11 simple ways to achieve stress free productivity
Let’s admit it. All of us want to be hyper-productive. Get this done, that done and all those that are queued up in our email inboxes done. But somehow, we never find the time to get things done. Often, we end up getting only half-done or nothing done. The next day begins with high hopes. But life just rinses, repeats and puts us in an endless cycle of too-many-tasks-but-too-little-time.
So, how to become hyper-productive? Here are some 11 dead simple ways:
1. Jump start your day the previous night. Trust me, it works. When you make a mental plan of what you need to do for the next day the previous night, you’re at ease. This can be done even while doing routine tasks like driving or bathing or eating.
2. Set your MITs for the day. MITs are Most Important Tasks. Understand that being busy is not equal to being productive. You can be busy all day, yet fail to do the important tasks for the day. This is why it is crucial to choose and do tasks that make the utmost impact on your work and life. This does not mean having a long to-do list. This means doing important things. Pick up three Most Important Tasks you have for the day and do them. Three is favorable as it neither too much nor too less. Don’t include emailing, networking in your task list. Include only the MITs. Forget the rest.
3. Start with the most difficult task. This is a MUST. If you keep postponing an important task for a later time in the day, you’re going to postpone it for the rest of the week. Start with the most difficult MIT. Let it take all your time. Don’t complain about it. It is the most important. Do it and then, feel relieved.
4. Single-task. Don’t multitask. When you multitask, you wear yourself out and never get anything done properly. Replying to urgent emails or IM is fine, but don’t ever do two, three tasks at a time. It will be scatterbrain-work. Single task, complete the work at hand and move to next. It will reduce your time on a task and also, boost your productivity.
5. Find your power hours: Find the time of day in which you’re at your best. It can be morning or evening or even late night. Do your most important or creative tasks during that time. Push the less important ones to a later time. This is your power time. Make most of it.
6. Email Zen: Keep your inbox clean. Many of us spend all our time checking, replying or searching for emails. Email Zen simply means keeping only the most important mails in your inbox. Instead of piling up clutter, keep a fairly clean inbox. Archive or move to folders all emails that you have replied to or are done with. Too many emails can be a distraction. Keeping a clean inbox can also mean you have done with your tasks or have only a few to do.
7. Declutter. Stick to essentials. Juggling with too many things hardly works. Never keep too many windows open or too many programs running. Stick to the essentials – the task at hand. The rest can be done later. Declutter your desk, desktop and folders. Many productivity gurus say keeping a clean desktop with minimum icons avoids a lot of distraction.
8. Stop doing things that don’t matter. Or matter the least. Don’t spend too much time on things that make the least impact on your work. Networking is critical to business, but it is not everything. It can wait. When you do your most important things perfectly, your business has a smooth sail and you also win your clients’ trust.
9. Breathe. Take breaks. Reward yourself. The most prevalent myth about being productive is working overtime. NO. Productivity is all about getting things done in less time. It is not working over time or playing the night owl. It is making most of available time. So, relax if you’re overdoing things. Take breaks after completing tasks. Reward yourself with a 2-minute walk. Or relax and read a piece for 5 minutes. Reward yourself with your favorite thing. Let it push you to complete your tasks.
10. Beat procrastination. Forget about perfection. Sometimes you procrastinate because you’re afraid of the end result. You want your output to be damn good that you want more time to prepare yourself for doing a difficult task. Beat procrastination now. Tell yourself that you need to do the task only for 10 minutes. Forget about being perfect. You can always edit your work later. Once you start doing the task for 10 minutes, extend it to 30 minutes or more. You will be deep into the task in half an hour or so.
11. Just get started. Keep things simple. Last but most important. Just get started. Just give your most difficult task a try. Treat it as play. Think this is just trial work and you’re going to do it perfectly next time. Once you get started, you don’t need to push anymore. The task pulls you into it. You will end up doing it!
Feel free to share your productivity tips in the comments section. Happy working!
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