Easy Ways To Be A Highly Productive Person

Easy Ways To Be A Highly Productive Person

Are you a highly productive person? Do you wonder how some people seem to get a lot more done during the day?

Productivity isn’t about how smart you are, your knowledge base, or how capable you are. Being productive is about putting certain habits into place.

What makes a person unproductive?

  • Mindset
  • Fear of failure
  • Doubt
  • Laziness
  • Poor planning
  • Procrastination

To increase your productivity, it begins by turning these unproductive behaviors around, and begin doing things in a different way.

Habit #1: Remove unimportant tasks

Our days are filled with many tasks; some important, some not so much. The problem is we often find our days filled with all sorts of tasks that don’t accomplish much of anything; yet we continue to do them because we enjoy them and we don’t find them threatening. We can surf the Internet for hours, for example, yet that may be the very thing preventing us from moving forward.

For everything you do now, ask yourself how important the task is to getting to your optimal goal. Does it help you achieve your goals? Does it create value? Is it the best use of your time? If the answer is yes, keep it in your schedule. If not, find a way to replace it with something that will benefit you more in the short term.

Habit #2: Remove your holdbacks

Throughout your day, there are many things that trap you and prevent you from getting things done. These things can include:

  • A slow computer
  • A slow internet connection
  • Unwanted phone calls
  • Constantly checking email
  • Checking in with Facebook, Twitter and other account

As you go about your daily routine, observe where your holdbacks are. How can you change it? How can you remove it? It may be something as simple as buying a new computer or upgrading your connection speed. It may take more action on your part; how about turning off your email program, and only checking it two or three times per day? While some things may seem simple to do, it can add minutes, even hours to your week.

Habit #3: Set timelines

Have you ever noticed some projects seem to take forever to complete? The work seems to go on and on, with no end in sight. Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. If a project is given unlimited time, unlimited resources, it will continue at that pace in order to fill the space.

If, however, you begin to give yourself timelines for everything you do, you’ll quickly see your rate of completion increase tenfold. Set a timeline for a project. Give yourself ample time to complete it, then stick with the schedule. If you give yourself two weeks, budget your time to make sure you stay on track. You can also do this in smaller increments. Give yourself one hour tasks. In one hour:

I will finish this client file

I will create this proposal

I will send out my newsletter

Simple intentions can allow you to focus on a higher level, and help push away distractions that normally would have held you back.

Sitting by the pool: A practice in mental retreat

Photo courtesy of Martin Abegglen, twicepix

I wanted each of these posts to provide my readers with a unique insight or call to action. I hope that through my writings I can motivate some of you to make a small change that improves your business or life.

I wrote the title for this post before I had the content. I liked this title because everyone can immediately visualize the scene. You can see yourself lounging by the pool or dangling your legs in the water. You can feel the sunshine against your face. You can hear the water splashing against the pool wall or trickling from a waterfall. You can smell the fresh air and floral fragrances of the flowers flanking you.

This is a place where there is little stress and it is a place to recharge. It doesn’t matter what you do by the pool: swim, sunbathe, drink colorful beverages, read, people watch, sleep or think. From all this, you come away recharged. Even if you’re physically tired or exhausted at the end of the day, you’re mentally recharged.

Take a minute to think about or imagine your favorite poolside experience. Maybe it includes a poolside pedicure or the cute wait staff never letting your glass get empty. Was there a little cabana with a big screen TV? Did you have the right tunes or the perfect book? I see myself playfully splashing water on my friends.

Whatever you did, I’m sure you felt relaxed.

That’s my point. It’s great to go to the pool. I encourage you to do this, or anything else that recharges you, as often as you can. And if the pool is several miles or several months away, you can bring the pool to you. Give yourself a ten-minute “pool” break everyday to recharge. Put it on your calendar. Relive your favorite recharge moments or preview the moments to come. See how it changes your stress level.


Seeking freedom from intrusion

Ding. Ding. Another text. Another e-mail. Oops – there goes the phone. Even if ignored there’s still the nagging buzzing of a voicemail left behind. All of these intrusions impact our ability to stay focused on one task. Rather than you managing your time, they manage your time.

It’s funny how we easily allow our priorities to get thrown out of whack. Intrusions in our daily routine should be planned, and if not planned, then an emergency. Remember the “office hours” of your professors in college? They set aside a specific period of the day to be pestered by their students. Perhaps we should follow this same idea.

Let’s put a new plan into action, one that reclaims control over our lives.

Forced separation

Part 1: Allow yourself to be disconnected for set periods of the day. I know it may seem hard, but aren’t you disconnected when you sleep, or fly on a plane? During these moments it feels okay to relinquish the hold technology intrusions have because they’re out of your control. New flash: it’s also alright to block out intrusions during other periods as well. Exert a little control.

Consistent expectations

Part 2: Do not expect others to be instantly available for your intrusions. Accept that others may not respond to you immediately. I know, shocker. The sad truth of it is that we are humans, not machines. If we don’t want to be slaves of our technology, we shouldn’t hold that expectation of others.

As managers, we should do our best to promote forms of information distribution that are unobtrusive. A well-run meeting and information-packed Intranet can answer a lot of questions that make the intrusive-ready internet unnecessary.

Independent answer-seeking

The hard part is setting expectations of your team about getting their information from these sources, especially a team that is quick to find easy answers from online networks or interpersonal communication. But isn’t that your job as the leader/manager? If I know the information is available on the Intranet, I don’t shy from telling my staff to look it up versus expecting an answer from me. How else can I help them to change their habits? Having a specific location your team can draw from ensures that the information provided is always consistent. Utilize both office meetings and your business’s intranet to make sure your team is connected with answers to their questions. In meetings, everyone hears the same information, and a good question and answer section helps clarify anything confusing. Additionally, have someone take notes and post them on the Intranet for everyone to follow up with.

Try making communication blackout times in the office. Dedicate one to two hours a day in which communication, both in-office and through external means, is restricted. You could train your receptionist or assistant to be an intrusion gatekeeper, taking messages rather than redirecting phone calls during this blackout period. This way everyone can give 100% focus to their most demanding tasks and not fear the constant interruption so integrated into our lives.

I’m a technologist and love all the modern methods of staying in touch but let’s keep them in their place, or at least train ourselves not to be their slaves.

If only I could teach my kids this concept…