: Purpose, Productivity/growth, Peace and Joy.
Limit your time doing things that do not fall within these key categories. Take a few minutes to identify just 5 things you do on a regular basis that add no real value to your life. Try cutting them. See how much more time you have to invest in P3J. Scaling back on ‘stuff’ and focusing energy and time on things that matter will create a space for a more productive you.
6. Consume healthy foods & beverages. It’s hard to focus on a project (or anything, for that matter) when your energy levels fluctuate. One minute your full of energy- then shortly after your sluggish and sleepy. Oftentimes chronic consumption of sugar or heavy starches are the culprit as they can cause blood sugar levels to spike- and then plummet.
Instead of going for that sugary drink during your 3pm slump, try some nuts, veggies or a low sugar, protein-rich green drink. Your energy will be sustaining and you’ll avoid those annoying energy fluctuations.
7. Schedule some fun. Some people have absolutely no problem with this one. But, if you are chroically busy going and doing what needs to get done- it will eventually affect your levels of productivity. It’s important to disconnect from work and do something you enjoy on a regular basis to be your best, most balanced YOU. This one just isn’t optional.
8. Stop making yourself so accessible to others. When people call, text, etc. do you typically stop what you are doing and answer? Doing this scatters focus and will inevitably extend the length of time it takes to complete the task at hand.
Last month I was working on a monthly task I do on a regular basis. It typically only takes me an hour to complete. After taking various calls, checking my texts and walking the pup, I realized my one hour task had turned into a four hour project- just because I stopped my work based on someone elses immediate request.
I had made myself too accessible to everyone and everything else. I made the mistake of taking one call and fell into the trap. The next time someone attempts to contact you when your in the midst of working on something, let it roll to voicemail. Better yet, turn your phone off so you aren’t tempted to take a peek.
If your distractions come from those you live with- try creating a designated time & space just for yourself. I know it may seem impossible and you may get interrupted initially but, if you ignore it and stick to your guns, you can make yourself less accessible and maintain a level of focus. When you care for small children you have a greater feat to battle(God bless you!) , creating a space and place may require doing it at nap time or waking up an hour before the kiddies get up.
9. Get proper sleep. No one works well with they are sleep deprived. And folks who pride themselves on being productive are often the worst offenders. Your brain will be less cluttered and you’ll be more content when you get the proper amount of sleep needed to recharge your battery.
10. Give yourself a break. Rekindle your clarity and ignite your energy by taking mini-breaks during your day. You may be tempted to power through for 5 hours. But, at the end of your worktime you’ll feel less energetic, less focused and probably a bit cranky. Take 10-15 minutes every 2 hours- Get up stretch your legs, refresh your beverage, read a funny article…something. Up your productivity by giving yourself mini-breaks.
11. Eliminate all the meetings. I have attended countless work meetings that proven to be nothing but unproductive. I would spend a majority of the time in those meetings making lists of things I should be doing. Not any more. Now, I pick and choose carefully what I attend. I simply won’t go to some meetings unless 1)There is a clear agenda or 2) I have an ‘out’ (if I see the meeting is going no where). So, if you find yourself caught in more meetings that you’d like- ask a colleague/co-worker for the highlights or ask the organizer to send you the meeting minutes.
Got a favorite productivity booster that’s worked for you?
Share the love and let us know in the comments section below.