Top 5 Productivity Habits

Productivity is desirable in all spheres of life. Anything that increases productivity is seen as a must have. Productivity deals with output and efficiency. Productivity really isn’t hard to achieve once you are going about it in the right way. Many factors contribute to productivity, some we control and others are beyond our control. A key to productivity that we all hold is our habits. There are some habits to develop and cherish to be truly productive and some to shun in order to avoid wasting effort. Now, eliminating a bad habit is like trying to get out of a warm, cozy bed on a cold day — very difficult. However, it is worth the effort. When you get to where you need to be with your habits, they will work for you, not against you.

Here are five of the top habits to form in order to achieve high productivity.

  1. Practice preparedness

“Prior, proper preparation prevents poor performance” is not just a nice little alliteration. It works in reality. A practical example of this is turning up for an examination without studying. Of course, those of us with natural ability may get by or even pass with flying colors, but what if you spent the whole night before studying and then turned up without a pen or pencil. Your ability to produce results on that test would be dependent on a prepared classmate or teacher who has an extra pen or pencil. Otherwise, your lack of preparation may result in your inability to take the test or, if you do, time and energy will be wasted trying to get writing material unnecessarily.

Habits that can encourage preparedness include preparing your clothes the day or night before work, school or whatever appointment you have the next day, packing the items you plan to take with you or at least laying them out overnight and even visualizing your primary and alternate route. Try to set up your work area with all the required material prior to beginning work so you don’t have to waste time retrieving materials. This may take a bit of research as well. However, when you begin to form these habits, you will constantly find new ways to prepare and the extra mental effort you put into your activities will often save you physical effort.

2. Time Management

You don’t want to spend all of your time preparing, however. This is where a schedule comes in. A schedule need not be a formal written document but can be a mental guide as to a reasonable amount of time to devote to a particular activity. It helps though to have a written checklist as to the things to do so nothing gets left out. Couple the schedule and/or checklist with reminders so that you get all your tasks done. These guides can be developed on a daily, weekly or project basis.

Time management involves organizing and planning how you will allot your time among your daily or weekly activities. Good time management will ensure that you accomplish more in less time. Practicing to manage your time properly means you will have no problem working within reasonable deadlines and even under pressure.Failure to properly manage your time stunts productivity and is a cause of undue stress.

Proper time management leaves time for fun. Managing your time properly doesn’t mean you are in a straightjacket. Schedule time to catch up with friends, have lunch with your children and even go on a vacation. This is important to prevent burnout. Burnout is a suppressor for high productivity. Managing your fun time gives you something to look forward to, ensures that you get a mental and physical break and prevents you from overdoing it.

3. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is a terrible habit that will rob you of time and opportunity to maximize your productivity. Especially if a task can be done in less than two minutes, do not add it to your already trailing list of things to do. Rushing to accomplish a task is not only bothersome but it is one of the ways tasks don’t get done properly. Remember lost time can never be regained so it’s better to work now and idle later if there’s time.

To give yourself a push in the right direction, you can develop your own little treats or rewards for getting the job done within a certain time. Very soon, you will function optimally, solely on the satisfaction that results. Ask someone to check up on you if you doubt your ability to stick to the task. Start small; avoid the urge to undertake the largest tasks first as this can be discouraging. To get motivated use the small tasks even if these are not logically the first in line. Just the feeling that you are getting things done will make your tasks not seem as overwhelming after all.

4. Prioritize

Almost everything in the universe follows a specific order of going from big to small and your daily tasks should be no different. Try filling a can halfway with sand then the other half with rocks. I’m pretty sure you can visualize what would happen. They wouldn’t quite fit cozily. Try doing it the other way. Ah! Perfect! Similarly, to achieve productivity, try to get through the most important tasks first and quickly. Don’t rush, but be efficient about it. That way there is enough time to review and still time for the smaller things; they always seem to work themselves out.

Try to assess things in terms of the value they add and the effort they take. When all else fails, if at all possible, value the task in monetary terms. For example checking emails while typing up my report will not add value to it. However, it may take fifteen minutes of my time.

5. Set Goals

To get there you must first know where you’re going. Goals are like the bite size pieces that you cut your meal into. It would be very difficult to stuff all the food on your plate into your mouth at once. However, a meal can be finished very quickly by eating one mouthful at a time. Productivity is generally measured by results although this is arguable because the result may be out of your control. However, when it is, small measurable achievements can be set and even celebrated. This can give you the drive to keep going, show where you’re lacking and prevent you from burning out.

Dividing your work into manageable portions give you tasks to prioritize and allot your time to. Goal setting supports effective time management. Goal setting keeps your priorities in their proper place and you will less likely procrastinate a small task that is essential for you to achieve your goal.

Productivity is achievable. Being prepared, managing time properly, avoiding procrastination, prioritizing and goal setting are key habits to form to maximize productivity. When you have clear goals in mind you will know how to rank your activities in terms of importance and this will determine how much time you spend on each activity. When you know what you want, how to go about achieving it and how much time it will take you will be inclined to prepare and you will go about achieving your goals without delay step by step. If you checked off all the above habits as your strong points you have managed to master some of the not so secret, secrets to productivity.

Until next time!

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