Strategic Ways to be Productive

You are already working hard, here are some ways to work smarter.

  1. Know your big whys. Be clear about your life and business visions to keep you above the daily fray. Align your daily/weekly/monthly goals to your longer-term bigger picture goals and dreams.
  2. Set daily objectives. Setting targets for each day the night before boosts your productivity. In addition to your top “to-do’s”, include the top “to-be’s”; those qualities of mind you’ll bring to the day (e.g., confidence, patience, forgiveness, persistence.)
  3. Do the worst first. By tackling your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning, you set the tone for a productive day. This dissolves the underlying anxiety that comes from deferring till later.
  4. Enforce uninterruptible blocks of time. When you must concentrate, don’t permit any interruptions from others or yourself. Refuse phone calls, drop-in visits, and sneak-peaks at your email until the task is done.
  5. Box your time. Give yourself a fixed time period – 30 minutes works well – to make a dent in a big task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time. Once you get in the flow, its easy to continue.
  6. Set completion targets. When you begin a task, identify the milestone you must reach before you can stop working. For example, when writing a book, decide not to stop until you’ve written at least 500 words. Hit your target no matter what.
  7. Batch similar tasks. Batching your phone calls, emails or errands together lets you knock them out in a single session without the loss of attention from task-switching.
  8. Rise with the roosters. Get up early in the morning (5 a.m-ish?) and get straight to work on your most important task. Early birds can get more done before 8 a.m. than most people do in a full day.
  9. Pick Up the tempo. Deliberately pick up the pace and try to move a little faster than usual. Walk faster. Read faster. Type faster. Finish sooner.
  10. Tame your wild space. Cluttered work environments breed inefficiency. Prune excess papers, books, and whatever else messes with your mind. Colored and labeled file folders can work wonders in improving efficiency.
  11. Respect Pareto. Follow the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule which states the 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus on doing the 20% well and do the noncritical 80% just okay or not at all.
  12. Visualize it as done. Visualize your task as already accomplished. Stick a mental fork in it. Put yourself into an associated emotional state of actually being there. Make it real in your mind and you’ll soon see it in your reality. Okay, I said one dozen, but I’m on a roll so here’s a bonus.
  13. Cultivate flow states. Discover your own secret sauce of getting into a state of relaxed high performance. Meditation, exercise, sufficient sleep and healthy diet all contribute.

Now go get em!

Please add your own favorite productivity tip in the comments section below.


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