By Y K Gupta
In this article you will get highly effective top 21 tips to improve your productivity and some more bonus tips.
This is a comprehensive list which gives you the power to choose from all the listed 21 tips to improve your productivity, the ones which suit you best.
As all of you work in different environments and one size doesn’t fits all.
So I start listing the top 21 tips to improve your productivity for you here under-
1. To improve your productivity get started and don’t procrastinate
The first and of course most important tip among the 21 tips to improve your productivity is to come out of the inertia and get started.
Need not to say that to complete any task you first have to start working on the task. But what really happens that we start visualizing end results without even starting the task or project.
There is nothing wrong in visualizing a pleasant outcome. But for manifesting that pleasant outcome in the realm of realty you first have to START and then complete that task or project.
In getting started, your habit of procrastination is the biggest hurdle. You do understand that work in hand is important in realizing your dreams. But due to your habit of procrastinating you say to yourself “Yes, I know it is important but I will work on it later, not now”.
You have to come out of this habit of procrastination and have to start working on your important tasks NOW.
2. Get started with the help of 2 minute rule
And for helping you to start working on your project now, I am going to introduce you two very powerful productivity tools. And one of them is 2 minute rule and the other one is 5 minute rule.
So what these rule basically stipulate? The 2 minute rule of conquering procrastination is basically is for getting you started. This rule simply stipulates that you are required to start working on your project NOW for only 2 minutes.
The idea behind the rule is, getting you initiated and not to work for only 2 minutes, as most of your cherished goals will take more than 2 minutes to accomplish. You can get further details about this 2 minute rule in my article- how to conquer procrastination with 2 minute rule.
3. Try this 5 minute rule to win over procrastination
In the same manner the 5 minute rule of winning over procrastination asks you to start working immediately at least for 5 minutes on your goal. And after working for 5 minutes you have full freedom for making a choice that whether you want to continue on the task or not .
Idea here is again, not to work for 5 minutes but to getting you started as the study shows that when you work on a project for at least for 5 minutes you are more likely to continue to work on that project for an extended period of time.
You can find further details in an article on the 5 minute rule here.
I also invite you to watch this video as it also discusses the importance of getting start to improve your productivity very vividly-
4. In order to improve your productivity prioritize your goals or task
Before starting the working on your tasks, it will be of great value, if you prioritize your tasks. For this purpose use the elimination process which is described well in my article 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett.
This rule asks you to make a list of your top 25 goals or tasks which you think are important to you and you want to work on them.
Now apply the process of elimination to this list and strike out the less important tasks or goals until you have only 5 goals or tasks in the list.
Now pay your full attention on these top priority 5 goals only. Don’t move to the lesser important tasks until your top 5 goals are achieved.
5. Break your task in manageable chunks
In order to increase your productivity you have to break your task in small chunks, which you can complete without getting intimidated by the enormous size of your task.
When you break your task in small manageable chunks, the fear of completing the task comes down. As the amount of task you are starting to work on now, becomes so small and manageable that you find it within the reach of your competency.
This concept has been discussed in detail in my article- how to learn anything in 20 hours.
As we all know that no matter how long a walk is it has to be completed one step at a time. And for completing the walk you have to take your first step.
If the journey towards your goal appears too long then break it in pieces. Walk for sometime then take a rest, rejuvenate yourself and start the journey towards your goal again.
6. To improve your productivity learn to FOCUS on your work
You have to employ some strategy for focusing your attention on task in hand. For this purpose I find use of Pomodoro technique of time management and increasing focus of much use.
I like this technique because this technique results in tremendous increase in your productivity with the benefit of lesser strain at the same time.
In this technique you have to work in the blocks of 25 minutes each. And this period of 25 minutes is called one completed Pomodoro.
After each completed Pomodoro you are rewarded with a rest of 5 minutes. And after completing a set of 4 pomodoros you can take rest for 20 to 30 minutes as per your need.
However, in these periods of 25 minutes you have to remain fully focused on your task. Need not to say, for achieving that required focus you have to work free from all distractions, such as an uncalled for visitor, your mobile or TV or whatsoever distractions might be there.
For further details how this Pomodoro technique of time management works wonder to your productivity read my article- Improve your productivity with Pomodoro technique.
