Like many people, I’ve recently become really interested in the art of productivity. If you can master it, it can open up more free time, better work and a general increase in happiness.
You feel great when you’ve had a productive day and crappy when you haven’t.
So I’m on a mission to increase these good days and reduce (or ideally eliminate) the bad ones.
I haven’t yet cracked the code but here are 4 things I’ve learned over the past 6 months.
1. Set a routine
If something feels natural you will do it without even thinking.
If you write 1 blog post every morning at the same time, in the same place you will never have those days where you just ‘didn’t fit it in’. It’ll be like cleaning your teeth (I hope).
2. Learn when YOU are at your most productive
Everybody has a certain time of day they seem to get things done and another where they flag behind.
For me it’s morning. I’m so much more focused in the morning when my energy levels are high and I can concentrate for long periods of time.
Plan your hardest tasks for this time.
And always plan some low energy tasks for your slump.
Towards the end of the day I like to do things like setting up documents for the next day or cutting out 50 images. Just something that is easy and will help save you time during one of your high energy moments.
3. Take breaks.
This is one I’ve only started doing recently; I thought being productive meant working all day, non stop.
An hour lunch break would mean an hour of less work which means getting less done in a day right?
Now during my lunch I make sure I take at least an hour and I go on a bike ride, have lunch and read some of my book. I actually get more done now than when I slogged it out all day.
4. Give yourself room to breath.
This is one I learnt from Marie Poulin’s article: How designing your ideal week can increase your productivity.
You need to massively overestimate how long each task of the day will take you.
Leave yourself plenty of padding for things to go wrong. For example unplanned client calls or even just allowing yourself to finish early (yes, finishing early is allowed!)
I tend to book in half a days work every day and leave the other half completely free.
In that free time I manage to either get all the little tasks on my to-do list done, answer all my emails, work on my own stuff or just do something recreational.
And I feel so productive and happy at the end of the day as my days never end with ‘I didn’t finish everything I set out to do today’.
Instead they finish with ‘I finished everything and then some’.
It feels great.
What about you?
So there are my tips for productivity but I would love to hear yours.
Do you have any tricks that have boosted your productivity that you could share?