“I’ll start right away, I’ll check Facebook again quickly” – does this idea seem familiar to you?
We all have things that we want or need to do:
- Learn for an exam
- Call an unpleasant customer
- Do a job that is not fun for us
The execution of these things costs time.
Time is a precious commodity.
Whenever we take longer to do an activity than we need, we loose time.
How can you increase your productivity to get things done faster so that you have more time for the things you enjoy?
I provide an answer to this question in this article.
“It is not a little time that we have, but it is a lot of time that we do not use.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Roman philosopher)
In this article you will learn:
– What it means to be productive
– How to organize yourself
– How routines can increase your productivity
– What the Pareto principle is and how you can use it
– How your friends can help you achieve your goals
– What a goldfish has to do with attention
What does it mean to be productive?
We live in a time in which everything demands our attention.
Thanks to smartphones, we are always available.
Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Twitter and Co. are just a few clicks away.
The digital lifestyle has led a goldfish to have a wider attention span than a human being in the western world.
If we want to do an activity, it is often interrupted, e.g. through a quick glance at the smartphone.
The brief glance may be tempting, but it keeps us from the really important things – whatever they may look like.
As a result, we need longer for doing the job and less time for other things.
Ask yourself: How much of your time do you waste every day with Facebook and other distractions?
Being productive means being focused and doing things efficiently.
People tend to constantly do the things they enjoy and avoid things that are not fun for them.
Often it’s the tasks that we do not enjoy, that make us really move forward in our lives.
To do these things anyway, you need one thing above all else: self-discipline.
6 Easy Ways To Increase Your Productivity
We all have habits.
Between 30-50% of our daily trading is determined by habits.
Do they support you in your life or maybe even sabotage you?
Question your habits or become aware of your habits:
- What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
- What’s the first thing you do once you get to work?
- Do you concentrate on your activities or do you distract yourself again and again?
- What is the last productive thing you do every day?
If you want to increase your productivity, be prepared to change your habits or incorporate new habits into your daily routine.
Depending on the habit, it takes an average of 66 days for us to internalize it.
This means that you ideally repeat a routine for 66 days at a time until it has become normal for you.
Especially at the beginning of this time, you will probably have to overcome yourself regularly.
After that, it often goes by itself.
Compare it to a rocket that overcomes Earth’s gravity:
The rocket needs 87% of its fuel within the first two minutes. After that she flies as good as by herself.
As an example of a productive habit, I’ll show you my morning routine.
My first 2 hours of the day look like this on average:
- Wake up
- View the Vision Board (a whiteboard that hangs onto my goals and other inspirational images)
- Bath + dress up
- Drink a glass of water
- Meditate for 12 minutes
- Stretch for 5 minutes
- Prepare coffee
- 15 minutes read
- Write 50 minutes on my book
- Turn on your mobile
What do you think is the most important thing in this list?
I only switch my phone on after having been productive for over an hour.
As a result, I am solid in my day and so quickly throws nothing off track.
(If you thought that the most important thing is waking up and getting up, then of course you are right as well.)
The next tip will give you more examples of productive habits.
Why write everything down, if I can remember everything?
As I took care of more and more projects and occasionally forgot things, I decided to give the organization a chance.
Since my life is well organized, I am 50-100% more productive.
This is because I know exactly what I want to do when.
Besides, I do not have to worry about forgetting something important.
I recommend two things for your organization:
a) A calendar
I assume that you already use a calendar. The advantages are apparent:
- You can enter your appointments
- You always have an insight into your daily routine
- Miss appointments will be impossible (unless you forget to enter them)
- You are reminded of appointments
I recommend the Google Calendar. This is online at any time and synchronization with the calendar of mobile or tablet is easy.
Make sure to schedule time for yourself regularly.
b) A tool to manage your ToDo’s
Everyone has tasks that they want to do.
In order not to forget anything, hold on to these things.
At first it was a combination of handwritten notes and notes in my cell phone.
It quickly degenerated and was quite awkward.
Today I use almost exclusively Trello for my ToDo’s, but there are also other comparable programs, like e.g. Evernote.
Trello is free and uncomplicated. In addition to the browser application, there are apps for smartphone and tablet, so I have access to it anytime.
I organize with a weekly plan.
Every weekend I prepare my planning for the coming week (= productive habit):
What do I have for appointments?
What do I want to do?
This allows me to start working on the ToDo’s directly on Monday, without first having to think about what I want to do.
Learn to prioritize (see Tip 3), otherwise you may be left with little things while the main tasks remain undone.
Every morning, after my morning routine, I look at my ToDo list, to check what is on that day.