Find out more in this video about how much time you are likely to be wasting if you don,t improve your productivity-
7. To improve your productivity, don’t Multitask, instead focus on one task at a time
Contrary to popular belief multitasking reduces your productivity. And more importantly your brain also gets damaged in the process.
As human brain is not designed for multitasking and can focus only on one task at a time. When you multitask your brain keep on hopping from one task to the other task. However, this process of hopping of your mind is so fast that you just can’t notice it.
But this continuous process of jumping relentlessly from one task to another takes its toll on your brain and your brain gets damaged.
So, for the sake of your productivity and particularly of your brain, never go for multitasking. You may read my detailed article on the subject of multitasking here.
8. To improve your productivity be consistent
For achieving high standards of productivity CONSISTENCY is the key. As when you perform a task on a continuous and ongoing basis your skills of performing that task keep on improving consistently.
And when you have worked on a task for a considerable time and as a result you have produced enough work, sufficient to get noticed, then outside world starts recognizing you as an expert of that particular skill.
This concept of being consistent is applicable to all of the skills no matter in what field you are.
An athlete or sportsman has to hone his skills consistently to keep on improving and get noticed.
And same is true for an author. He has to keep on writing marvelous pieces of prose or poetry consistently if he has to grow his audience and wants his work to be noticed and appreciated by masses.
I have emphasized much on the importance of consistency for producing high quality work in my article- producing high quality work: the three step process.
9. Declutter your work place
The trait of being organized is a blessing. Not only does it improves your productivity by saving on the time you otherwise loose while looking for the items at the time of need but also it provides a serene feeling of being in control.
A well organized work place speaks volume about your personality as well. Your clients and people around you notice it and develop a perception about you, based on how organized you and your work place looks.
So declutter your work place and let the positive energy flow in your work place. For achieving this feat, give a close look at what is unnecessary and not in use and is unlikely to be a requirement in the near future and get rid of it.
10. To improve your productivity have a mentor/teacher/coach
Mentors are the guiding forces which enable you to sail through the uncharted territories. These are the people who have traveled those terrines and got through them. They are aware of all the challenges, of all the twists and turns your work life throws in front of you.
They have taken those challenges and know how to handle them. And they can teach you the same so as you can reach to your goals quickly and in much less effort.
In order to improve your productivity I can’t over emphasize the need of a mentor/teacher/coach. Have one anyway.
However, if you aren’t in a position for some unavoidable reason to find a mentor immediately then I suggest two solutions-
First is that you partner with someone who has good knowledge of the work you are in, and other is that you take help of the online material available at internet in the form of articles, books and online courses.
But don’t be satisfied by only with online help and keep searching for a physical mentor.
Internet can’t replace the physical mentor, it only can supplement him.
As this is your coach who prepares you to take the challenges of your goals and teaches you that those difficult roads lead to a beautiful destination.
I have emphasized on the importance of having a mentor for improving your productivity much in my article- How to become an expert in your field.
11. In order to improve your productivity learn to delegate
Don’t hesitate in delegating all the works which can be delegated. This measure will boost your productivity to the unimaginable levels. Don’t try to do each and everything by yourself.
The act of delegating will free up so much time for you that your productivity will improve by leaps and bounds.
I rather ask you to go one step farther than just delegating. I invite you to first find out which works or processes are not necessary.
Do a reality check. Identify such unnecessary activities and stop ruining your time and resources on such works and processes.
You will realize that a sizable chunk was unnecessary. Do away with this unnecessary work and processes. Now from the remaining work find out what can be safely delegated. Again, do the exercise with real intentions of delegating and don’t try to find out excuses for not delegating the work.
If you do the exercise with an intention of finding out the ways and mean of delegating maximum of your work then you will certainly find out that you can actually delegate most of your work.
And in the last you will be left with very little work to concentrate upon. This is the quality work you have to do yourself in order to achieve your goal of being insanely productive.
12. First things first take on the toughest work first
To improve your productivity you have to prioritize your tasks as per their importance and not as per ease of doing.
As being a human being it is your innate nature to avoid the tough tasks and go for the easy ones. But you have to get rid of this tendency if you want to improve your productivity.
