3 Ways To Increase Productivity

Become More Productive In Every Area of Your Life

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Do you ever feel that you have too much to do? Like, every day? Yeah. Me too. Getting a handle on my schedule is a never-ending battle. And while I hope you find a few nuggets in this post that will help you take greater control over your own schedule, I think it’s important to get one thing straight from the start… There will never be enough time to do everything we want to do!

It’s true. You know it. I know it. The day will never come when we can honestly say, “There. Absolutely everything is done.” (Honestly, I don’t think we’d know what to do with ourselves in such a situation anyway.) This post does not contain the magic formula for perfect time management. But, I hope it will give you a few practical things you can implement right away to make sure that your days are filled with more of what you want to do and less of what you have to do.

A brief preamble before we begin…

Productivity is: the deliberate, strategic, investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.

The best time management tips of the century won’t do you any good if you aren’t determined to be productive – for some reason.  The reason for why you want to be more productive and why you want to manage your time better is really important because enacting the self-discipline to tightly manage your time must come from a deeply motivating reason. So – let’s start there.

Why do you care about increasing your productivity? If you could spend your day any way you like, how would you spend it? What is your idea of the perfect workday? If you could somehow save 15 or 30 minutes each day, how would you spend that extra time?

For me, the main point of being productive and managing my time more effectively is to be in control of how I spend my life. Quite frankly, I enjoy my life more when I feel in control of my time. I think most of us are happier people when we know what we want and feel capable of achieving it. We are happier still when we are in the process of achieving what we want and know we are achieving it.

3 Ways To Increase Personal Productivity

#1. Create a peak productivity environment

There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your environment works for you rather than against you.

As much as possible, surround yourself with pictures, objects and items that will trigger a positive psychological response. For example, I read about a person who has a plaque on his car dashboard that says: “people are good, business is great, life is terrific.” This is the message he wants to see on his way to work in the morning and on his way back home in the evening.

Is your space disorganized and cluttered? Most of us waste far too much time searching for things and hold on to too much “stuff”. A bit of ruthlessness may be in order here. If you seriously doubt you will need or use it again go ahead and throw it out immediately. If it becomes really important, it will be provided to you again. Clearing out the clutter will make room for you to organize your workspace so that you can conveniently access those things that you need most regularly.

Here’s the bottom line: the space we work in, the way that space is organized, the tools we use, the objects and colors we see, the noises we hear, the smells we smell, all combine to have an impact on our productivity, and on our ability to be productive. Much of this is common sense. Much of it is out of our control. Some of it is just slowing down enough to think about yourself and your reactions to different stimuli. But, as much as is possible … Why not give yourself the advantage of an environment that will support productivity and success?

#2. Stop majoring in the minors

For whatever reason, most of us have a tendency to spend too much time, energy and resources on things that are simply not that important. Just taking care of a “few little things” can zap hours from our day, while our main priorities sit unattended.

One simple way to deal with this is to list your main priorities and then make sure you take actions on those items first. Ask yourself, “If I accomplish only one thing today, what would contribute the greatest value?”

When we are clear about our most important goals and priorities, the organization of how to best spend our time becomes clear. This clarity doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to get through your “to-do” list, of course. But, it does make it much more likely that at the end of the day the things left undone will be the things that don’t matter much.

#3. Take right action

I don’t know of a single successful individual who isn’t goal-directed, and in some way measuring movement toward those goals. It’s difficult to feel productive when your goals and the measurement of those goals are not clearly defined. Simply asking yourself this question can help you be more focused: “Is what I’m doing now moving me measurably closer to my goals?”

Now, let’s be reasonable (and human) and acknowledge that nobody can (or should) be able to say yes to that question all of the time. I’d say that anything beyond a 50% “yes rate” qualifies as peak personal productivity, wouldn’t you agree? Personally, I’ve found that just asking the question has the effect of enhancing my productivity.

Do you have any productivity tips to share? Please add them to the comment section!

Up next, here are 8 ways to save 10 minutes (or more!)

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