The last productive thing I do every day is to prepare the organization for the next day. That takes on average only two minutes.
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle is based on the Italian engineer and economist Vilfredo Pareto.
This means that 80% of the overall results can be achieved with 20% of the total effort.
The remaining 20% of the result requires 80% of the effort. If you do the additional 80%, it soon borders on perfectionism.
The Pareto principle can be applied to many things:
- 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of sales
- 20% of fishermen catch 80% of the fish
- 80% of the time you wear 20% of the things you have in your closet
- 80% of city traffic is on 20% of the roads
- 20% of the employees do 80% of the work
It has since been proven that the Pareto principle is not applicable to everything.
In 2000, about 10% of the world’s population owned 85.2% of the assets.
Nevertheless, the Pareto principle can be transferred to your life. I would like to show you this with an example:
Suppose your goal is to build muscle.
Although there are countless pages on the Internet about this topic, it’s actually quite simple:
Learn and focus on the basics while training, and look for a balanced, high-protein diet.
You do not have to work out in the gym for three hours a day or take expensive supplements.
Focus on the 20% basics.
This will give you 80% of the result.
Learn to prioritize. What are the 20% overheads that are responsible for 80% of your results? Once you know that, focus on getting that 20% done.
Create Awareness: How Often Do You Allow Yourself To Be Distracted
The smartphone is fast gripped, in the browser is quickly opened a new tab with Facebook.
The whole thing often happens automatically.
If we constantly distract ourselves from our activity, it is nothing but a habit.
However, this habit harms our productivity.
These habits are usually unconscious.
To change a habit, the first step is to be aware of this habit: how often do you interrupt your activity to do other things, such as looking at your smartphone or Facebook?
Take a pen and paper and keep a tally to expose them.
For every time you want to distract yourself, you make a line on the list.
It does not matter at which point you notice.
Be it in the meantime or after you feel the impulse or have already given in to it and are back on WhatsApp.
The goal is to create awareness of the distraction.
As soon as you notice the impulse, you can actively counter and not give in to the distraction.
Do Only One Thing!
Especially unpleasant activities, such as calling an annoying customer, we like to postpone and keep interrupting through Facebook etc.
The solution to this is that you make a decision: You can only do this one thing until it’s done.
In the meantime, do not go after any other activity!
Either you work or you waste your time twirling your thumbs or stinging holes in the air.
“When you work, you work. When you play, you play. Do not mix the two. “- Jim Rohn (American author and motivational speaker)
Make it as easy as possible for you and minimize all sources of distraction.
Close your internet browser and put your phone in flight mode (of course not if you’re calling a customer).
If you want to do one thing that takes longer, you have two choices:
You set a time limit in which you want to work productively (for example, 50 minutes of work, 10 minutes break).
Alternatively, you can divide your activity into sections and set intermediate goals.
When you reach your stopover, it’s time for a break.
This is the way I write my articles.
The intermediate goals are the written words or paragraphs.
The Mastermind Group
A mastermind group is a group of people who meet on a regular basis and help each other achieve their goals.
This mastermind group may concern a particular area of life (e.g., work, sports) or all areas of life.
For the beginning, I recommend to look for a mastermind partner, with whom you can go through all areas of your life.
Look for a good friend or a good coach.
Ideally you come together every week.
You coach each other and discuss the last and next week:
What was done last week?
Where were there difficulties?
What was not done or why was not it done?
What should be done next week?
Mutual feedback / tips
First, one partner speaks while the other gives feedback.
After that, you and the partner who gave feedback first, will now be reporting from the past and next week.
Keep writing (Trello, for example) to better control the whole thing next week.
If you are well-established, you should not need more than 30-45 minutes for the Mastermind conversation.
The big advantage of the Mastermind conversation is that you are responsible to another person.
So you can not lie to yourself, according to the claim: “Oh, I’ll just do it next week”.
Unless the task has been completed by the deadline, our mastermind partner will come up with the uncomfortable question of why.
So we are directly confronted with our laziness and can not talk the whole thing beautiful in our heads.
Final Thought: How To Increase Productivity
Time is a precious commodity.
We lose too much of it when we constantly get distracted in our tasks or do not know exactly what to do next.
Being productive means being focused and doing things efficiently and thus saving time.
If you want to increase your productivity, create habits that will support you.
Learn to organize yourself and prioritize your tasks.
Only work on one thing at a time and concentrate on your activity.
Create awareness of the sources of your distraction and how often you give in to it.
Do you have more tips for higher productivity? If so, I would be happy about your comment.
Either way, thanks for reading this article!