Because for improving your productivity your criterion of prioritizing your tasks should be on the basis of importance of the task and not on the basis of ease of doing that particular task.
Due to your tendency of avoiding the task in which you have to face considerable difficulty your important tasks get piled up while you try to get solace in doing the non important. In this manner you may look and feel busy but you certainly aren’t productive.
13. Here I provide few more tips of taking your tough but important tasks head on-
- Choose your most tough but important task to start work on the first thing in the start of your morning/work day.
- It is important because you have limited will power and energy. And at the start of the day it is available in abundance.
- Further as the day proceeds not only your energy and will power depletes but also you get distracted by many urgent but not important works like some unscheduled visitor, some phone call etc.
- To find out what is important and what isn’t ask yourself what will be the impact of doing or not doing a task after 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 weeks, 10 months and 10 years.
- The tasks which will have a longer term impact are the most important ones, go for completing them first.
- For getting started and completing such tough but important tasks, take help of the strategies discussed in this article as well as in my other articles to which I have provided links in this article.
- Take help of your mentor in completing such tough but important tasks.
- Approach such tasks with a “do it anyway” mindset.
14. Find out your personal productivity sweet spot
Beauty of the human race is that we are a little different from one another. And your uniqueness makes you so special.
The context here of discussing this phenomenon is that this uniqueness phenomenon is also applicable in the area of your productivity.
Every person has a sweet spot for productivity at some particular hours of the day. And it may be different from person to person.
You might have noticed that some people love to work late in night, while others will swear for starting early in the morning.
Although I like you to start working on your important tasks being the first thing at start of the day, as in the morning distractions are less and you are full of energy. Yet I invite you to find out your personal productivity sweet spot.
Tips for finding out your personal productivity sweet spot
For finding out your personal productivity sweet spot, provide a little more attention on you while you work on your tasks.
Find out your sweet spot, it is there, when you are more comfortable in working on your task and solutions flow in your mind effortlessly.
And it is there, when your thought process is clear and you concentrate better, enjoy working, feel less fatigue and are inclined to work more.
This sweet spot is there, when you enjoy your work more, you love to continue working on your task and feel a little upset with the idea of stopping.
And this sweet spot is there, when you want to work more without any outside motivation but just because you are enjoying your work.
At what hours of the day you feel like this? Those particular hours are your productivity sweet spot.
Make full use of these productivity sweet spot hours of yours. And make a better use of them by working on your most important tasks during these productivity sweet spot hours.
Doing it distraction free will further improve your productivity and add to your joy of working.
15. To improve your productivity keep a deadline for your tasks and meet it
In order to improve your productivity, you have to fix a deadline for completing your tasks. Because when you fix deadlines then it results in a sense of urgency as well as an increased focus on the task ahead.
Please know in your mind and in your heart that a goal of completing a task even can’t be considered a goal until it has a fixed time limit to complete it.
So, now on before starting to work on a task, first fix a time limit on it and do your very best not only to meet it but complete the task well before the time limit you fixed.
It will result in improving your productivity immensely. Further, it will instill a sense of achievement into you.
Also when you meet deadlines your confidence as well as your, self worth is get fostered in the process. And this added confidence results in further achievements and suddenly you find yourself in an upward spiral.
16. Keep on learning and have a system
Once you have zeroed in on a system that works then now on your work becomes very easy. Now on you just have to repeat the system which, through your consistent efforts or through your coach, you have discovered works for you.
The only thing now is to be aware of if any changes, small or big, are required here or there to further fine tune the system.
Be aware about the recent developments in your field of expertise. And continuously keep on integrating them in your system or process of completing your tasks and achieving your goals.
As in a competitive world, you can’t afford to be static. In the reality there is no stage exist that is called stagnation. In fact, there are only two stages of existence, either you are growing or you are deteriorating.
So if you want to stay competitive never cease to learn and never cease to improve.
17. Keep improving on a daily and ongoing basis
Have an eye on your performance. Make sure your performance is improving with every passing day. Always keep looking around for the improvements no matter how small are they.
Keep in mind that these very small and insignificant looking daily improvements, if you keep on adding them for an extended period of time will become a very large power house to propel your productivity in no time.
