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8 Great Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity

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8 Great Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity
A post from our Time Management blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
Nobody's perfect, right? No matter how good any individual is at any given task, there's always room for improvement.

I have a friend that wows everybody he meets with just how much he gets done. He's balancing so many things that it just seems impossible that he can keep it up. It's almost like the juggler who has loads of things all up in the air at the same time, you expect them to come crashing down at any minute. But they don't, he simply keeps on managing.Yet what amazes me even more about him is that he is continually driven to improve. He showed me a new app he is using recently, and it staggered me that he is still trying to become even more productive.

I'll tell you about that app shortly, but let's look at some ways that you can supercharge your own productivity, regardless of how good you feel you already are.

1.       Put it on a list

Regardless of whether you're still old school and using pen and paper, or really up to date and using any kind of technology, it's still a good idea to set down all you need to do.Try do it the day or evening before. That way, your day can get cracking without you still needing to do this.

Doing it the night before, rather than in the morning, has two additional benefits. The first is that because you are not wanting to get going straight after, you are less likely to rush through this creation of the list, and you are not likely to either miss items entirely, or prioritise them incorrectly.

The second great benefit is that as its already done, you are less likely to get stressed out about it that morning.

2.       Plan in general the night before

Since we're now looking at doing things the night before, let's stick with this. Since you're going to create your list the night before, why not also make other decisions the night before.

Research has repeatedly shown that people that select their attire the evening before are less stressed out and less haphazard than those that choose on the morning. Similarly with preparations for breakfast. Planning ahead means not only will you get things done a lot faster, but also reduces the likelihood of you choosing to skip breakfast all together.

Different research has shown that people that work on any kind of technology just before going to bed struggle to fall asleep compared with those people that have had a break. So, deciding to select your outfit for the next day, and do breakfast preparation, will also provide a bit of a time buffer between when you finish using technology and when you try to fall asleep. So you are far more likely to wake up refreshed having had a good night's sleep.

3.       Turn off all devices

I've just mentioned how using technology just before trying to sleep prevents you falling asleep easily. So let me talk about devices in general.

TURN. THEM. OFF.Why leave your mobile on while you're trying to sleep? All that can possibly happen is that you get disturbed. And friends, family or colleagues that are in different time zones don't actually expect you to answer in the middle of the night, so their messages etc can just as easily wait until morning.

It'll save your battery life too.

If possible, turn it off while doing specific jobs too. And if you simply cannot do that, then at least turn off notifications. Your friends WhatsApp message about somebody they met in a club the night before can hang on for a couple of hours.

Instead, turn off notification and manually check everything at pre-determined times of the day. Less distractions = more productivity!

One last thing on this point. On the off chance that you have a mobile that the alarm won't work if the phone is off, it's time for you to get yourself a cheap alarm. Yes! A separate device!

4.       Use modern apps

I mentioned earlier this app my friends using, and promised that I'd get back to it. He already uses apps about the London Underground that give you information on which lines have good service, or delays etc, but Tube Exits tells you which coach to get on when boarding a specific train, so that you're closer to the exit at where you plan to alight! Less hassle having to fight your way through the crowds!

I told another friend about this and it inspired him in regards to an upcoming holiday to New York. He suddenly looked for apps for the New York subway and there are loads (so many there are now even prizes for them)! So many time saving ideas that he hadn't even thought of.

Whether it's technology on your computer, laptop or smaller mobile device, it's likely you are now able to find things that can assist you.

Just make sure that you don't take so long finding the tool that it nullifies any benefits you get from it.

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5.       Use the (10+2)*5 Hack

The (10+2)*5 productivity hack was created by American Merlin Mann. It's aimed specifically at those who procrastinate or are easily distracted. It also works best for jobs that can be either done in 10 minutes, or can be broken down into chunks of 10 minutes.

So computer programmers may find this one a bit of a struggle. Breaking your train of thought and possibly picking it up again so many times is just not going to help that can of role, but if your task can be broken up, this is a great tool.

The premise: work non-stop flat out for 10 minutes. Then give yourself a 2 minute break. Then repeat that 5 times and you have an hour. In that hour, you'll have worked flat out for 50 minutes of the time, which is way more than the average.

Get yourself a cheap kitchen timer, that's all you need to get started. Remember, no cheating till the buzzer goes!

6.       No more procrastinating!

I was going to leave it till the last point, as it's the most boring one, but then decided to not put it off. (Get it?)

I'm not even going to go into why you may want to put things off. I'm just going to say that a whole heap of research shows that putting the unpleasant tasks first at the start of the day produces better results. Firstly, you complete them faster to just get them done and put of the way, so you can move on to the other more exciting tasks. Secondly, if you are going to move from a pleasant task to a job that you're avoiding, you tend to drag out the fun task so as not to have to start the other. So even the fun job can become less fun or turn out to be a chore at the end.

I think those two are reason enough, but if you're still not sold on the idea, design a reward that you're only allowed to give yourself when the horrible task is done. You want that mid morning cup of hot chocolate? Well, you can't have it until those 4 nasty jobs get done. I bet now you will do them!

7.       Time Chunking

Some jobs are big, and frankly, just too big to do in one go. Not only may it delay quite a few small jobs getting done on time, it'll cause you to lose motivation as you go along.

Time chunking is the answer. Break the large job down into manageable chunks. Maybe 8 hours of work could be done in two groups of 4 hours, or 3, 3 and 2, across three days. It doesn't matter how you break up the chunks, as long as the job gets done by deadline, and the chunks are worthwhile enough to get things done, but not so long they cause demotivation.

8.       Give yourself incentives and rewards

Back in the early 1990s, in the original season of Twin Peaks, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper tells the local law enforcement officer that the secret to life is to give yourself one reward each day. It doesn't have to be big, it may even be an unexpected cup of coffee.

And that's the secret to being productive. Incentivise and reward. Maybe for really big jobs the rewards may be a little bigger too, but set yourself goals for accomplishing things, and reward yourself for attaining those goals. Suddenly, being productive is FUN! And that's really what I want to leave you with, my mantra: Make Things Fun! Get Things Done!

Want to Manage Your Time Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $109 – limited time offer just $12

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