Do you feel like you’re always a day behind and struggling to keep up? Or, do you find yourself zoning out and putting off tasks that you should have done yesterday? Life can be constantly distracting and we can lose sight of how to be productive when too many things pull for our attention. If you are tired of feeling behind, here is some helpful advice to boost productivity.
1. You aren’t perfect
Each project or task you execute should be done perfectly, yes? No. Remember you are human. If you are putting off a task, until a more perfect day or when you feel you are more prepared, most likely it will never get done. Outline a plan to complete the task and start taking small steps to move forward. As you do so, you will find it isn’t as difficult as you expected. The hardest step is often just getting started.
2. Separate from technology
Text messaging, social media, and emails can take up your time. These applications are readily available on our smartphones making it easy to check messages and scroll through information during the day. Limit the amount of time you spend responding to messages or checking out your friend’s baby photos. It is easy to get distracted and smartphones are making it even easier, so keep an eye on the amount of time you invest in social sites.
3. Create a game plan
Make a list of your daily action items. Productive people stay motivated by mapping out their “to-do” list and sticking to it. What are your priority items? What can you do now to tackle larger projects? Make your list either first thing in the morning or the night before.
4. Don’t dwell on failure
If you don’t get everything done or run into obstacles, don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals. We all fail in life and these times can be used to evaluate what went wrong and determine where changes need to be made. Focus on what you can learn from your mistakes and modify accordingly.
5. Catch the “ah-ha moments”
Brilliant thoughts often come at inopportune times — in the shower, on your way to work, while running outside. Be sure to store these thoughts in your smartphone or write them down before they completely leave your head.
6. Take time to unwind
I don’t have time to relax. Don’t believe in this mindset. You do and should take time to unwind. This will help you be even more productive. Schedule in free time to visit with family and friends, go to the gym, get outside in nature, and seek activities that help you de-stress.
7. Keep a greater perspective
Life is short and shouldn’t be frustrated with running a million miles an hour. Productive people don’t let days go to waste, but they also stop and smell the roses. Consider the regrets you may have later in life because you kept putting off things you wanted to do today. Have you wanted to learn to play the piano or keep saying you will spend more time with friends and family? Refusing to let these moments pass you by is a respectable habit of productive people.
8. Develop a healthy routine
Skipping breakfast, staying up until 3 AM, and a constant intake of diet soda can all influence your level of productivity. Reinforce a healthy routine by going to bed at a decent hour and waking up early to exercise. Be sure to eat a substantial breakfast and avoid too much junk food or diet soda to help your blood sugar levels stay balanced and help you focus throughout the day. You will create a happier life if you put fundamental health principles first.
9. Seek out productive tools
Just like you would streamline a business with the latest tools to be more efficient, you can also streamline your life. From apps to electronic reminders, there are a variety of tools that can help you be more effective. Take time to organize your time and put things in place before you dive into a project.
10. Focus on solutions
When you run into problems, don’t let it stop you from continuing on. Focus on finding a solution. You will feel in control if you seek out tools or network with individuals who can help you find a solution. Once you solve the problem, you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment and find more courage to continue on.
11. Develop boundaries
Do you always say “yes” to people? This can hurt your productivity and you will become more off balance in trying to reach your own goals. Keep your goals in mind as you offer to take on other projects. Determine if saying yes will help you reach your own goals or put you farther behind. Learn to say “no” when it is necessary or you may become resentful of the situation and get off-track with your professional and personal goals.