18. To improve your productivity stop or reduce those time wasting meetings
Meetings are one of the most dreaded killers of time and dent your productivity really hard. So take a stock of the situation. Find out are those meeting running for hours and sometimes full day really important or they can be done away with.
For ensuring that you don’t waste your time on non important meetings, employ two pronged strategy. First do away with unnecessary meeting right away. Then for the meetings which can’t be done away with completely, reduce the time you provide for these meetings drastically.
As these meetings are not only killing your time but also of the other participants you have called for the meeting. So for improving your productivity find out ways and means for replacing the physical meetings with some other better mode of communication.
However, if you are at the receiving end and your boss has called you for a lengthy meeting along with scores of other participants. Then you can always let your boss know, politely, that you can be more useful on the completing the important task in hand. Further you can assure your boss that, you will find out the contents of the meeting from one of the other participants.
Chances are your boss will oblige. As we all know that the first priority of every boss is to get the task completed and not the meetings.
However, don’t use this as a trick to just avoid attending the meetings. Instead use this spare time to produce something really important for your organization.
19. Once in a while focus only on one task full day
Deep work requires commitment and concentration. For such work where you want to dig a little deeper, dedicate a whole day for that particular work only.
When you commit yourself to work for full day only at one task then after working for a few hours, deeper insights start to pop in your mind and quality of your work improves immensely.
Further your productivity also gets a boost as you save on the time you spend, while you shift your attention from one work in hand to another one waiting.
20. To improve your productivity plan your next day
If you plan the work for tomorrow before you call it a day for today, then this simple act of planning will result in a big leap in improving your productivity.
This happens because when you start your day without planning for the tasks to be accomplished today, then you simply start working on whatsoever work comes across to you randomly.
This approach, at the end of day results in very less important work completed by you. And your full day wasted doing urgent but less important tasks which came to you randomly.
Further, had you planned the tasks to be completed today, a day before, then you would have been in a better position of managing your day and at the end of day must have accomplished more.
21. Take stock, measure and reflect
And the 21st and last but highly important tip among the 21 tips to improve your productivity is to ensure to take stock of your progress, measuring it, reflecting on the results and make adjustments, if required.
To ensure that your efforts are in the right direction, you have to periodically take stock of the progress made by you in improving your productivity.
You have to measure your progress. As if you can’t measure your progress then you can’t define how much progress you have made and how much improvement you have achieved in your productivity.
For measuring your progress you have to compare what was your progress earlier before employing these tips to what you are accomplishing now.
And most importantly you also have to reflect and find out what is working for you and what is not. You have to see where you need to correct the course and where you can continue your journey in the pre determined direction.
Bonus productivity tips to improve your productivity
Further, as I have promised in the first paragraph itself of this article, to provide bonus tips in addition to top 21 tips to improve your productivity, so here they are-
1. Bonus tip one to improve your productivity- Take care of your health
To remain productive you have to remain in good mental and physical health.
Sounds very repetitive? Yes, yet most ignored as well.
You get so much involved in the randomness of works and tasks that you end up having no time or motivation for the life enriching activities such as exercising or having a walk, enjoying greenery and sunlight, which are so important for your mental and physical health.
Although you know but please also realize that only if you are maintaining a good mental and physical health then only you can be productive and realize your dreams.
So keep yourself first. Invest in yourself and take utmost care of yourself.
2. Bonus tip two to improve your productivity- Take care of your happiness
Science has proved that happy people are more productive. And now when you are committed to improve your productivity by practicing top 21 tips to improve your productivity described in this article then you can’t ignore your happiness.
I have published a detailed article- how to produce your happiness on demand where I have described how exercising, laughter, being generous and full of gratitude adds to your happiness almost instantly.
Further being social and being in the company of the people who appreciate you also results in your added happiness.
So go ahead and grab your happiness which is your right and as it also adds to your productivity is just an added advantage.
Well friends, I have listed in this article so many tips for improving your productivity. But if you ask me to give only one tip then I will go for the CONSISTENCY. If you work consistently on your skill there is no way that you wouldn’t improve.
However, if you have a mentor or coach and work on your skill deliberately under his guidance then the results will be fast, really …..fast.
Congratulations to a more productive you!
Y K Gupta