Productivity is a frightening word for many people. If you asked somebody, what PRODUCTIVITY is associated with, you would probably get these false answers; longer work hours, banned coffee breaks, no social networking while working, etc. This false dichotomy is too rampant in our society.
When we talk about work productivity, we need to let go of stereotypical thinking. You and I are both capable of changing our attitude, work process, work environment, build new skill sets, and increase productivity.
In early 1900 Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula, which is known as Pareto Principle, or the 80:20 Rule. This means that with a 20% effort a person can complete 80% of job. By applying this principle in your daily activities, you can optimize your time and efforts on more significant tasks. This will ensure that you achieve more things with less time.
Here are a few tips to boost your productivity:
1. Make TO-DO LIST.
Every morning or the night before, you should create a to-do list for the next day. Your list should not be abstract. You must understand all of your tasks. You also need to be very realistic about your tasks, you’re not going to climb Mount Everest in a single day, write down a list of tasks that can be reasonably achieved tomorrow. When you start your day the next morning, don’t wait to get started on your list. After a tasty breakfast you should head full throttle towards accomplishing your goals for the day.
You should prioritize the tasks on your list. You can start off with the hardest tasks first. You might disagree with this suggestion, however when you get the hardest stuff out-of-the-way first, your life becomes easier. It’s kind of like choosing to go up or down the stairs.
- Do you want to go down the stairs? Great, start the hardest tasks first.
- Do you want to go up the stairs and feel a nice burn in your quads? Good, start with the easiest tasks.
3. Recurrent evaluation.
Employees don’t usually enjoy evaluating themselves, but this is necessary to improve productivity. The Pareto Principle comes in handy here. Evaluation of your tasks and results can show that you spend too much time on tasks that don’t bring adequate benefits. Identify the 20% and focus on it.
Learning new things to boost your productivity will improve your overall work quality. You don’t necessarily have to buy expensive books or training programs. There are plenty of great blogs and videos on the web covering this subject.
Remember: Form your own opinion about the information you consume. Nobody has the golden answer or the perfect way to be productive.
5. Track your time.
Time tracking is quite handy. If you have to do repetitive tasks each day, you should have a rough idea of how long each one takes to accomplish. Time tracking will also help you with planning future projects. Because you know how long something takes, you can predict how much time you’ll need in the future. If you’re working for a client, time tracking is a no-brainer. If you charge by the hour, you should provide your clients with the exact amount of hours you worked. Later on you will save tons of time trying to put together the invoice.
You can try to work 12 hours per day, but you probably won’t reach incredible results. Rest is one of the most important parts of productivity, without it everything is useless. Physiologist Nathaniel Kleitman, who was a pioneer in sleep research and co-discoverer of REM sleep, found that there are five stages of light-to-deep sleep in recurring 90-minute periods.
So how does this finding relate to our productivity? Well, here’s where it gets interesting.
Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University also discovered that – “Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity”. Thus, regular rest will help you refocus and get more energy to do better on your following tasks.
So there you have it. Try to dive deep in work for 90 minutes and then take a 15-30 minute rest.
I hope this article has helped you. Try to implement this information in your life and see if it benefits you. Start with small steps first. There is no reason to apply all of these tips at once, unless you’re up for a challenge. Good luck!