“Productivity is not just about doing more. It is about creating more impact with less work.”—Prerna Malik
Stressed out? Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? Being productive translates into striking a better life-work balance in most of the cases. Learn how to mitigate the little devils called stressors that drain our efficiency and our life-force.
Be it your work or personal life, productivity plays an important role in making you successful at both. Grappling with the challenges of a competitive work environment, in addition to juggling a multitude of chores at home, you need to be productive.
You need to keep pace with the rat race, while still being able to spare yourself those rare and luxurious moments of reprieve and leisure every day. With so many distractions around you, you can end up putting in hours at a task that would otherwise have taken mere minutes to get done.
To help you stay productive and positive about your life, here are 10 effective but simple productivity hacks. It can help bring your work life, and in turn your inner peace, back on track.
1. Every Minute Counts
Crystal Paine sums it up brilliantly when she says, “If you want to be more productive, you need to become a master of your minutes.” Successful people know this secret very well. They break down their day into hours and minutes and make the most of their time.
Lost time can never be reclaimed, and each minute that you squander away in a day translates into one less minute for completing your tasks at hand. Focus on one thing at a time because when you multitask, most of the time is wasted in switching between the tasks. That hampers your productivity instead of boosting it.
2. Avoid Meetings
“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” – Thomas Sowell
You will be surprised to know that meetings are the biggest productivity killers in any workplace. According to a survey by Salary.com, 47% of participants think that useless and redundant meetings don’t do more than waste their time.
Every year, 37 billion dollars are spent on these useless meetings. In short, if you want to be productive, you need to avoid meetings altogether or at least minimize the time you spend on these meetings. Only attend meetings that have a clear agenda which had been conveyed to the participants well in advance.
3. Organize Your Email inbox and Check it once
According to statistics, unnecessary emails can cost you $1800 in terms of annual productivity cost per employee. Yes, you read that right; $1800!To add insult to the injury, it takes at least 16 minutes for an employee to refocus after handling emails, especially after being bombarded by a deluge of spam.
You can easily stay productive at work by organizing your email inbox. Batch together emails and neatly arrange them into folders and categories. This will help you quickly respond to emails and save hours.
Instead of checking your emails multiple times during the day, make a routine of checking your email inbox at the beginning or end of the day. Learn how to write ridiculously great emails and make your life clutter-free.
4. Take Multiple Breaks during the Day
Tom Rath, the bestselling author and employee engagement consultant, shed some light on the importance of taking regular breaks throughout the day.
He said, “Don’t fret over the fact that taking 20-minute breaks throughout your workday might ruin your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue.”
Take 20-minute breaks after every 90 minutes of work to replenish your energy and feel rejuvenated from inside out.
5. De-clutter Your Desk
“Every minute you spend looking through the clutter, wondering where you put this or that, and being unable to focus because you are not organized, costs you dearly.”—Jean Chatzky
You might have heard this age-old adage on a number of occasions, “Get your house in order”. My friend specializes in brand activation who owns a website design company in Dubai – Branex clears his desk first thing in the morning. Your work desk is your house and you must get it in order to be productive.
Nothing can rain more over your productivity parade than a messy work station. An article published in Forbes elucidated the negative impact a messy desk can have on your productivity and other aspects of your work. Keep things organized so you do not waste time looking for stuff.
6. Make a To-Do List
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, which boasts more than 400 companies to its name, has a great formula for staying productive. He uses a number of To-Do lists to monitor the tasks he has completed and keep track of tasks he needs to do.
He once said, “I have always lived my life by making lists: lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. Each day I work through these lists, and that sequence of calls moves me forward.”
Creating a To-Do list is not difficult anymore, thanks to a plethora of credible To-Do tools available in the market. They will help you keep your work life organized.
7. Defeat Procrastination with the Two Minute Rule
Another enemy of your productivity is procrastination. We have all been guilty of procrastinating throughout our careers, at some point or another. Some might do it rarely while others delve into this deadly sin almost religiously.
Depending on the frequency, your productivity takes a massive hit. Stalling tasks at hand do not only wreak havoc on your productivity at work, it can also ruin your personal life as well.
David Allen, a bestselling author and productivity expert, proposed an ideal solution to resolve the procrastination dilemma once and for all. He proposed a “Two Minute Rule” to conquer deferment.
The Two-minute rule states, “If it takes two or fewer minutes to complete the task, do it now.”
8. Keep Digital Distractions at Bay
Congratulations, you have managed to skimp on meetings and cut down the amount of time spent on checking your email inbox. But is it enough to make your more productive? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
There are many other distractions which can throw you off your focus. These include annoying calls, and the ping of messages and pop up notifications that are almost irresistible. Add social media to the equation, in addition to wasting time in browsing the web, and you will find it a real hassle to achieve your daily, weekly and monthly productivity goals.
You can easily get over this problem by shutting down notifications, avoiding calls and messages, or using your phone only during break times.
By making small tweaks to your daily routine, such as organizing your desk, sorting through your email inbox, and keeping all kinds of distractions at bay, you can do wonders to your productivity both at work and at home.
Avoid multitasking and take breaks to save you from employee burnout and work-related stress. It will also help you stay focused. Value each minute of your day and never waste your time because once wasted, time can never be reclaimed. Last but not the least, avoid procrastination with the two-minute rule.
Which productivity enhancing hacks do you use to stay productive at work or at home despite all the distractions? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
Muneeb Qadar is a veteran branding expert. He currently works for Branex AE and is a professional when it comes to offering companies taut solutions that can make any product a household name.
His treatment of the marketing tactics is instrumental in the success of a product. If you are trying to launch a product and make a name for it in quick time, then Muneeb is the right person to contact.
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