We all want to be more productive, it seems.
Productivity isn't about somebody standing over us with a stopwatch, shouting "Faster! Faster!" like an old cartoon. It's about moving ourselves closer to our goals and helping our team and organization move closer to theirs. It's about working well so we're free at the end of the day to spend time with the people and things we enjoy.
And in today's world, it means successfully fighting the distractions of emails and texts and news alerts and social media. Here are six productivity tips that are easy to implement, focused on helping you minimize distraction:
1. Create a morning ritual.
If you adopt only one idea from this post, make it this one: Get into the habit of waking up 15 or 20 minutes earlier each morning--or even five or 10 minutes if that's all you can handle. Most of us face a day that's fully packed with meetings, deadlines, and distractions; the best time to do the things that are most important is when everything around you is quiet. Whether you spend it reading, planning the day, in prayer or meditation, journaling, exercising, or just sipping your coffee and watching the sun come up, that small investment of time in the early morning will pay off all day long.
2. Be punctual.
Being on time has numerous benefits--at the top of the list, it demonstrates respect for others. Being on time--or better yet, early--always makes a great impression. And if you end up waiting on someone else, you have a few extra minutes to devote to another task or pursuit.
3. Develop a system.
It's hard to focus on the task at hand when you're not even sure why you're doing it. I use these questions with my coaching clients--they can help you not only define your work effectively but also stay connected to its purpose:
4. Unplug distractions.
It's hard to be productive under a barrage of pings and beeps and pop-ups. Even if you don't respond, just trying to tune it all out leaves little energy for doing what you need to be doing. The easiest way to deal with distractions is to unplug them all. If you need to, set an autoreply to let people know you'll be reading and responding to messages at a set time of day.
5. Build a community of support.
You don't have to do it all yourself or be the person who knows everything. Assemble a support team that will free you to concentrate on the tasks you do best. Productivity isn't a solo endeavor--at its best, it means building a strong team.
6. Tune into a source of motivation.
Business, work and even life itself can become very hectic--so much so that it's easy to sometimes feel lost. I always recommend that my clients tune in to something motivational every day. That may mean listening, reading, or viewing something that inspires you, something that will motivate you to work hard and efficiently.
Staying productive is no easy task, and getting things done on time can feel downright unmanageable. It may take a few weeks, but even small changes on your part, consistently applied, can help you become more productive and effective than ever before.