Sometimes it can be genuinely baffling how everyone else seems to fit so much into their day. It can feel like they have all found an hour that you’ve forgotten about, or just that everything seems to take you so much longer.
If you find yourself spending every hour of the day working, having no time to relax and then doing it all over again the next day, this guide could be helpful. There are a few tips that will help you maximize your productivity, without spending every waking hour working!
5 Ways To Instantly Become More Productive
1. Deliberate Practice
We spend so much of our time ticking meaningless tasks off the list, when one of the best ways to achieve our goals is very simple – prioritizing.
There are two techniques which work together harmoniously when perfecting this method of work. An almost unbelievably simple method used to squeeze the most out of your abilities was stumbled upon by Cal Newport; he called it deliberate practice.
This method of focusing on the things you most need to improve, rather than sticking to what you know, forces you out of your comfort zone. After all, it’s only when you’re taking steps that challenge you, that you’re able to grow.
2. Most Important Task
Once you’ve established the things you most need to practice, next decide on the tasks that you most need to get finished. This part is called the Most Important Task method. As an example, you might need to boost traffic to your blog as a matter of urgency. Perhaps you’re adept at getting click-throughs from Instagram, but you really struggle with SEO.
Here your Most Important Task is to boost traffic and the area you need to practice is your SEO technique. Voila! Your first task for the day. The Key to the MIT method is to complete the three most important tasks of the day before you do anything else – do not get distracted.
3. Maximize Your ‘Wasted Hours’
We all waste time in different ways; some of us scroll through Facebook for half an hour before getting out of bed, some of us stare out of the window on our half hour commute.
Whichever way you’re wasting time, identify it and stop doing it. If you’re prone to sleeping in for longer than necessary, then wake up an hour earlier and get one of those Most Important Tasks out of the way.
If you’re stuck with a lengthy commute, then use it to reply to your emails or plan out your work week. If your commute involves driving, then get yourself an audiobook; you’ll be the self development queen in a matter of weeks!
4. Time Blocking
All of us work most effectively in different ways; if the MIT technique doesn’t work for you, then there will be one that does. The next one to consider is Time Blocking. This very simply means planning in advance, giving yourself specific times at which to accomplish the things you must get done. Some people plan day by day, others in hour chunks and some people work best planning in 5 minute sections.
By blocking your time in this way you are able to be more focused during the tasks and also more focused in what you actually want to achieve. Both the planning and the undertaking are extremely beneficial in achieving the goals you set yourself.
5. The Pomodoro Technique
This technique often works well for people who are easily distracted. The key to this technique is working in short, but intensely focused bursts. Set yourself a 25 minute timer and work, hard, on the task for the whole of those 25 minutes.
If you receive an email, leave it, there’s no email that can’t wait 25 minutes to be answered. Once the 25 minutes are up, give yourself a 5 minute break for whatever you want. Grab a coffee, practice mindfulness, scroll through Instagram – those minutes are yours.
Repeat the Pomodoro sessions 4 times, before taking a longer break. In this way your working day becomes so much more effective than in slogging out the same project for hour after hour, with constant distraction. Most people can only fit in two or three true sessions a day, but you’ll achieve more in these than in the rest of the other seven hours, guaranteed.
Once you’ve found your technique, then you’re sure to see an improvement in both your workload and your success. Working until you’re exhausted day in, day out, isn’t healthy and it isn’t productive.
Learn to squeeze the most out of your minutes and once the work day is over, stop. Taking time for yourself is just as important; when you aren’t feeling your best, you can’t work your best.
Carla Hartley is a knitwear designer living by the seaside in Brighton, UK. When she’s not busy knitting, she loves to write about fashion, sustainable living and productivity.