The one who accomplishes 20 tasks a day has the same amount of time as the one accomplishing 3 tasks a day. What you do with your allotted hours determines your progress at the end of the day. You can either invest more hours or increase your productivity by managing your time judiciously.

You can be more productive by learning to convert your time into useful products. It is the right mix of planning, discipline, and the quality of the work that finally determines your ultimate value. It is in your domain to focus on your efforts. A few steps will make it easier and ensure that your efforts are more organized and can increase your productivity.

1. Keep An Eye On The Time You Spend For Each Task And Assert Control

pie chart showing % of people who accurately estimate passage of time

Time has a penchant for slipping by unnoticed and surprisingly, only 17% of us are precisely aware of its passage. Few of us have an inbuilt clock to ensure that each unit of time is productive. Tools such as Rescue Time help you measure the time you apply to each online task, prioritize the order of your work, and the time you devote to it. Be prudent and rational in what you do with the time given. Remember, time flies, but you’re the pilot.

2. Take Time Off

Phone in case and latte on a small coffee table / Photographer: Kim S. Ly | Source: Unsplash

Engines overheat and switching off until they cool down is the only solution. Your mind works best when you give it regular time-outs. It enhances the quality and volume of your performance instead of disrupting your schedules.

3. Set Deadlines

View from above of guy sitting on chair in the middle of  painted clock / Photographer: Kevin Ku | Source: Unsplash

Goals are dreams packaged in deadlines. Missed deadlines are preventable and costly. In our carelessness or laziness, we tend to stretch our tasks to fit the time allotted to it. The only way you can get things done is to make sure that every unit of time works to increase your productivity. Set doable timeframes and stick to it. Taking longer than necessary for a task is a poor example of work discipline.

4. The 2-Minute Rule

Look for tasks that you can achieve in 2 minutes and complete it immediately. Do not put it away for another time. Steve Olenski, the proponent of the rule says that it saves time as you can put the task out of your mind. You don’t have to remember or revert to it. You can thus scale down any task.

5. Execute Ideas, Don’t Discuss Them Forever

Most meetings are an elaborate charade and a shared conspiracy by the participants to shun work. But they continue to infest the workplace. We waste almost 31 invaluable working days each month and $37 billion every year in the U.S. alone on these pointless gatherings. The way out is to decide whether phones, e-mails, and teleconferences can serve the purpose.

6. Standing Meetings

Two people standing at a desk with laptop, coffee, pen and paper on desk / Photographer: Amy Hirschi | Source: Unsplash

If you see no way out of a meeting, go for a standing one. Several points go for it. It includes more involvement, creativity, and performance; less in-group favoritism and bureaucracy. And it is healthy.

7. The Futility Of Multitasking

Multitasking is your computer’s domain. You are not running on Windows. To attempt two things at once is to succeed in neither. Concentrate solely on the task at hand as multitasking brings down your productivity by 40%! Doing several tasks at once ensures that you have started many tasks but completed none.

8. Use Your On-The-Road Time

The time you spend on your daily commute can be better utilized to get a few steps ahead in your work. Since most of us carry the office with us, this should be a great opportunity to save a lot of time.

9. Don’t Be A Perfectionist

We all get stranded while perfecting a task, as perfection is relative. If you keep looking for perfection in every task you take up, neither will you be content nor successful. Take the task to a reasonable conclusion based on your best efforts and move on.

10. Make Exercise A Part Of Your Routine

Close up of feet in sneakers walking up stone steps / Photographer: Bruno Nascimento | Source: Unsplash

Physically active employees always perform better. The time spent on fitness is time well spent as it increases your productivity. Stick to a regime, and a dose of fresh air and a pounding heart could be a better way to increase output.

11. Be Enthusiastic, Not Hypersensitive

It does not mean being excitable; focus and stick to your schedule. Be ardent but not hypersensitive about your work. Don’t react to every new development. It will throw you off your schedule and pin you to the baseline. The web lets you in on every new development, but they should not distract you from the agenda for the day.

12. Go Offline To Maintain Schedules

When busy, turn off your notifications and make it a part of your routine. You should be available only at specific hours each day. Set aside a fixed time to go through your mails. Go off the grid at times to increase your productivity.

13. Follow The 90-Minute Routine

You are stuck in the 12-hour grind with no proper rest in-between and that stretches to at least 6 days a week. That leaves you drained at the end of the day. Elite athletes do best when they perform for not more than 90 minutes at a stretch. The top performers restrict their regime to around 4.5 hours each day. Take a walk to the coffee machine if things get too taxing.

14. Banish The Workplace Blues

Office space with tree and long office bar style table along a window, with one laptop and notebook on it / Photographer: Alesia Kazantceva | Source: Unsplash

A dull and drab office might negatively influence your brain to perform below par. Keeping your surroundings aesthetic and pleasant can increase your productivity. Brighten up your office space with plants, flowers, and pictures and they will give you a nice fresh area of operation. A few inspiring reminders of your work also helps.

15. Keep Out Interruption

A major hindrance to productivity is the needless interruptions. People might drop by at your workplace to indulge in small talk. It interrupts your routine. Such distractions impair your productivity. Try to avoid them by keeping your room closed, or if possible work from home in case of important assignments.

Your efforts to increase your productivity may not be linked to long hours at the desk. Adding hours to your already packed schedule will only affect the quality of your work. Instead, try to work smart. Learn to convert your time into essential products and realize that minute incremental progress can add up to much over a while. Take control of the minutes and the years will take care of itself.

Are you finding it hard to remain productive? My friends Garrett, Marc, and Jara will help you increase your productivity. You can even watch their video to learn more about being productive.

Mayukh Saha

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