Do you ever have one of those days where you just can’t get things done? I do. I used to spend a lot of my time with productivity systems like GTD (Getting Things Done) where I seemed to spend more of my time organizing my to-do lists than actually getting things done. The best planning in the world is pointless if you don’t take action. So whenever you’re in the rut, I’d suggest reviewing these 5 ‘boosters’ to help improve your productivity and take action.
5 Ways To Improve Your Productivity
So here are 5 simple but very powerful strategies that you can use every single day to take action:
1. Focus On Your Top 3 Priorities
Every day, you should focus on your top 3 daily priorities. I recommend getting an early start in the day and completing these before you do anything else. Now that’s not always possible and if that’s the case, I would suggest scheduling time in the day to work on those activities and treating that time just like any meeting that you would schedule with someone else i.e. be committed to the time, start on time, end on time and don’t get distracted by other things during that time.
2. Just Do It For 5 Minutes
Sometimes it’s hard to get started on an activity, especially if it requires you to think or work hard. That’s why we’re so much better at being attracted to and completing mind-numbing tasks that take little effort. It’s easier to complete those and feel a false sense of accomplishment. So I suggest just working on something for 5 minutes. You can do anything for 5 minutes and if you do that, the chances are that you’ll build some momentum and continue working for longer.
3. Work In 25 Minute ‘Bursts’
The most effective pattern that I’ve found for productive behavior is to work for 25 minute ‘bursts’ and then take a 5 minute break (to stretch, walk around, drink water etc.). When we get some momentum, it’s tempting to keep working on something as long as you can, but this can be counter-productive, so take regular breaks. You will get more done and think more clearly with short 25-minute bursts.
4. Focus On Completion, Not Perfection
I am a self-confessed perfectionist. And this habit is really difficult for me to do consistently. But it’s amazing what I can get done when I do focus on completion instead of perfection. I would recommend setting a time limit for you to complete a task. If I have a document to produce at work, it can take me 10 days or 1 hour depending on what the deadline is. And usually, the 10-day version is not that much better than the 1-hour version. So set yourself your own deadlines and force yourself to complete work in less time.
5. Take Action Right Now
Pick an action that you’ve been putting off e.g. writing a report and commit to working on it for 5 minutes. Focus on completion, not perfection. The chances are that the 5 minutes will help build momentum and you may work on the task for even longer. If not, then simply take a short break and repeat the 5-minute process. But whatever you do, take some type of action RIGHT NOW.