It's proven that a detailed to-do list will improve productivity for most people. A typical task list, however, is usually missing some important activities.
I call these little lists the secret sauce to outrageous productivity. Let me know how they work for you!
1. Do something you don't like.
How often do important things continue to fall to the bottom of your list simply because you don't like doing them? List these tasks on sticky-notes, select one a day, and just do it. Don't wait until you're tired at the end of the day. Perform these tasks during your highest energy point.
Meditation isn't just about relaxation; it activates the right side of the brain, which is responsible for creativity and a heightened intuitive sense. Make time to learn and practice simple meditation methods. Otherwise, you're missing an opportunity that some of our most successful leaders consider indispensable.
When you imagine a fabulous outcome, you send signals to a part of the brain that acts like a filter and decides what you do and don't notice. A mere 30 days of focusing on something you want will trigger this filter so you begin to see greater opportunities that you have missed otherwise. Train your brain to think big!
4. Pull a few weeds.
According to a study at the University of Washington, the experience of nature helps to restore the mind from the mental fatigue of work or studies; it contributes to improved work performance and satisfaction. You don't have to make a day of it; just step into the yard or walk to a local park and enjoy a few minutes communing with nature.
5. Listen to music.
Dr.Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly. They also came up with better ideas than those who didn't, because the music improved their mood. Music brings you back to the present, thereby increasing concentration. Time to break out those headsets!
6. Declutter your desk.
Clutter creates stress. It dominates your mind, because it keeps so many things on your radar. You glance over at the stack of invoices you need to pay, for instance, and you instantly feel pressured. Put your stacks away, and you'll feel less overwhelmed, exhausted, and depressed.
When you're stuck or frustrated, get up and move to the music. It takes only a few minutes to release those feel-good endorphins and shift your state. It's amazing how simple it is to reset the brain.
8. Snuggle with your pet.
A recent study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress levels throughout the work day, reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and had a more positive perception of their employer. Invite Fido into the office and indulge in an hourly hug.
9. Open a window.
When researcher Kamal Meattle created a system to increase fresh air in his office building using three commonly available indoor plants, the results were astounding. One of the many benefits was an amazing increase of more than 20 percent in human productivity. Opt for some fresh air and crack a few windows for five or 10 minutes to refresh your office.
10. Take a break from social media.
According to Yale social psychologist John Bargh, our brains attempt to simulate "real work" by refocusing on the completion of mindless tasks, such as doing laundry and checking Facebook notifications. These distractions can trick your brain into releasing the euphoria of "accomplishment" while leaving important tasks incomplete. Fight the urge to engage in these procrastination techniques and stick to the activity that's most important to you.
11. Take a nap.
According to a 2011 Harvard Medical School Study, an entire third of the American population isn't sleeping enough to work at peak function. This costs the economy an estimated $63 billion a year in lost productivity. A restorative nap of 10 to 15 minutes will do wonders to keep your energy on track.
12. Read fiction.
I love diving into a novel during my downtime, yet many people think reading fiction is a waste of time. Not true on a number of levels, but at the very least, fiction expands your mind and improves your imagination. Every entrepreneur could use a little more imagination!