Comparing the input with the output and measuring efficiency is usually what we refer to when we talk about productivity.
I like to add an important factor to this definition which is energy management.
It might sound a bit woo woo but it’s actually science-based information what I’m going to share with you in this article.
You’ll learn how to get more done with less effort:
- by using proven strategies for work
- incorporating your energy level in your planning
- paying attention to the nature of how we as humans function
In this post, I’m going to share with you how to be more productive by implementing 7 less obvious strategies to get more done in a given time.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- The goal of the day
- Pay attention to your peak time
- Work in 90 minutes batches
- Take effective breaks
- Stop procrastinating
- Review and improve
HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE – 7 NOT SO OBVIOUS WAYS
1. THE GOAL OF THE DAY
Before you start your working day ask yourself what your no 1 goal of the day is.
While you may have 17 different things on your to-do list, there is probably something on it that is more important than the rest.
In case it isn’t obvious to you dig deeper and define your no 1 goal of the day.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PEAK TIME
When we pay attention to our biorhythm also called the circadian rhythm we notice that we all have certain reoccurring peak times of high alertness and dips every day.
One of the most known dips is the 3 pm slump.
Researches found out that this 3 pm slump is a normal dip in our circadian rhythm and has nothing to do with our lunch.
An article in the Harvard Business Review mentions 11 am to 1 pm and then 6 pm as our main alert peaks of each day.
Tackle your most important task at your peak times of alertness.
They also mention that the very early morning hours, 3 pm and the evening are our dips where we should ideally rest or take on the less important tasks
3. WORK IN 90 MIN BATCHES
We are only able to focus on a task for 90 minutes.
After that our brain needs a break.
We go through 90 minutes cycles while we sleep and also while we are awake.
This phenomenon was discovered by physiologist and sleep researcher Nathan Kleitman in the last century and is called Ultradian rhythm.
Ultradian rhythm = repeated period of a cycle within 24 hours
Researchers found out that whenever we try to force ourselves focusing longer than 90 minutes on a specific task we overstrain ourselves and need longer periods to recover.
Bestseller author Tony Schwartz suggests working in 90 minutes batches.
Besides his bestseller, he has also written another book on productivity.
The best way to get things done is in 3x 90 minutes batches of focused time each day with a 15 to 20 minutes break between each batch.
4. TAKE EFFECTIVE BREAKS
I touched on the importance of breaks after the 90 minutes batches.
However, it’s relevant what kind of breaks you are taking.
The breaks should involve relaxing your eyes and relaxing your brain.
This means no surfing on the web and no scrolling through social media while you take a rest.
Most effectively you go away from your screen and from your phone and go for a walk outside or just into another room to relax your eyes and your brain.
Otherwise, the same areas will stay active in your brain.
Your brain will assume that you are still working which will increase your fatigue.
Don’t forget to drink water while you are working.
Whenever we are focused on a task we tend to forget to drink water.
However not drinking plenty of water can quickly lead to dehydration.
Dehydration leads to increased fatigue and decreased concentration.
6. STOP PROCRASTINATING
Another productivity tip is to stop procrastinating and to learn how to make fast decisions.
If you are somewhat like me you might like to overthink things before you get started.
The result is that you think and think and procrastinate.
Procrastination is a productivity killer.
Make peace with the thought that no matter what you’ll do it won’t be perfect anyway.
We aren’t designed to be perfect.
No one is and you won’t be able to reach perfection either.
Just make a decision, do it and improve along the way.
7. REVIEW AND IMPROVE
Review and reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t.
Focus your energy by creating more of what worked and eliminate what hasn’t by using the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule explained, in a nutshell, means that only around 20% of your overall activities give you around 80% of your desired results.
Which were those few tasks (~20%) that gave you (~80%) of your results?
Dig deep into this question and see how you can produce more of what has worked and how you can stop doing the things which don’t move the needle forward in your life and/or business.
All tools I mention in this post at a glance:
- The Power Of Full Engagement is a bestseller book on productivity by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz. His approach is to focus on managing personal energy in order to increase productivity.
- Be Excellent At Anything: The 4 Keys To Transforming The Way We Work And Live is another book by Tony Schwartz talking about how to use the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy to increase our efficiency.
You might be also interested in How to be productive when you’re unmotivated.
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