Seven tips to painlessly increase your productivity.
Ah, productivity. Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re all bouncing from one priority to the next, feeling overwhelmed and like we’re doing nothing quite well enough? I spent some time researching how to increase my productivity - here, for you, are the best tips I found. What’s really interesting is that they make me feel much happier too.
1. Plan your day
It’s incredibly easy to waste an extraordinary amount of time flitting from one task to the next, all the while your focus half on the task and half overwhelmed by all the other tasks. It’s not only a bad use of time, it’s really REALLY bad for your mental health. So – just don’t do it.
Instead, make a plan.
2. Plan your day the night before, and plan your week on Friday
Planning in advance allows you to take a long view, to prioritise, and not caught up in responding to whomever shouts loudest. It’s such a simple tweak, but it makes a huge difference.
3. Keep the plans succinct and focused
Three to five items is probably about right, but one way or another only list what you can get done in a day. The alternative is just depressing and doesn’t change the outcome.
Make an achievable list, carry forward the things than can wait, and start again tomorrow.
4. Do the tricky stuff when you have most energy
When is different for everyone – but the key is to play to your natural rhythm and your strengths. First thing, late at night, watch how you feel and when you are most energetic – and then schedule your day accordingly (note – most people have a post-lunch slump).
5. Never start with emails and NEVER have an email alert on
This will probably feel radical and uncomfortable – but if you start your day with emails you’ll be bounced around by requests and other’s priorities - and if someone needs you urgently, they’ll get hold of you.
Best to schedule two email sessions - most people find 30-60 minutes each day is sufficient to clear their inbox. This will allow you to focus on other tasks, rather than inefficiently moving from email to activity and back again.
6. You have more time than you think
If you mapped your time – which is a very good exercise which we’’ cover another time – you’ll find lots of little pockets of time which I’ll bet you fill with Instagram and the like. Added up, they’re really valuable. And rather than use them for work (which is a surefire way to feel torn – juggling emails and kids, for example) it’s better to use them for something which makes you feel good. Read a book, do a crossword, meditate. You’ll feel great about being productive and enriched by the activity.
7. Go to bed
Sleep - good sleep – is essential. It doesn’t always happen, and it isn’t always within our gift. But going to bed at a regular time is a really great habit to get in to.
And if you’re struggling, I recommend some Bloom&Blossom pillow spray and one of the myriad meditations on Spotify.