Whatever your goals are in life, it’s always going to be the case, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you’re going to need to get a large amount of things done on the way to that success. No one becomes successful sitting around just waiting for life to happen.
Therefore, it follows that one of the supreme building blocks of success is mastering the art of time management and productivity. The better you become at effectively managing your time and heightening your level of meaningful output, the higher your potential for success can ultimately rise.
Here are 11 awesome productivity tactics to jump start your productivity that you can even implement starting tomorrow.
Set specific goals that are meaningful to you. Goals are what will drive your productivity. They keep you focused on obtaining something specific. Every action you take should somehow move you towards achieving your goals. If not, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Learn to make effective use of lists. Following along with your goals, lists are THE tool that will help you ensure you are always performing tasks in line with your goals.
If something isn’t going to help you get closer to your goals, then don’t put it on your list to do. Lists will also free your mind from having to story everything you need to work on, freeing up your mind to be able to get things done.
Prioritize intelligently. Always weigh tasks against each other in terms of true impact towards your goals. The larger the impact something has, the higher up your list it should go.
Also know when something isn’t worth doing. If it’s going to have a negligible impact on your goal, or none at all, it’s probably not worth doing. Some things are better left for the birds.
Tackle the tiny tasks first. Tasks that take less than five minutes have a tendency to get put off, because these types of things are often annoyances that we don’t want to do, like a follow-up phone call, a bill we have to pay, or other things that aren’t extremely pleasure-filled.
Well, the longer you put these off, the less likely you are to get them done because you’ll rationalize not doing them by saying “I waited this long. I can wait longer.” These tiny tasks will also get stuck in your subconscious and pop out at any given moment, often disrupting your focus and knocking your productivity off course. If something is going to take less than 5 minutes, just get it out of the way quickly.
Break down large projects. People often have a tendency to not do important projects because important projects are often large in scale. To think this way is very counter-productive because it violates prioritization of getting high ROI projects completed.
When you go about planning your projects, break them down into smaller sub-projects and tasks so they won’t seem so overwhelming. This will allow you to accept that the project isn’t as bad as you think. It’s just a lot of smaller projects combined. This is much easier for you brain to handle.
Mitigate interruptions. Interruptions kill your ability to focus. Avoid them by escaping to a quiet room or closing your door if you can. If you can’t, try to render yourself unbotherable by donning a set of headphones.
If you do get interrupted, don’t shoo someone away that needs you, but also don’t be afraid to tell them you just have a minute to talk because you are working on something important. Often would-be short conversations can turn into 30 minute discussions if not mitigated.
Get in a focus zone. Another key to focus on top of mitigating interruptions is to ensure you are setting your environment up for focus success. Make it so all you can see is what you are working on.
Eliminate your peripheral vision of movement if you can. This will help ensure you don’t get distracted and lose focus. Also make sure you are comfortable. Each time you move, your brain is sending you a message to move, which means it’s not using all of its capacity to find solutions to what you are working on. The more comfortable you can be, the better.
Work hard, but know when to take breaks. Your brain can only focus hard on something for about 20 minutes straight before it starts to get fatigued and productivity starts to flatten out and ultimately diminish after about 30-35 minutes.
It normally takes you a good 10 minutes to get into this zone of focus as well. This means that after about 45 minutes, you hit a wall where you just need a break. Work hard during this 45 minutes, but know that after that amount of time, it’s nearly futile to try to do any focus intensive task. Give your brain a break, and come back to a refreshed mind to do it all again.
Get comfortable with leveraging others. If you try to do everything yourself, you will find that you end up doing mostly busy work. To truly make the best use of your time, learn to leverage others to do less skillful tasks for you.
Your time is valuable, so it’s best spent on high ROI items. Even if you have to pay others to do those things, you come out ahead in the end, because it’s almost always the case that the things you were able to get done in the time it would have taken you otherwise are far more valuable to your goals.
Just get started. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. The same is true for your level of productivity. When you’re feeling unmotivated, sometimes all it takes to get your juices flowing is to just get started. Even if you don’t know where to start, just start doing something.
Eventually you’ll figure it out and you’ll be on your way to getting things done. Otherwise all of that idle time is wasted.
Develop rock-solid systems. Systems and routines and huge for productivity. Anything that is a repeatable task that you can refine and improve over time, make sure you develop a rock-solid system for it. By doing this, you’ll save a significant amount of time each day, and you’ll be highly effective at that specific task because you’ve developed a repeatable system that is proven to get results.
BONUS: Just ship it. Things don’t have to be perfect before they’re done enough to ship. Often times towards the end of a project, the tendency is to nitpick with a fine tooth comb to get every last detail exactly perfect.
Details are important, but this ends up being wasted effort after a certain point. It will end up costing more not to ship something than it will to keep refining it. Know when something is “done enough” and get it out the door!
Many of these productivity tactics and more are explained in much further detail in my newest book, Productivity Success Secrets, now available on Amazon.com. Check it out. I guarantee it’ll change the way you think about time.