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
Setting 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!
This article originally appeared in Ezine Articles.