Increase Productivity With 4 Simple Tools

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Increase Productivity With 4 Simple Tools

Is lack of productivity holding you back from reaching your dream life? None of us is as productive as we would like to be, but we can all improve our productivity and achieve more in our lives. Here are four tools that will help you on that path.

1. Set goals

choicesSetting goals is the single most important tool to increase your productivity. Without goals, you will spend most of your time on busy work, time-killing pursuits and wasted effort. Setting goals allows you to move in the direction you choose and celebrate your progress.

You need to set goals in small, manageable chunks. For example, if you have decided to use article marketing as a tool in your business, set yourself a goal of writing at least one article a day. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up over it, but aim for two the next day.

Setting meaningful, measurable goals is like charting your progress on a map: you can see how far you have traveled towards your end result.

2. Plan Your Day

At the end of each day list 3-5 tasks that you want to accomplish on the following day. I use a free program called Sticky Notes to list these. I keep notes for different groups of tasks, such as Business, Personal, and specific projects.

Each group is on a separate sticky note. When I plan my day I attempt to take tasks from each of the groups: that way they all get dealt with at some time.

Sometimes the items on the Sticky Notes are large tasks, such as Update My Will. If the item looks like it may take more than an hour to complete, I will break it into smaller tasks for the daily plan. In this example, it might consist of Start Updating Will, Continue Updating Will, Complete Updating Will, and these could be detailed out as I go along.

The idea is that each task should take an hour or less.

When I complete a task I remove it from the list. The list is not always empty at the end of the day, so the left-over tasks will carry forward to the next day.

3. Manage Your Time

Some people find it best to divide their day into portions. Each portion might be an hour, for example, and during each hour they set themselves a specific task. Write a blog post, write an article, listen to an inspirational recording. You can change these or add to them to suit your own needs.

This approach to time management comprises structuring your day, so that at the end of the day you have achieved all the tasks you planned for that day. For some of us, this works well. Personally, I find that there are times when I can write fast and effectively and times when I’m just unable to write a single word: I prefer a looser structure.

For productivity, though, make sure that you avoid spending too much time on busy-work and focus on the productive work. If you’re not up to a productive task, take a few minute’s break – you cannot work hard at productive tasks all day. If you’re working on the computer, use that time to get away from the computer for a while.

4. Manage Busy Work

This raises the question of what to do about busy work? Some of it is unavoidable: preparing taxes, balancing checkbooks, answering e-mails come to mind. Plan to take a break from productive work every now and then to work on these tasks – just don’t let them displace more productive tasks.

Use these four tools and see how much more productive you become!

To power up your productivity, take the free e-course at Dynamic Productivity Institute. When you complete that course, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals and creating the dream life you’ve always wanted!

Dynamic ProductivityH

This article originally appeared in Ezine Articles.

Alan Jenkin

Author
Alan Jenkin has posted to several blogs for a number of years. His subjects include health and fitness, running, personal development and internet marketing. He lives in Texas and has a vacation home in the Caribbean, where his hobbies include boating and scuba diving. He is married to best-selling author Billie Willmon Jenkin.

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8 thoughts on “Increase Productivity With 4 Simple Tools

  1. Chery Schmidt

    Hi Alan! Your 4 Productivity tools are right on! Here is something great friend said to me once “You cannot manage time you can only manage yourself in time!” This makes sense HUH? We all have the same amount of time each day, yet it seems somedays I can get so much done yet other days I have nothing scratched off my to do list. Weird HUH? I guess it has a lot to do with what is going on around and inside you. Thanks for sharing Chery :)

    Reply
    1. Alan Jenkin Post author

      Hi Chery –

      That is SO true!

      Sometimes it’s within yourself. I am still recovering from a stomach bug, and find myself really dragging. It’s like I’m firing on 3 of 8 cylinders ;)

      Other times it’s interruptions and unavoidable emergencies or chores. As you ay, all you can really manage is yourself, and sometimes even that is difficult!

      Thanks for the great thoughts.

      Alan

      Reply
    1. Alan Jenkin Post author

      So true, DeAnna. It seems to be part of my nature to overcomplicate things: I find it helpful to keep reminding myself that simple is better :)

      Alan

      Reply
  2. Rachel Lavern

    Hi Alan,

    Unfortunately, I seem to always be engaging in busy work even though I know that it is not the secret to success. I know that I need to ignore the busy and stick with developing content and pursuing projects that matter to my goals. Like many, I don’t always do the things that I know to do.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..Trigger PointsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Alan Jenkin Post author

      That seems to be the toughest challenge, Rachel, and some of it, of course, is essential. Like balancing the checkbook and figuring out the taxes! I find it helps to set aside some time each week for taking care of these things. I work on accounting chores on Sunday, and accept that I won’t get much real work done that day, so once the busy work is out of the way I can relax.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Alan

      Reply
    1. Alan Jenkin Post author

      Hi Rosemary,

      Walks are a great idea. I find I frequently get so “buried” in what I’m doing that I forget to take breaks. A timer helps – there’s a nice free one I use when I need to called Cool Timer.

      Thanks for the comment

      Alan

      Reply

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