Want to Be More Productive? Focus on Improving One Thing

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Want to Be More Productive? Focus on Improving One Thing

Do you feel overwhelmed by a current project or assignment?

Looking for a way to make marked progress in your studies or assignments?

The good news is that you don’t have to multitask in order to be productive.

You can make great progress by improving one small thing in your work.

In this post, I offer pointers on how you can boost your productivity by identifying and improving upon a single aspect of an ongoing project or assignment.

It’s time to focus and get to work!


Identify a current project or assignment.

Take a moment to think about a current assignment or project you’re working on at home, work, or school. This project can be either personal or professional. The project can be a small, medium, or large-sized one; it really doesn’t matter.

Brainstorm recurring project tasks.

Now that you’ve got your project in mind, it’s time to do a bit of brainstorming. You’re now going to identify a handful of recurring tasks that are related to your particular project. You may find it helpful to think about those tasks that you perform on a daily or every-other day basis.

So, what tasks do you repeat on a regular basis for your project? If you’re building a brand-new dog house for your family pet, you’ll probably be measuring, sawing, hammering, sanding, and painting on a regular basis. If you’re organizing a series of mini-events for work, you’ll probably be brainstorming ideas, drafting documents, sending email queries, holding phone calls with vendors and the like.

Narrow down your list to one task.

You’ve successfully identified a few different project tasks. It’s now time to whittle down your list to a single task. Why? This is so you can put your full attention to this one item.

Preferably, this task should be one where you feel slightly uncomfortable performing or where your skills or experience are less than desirable. Remember, you’re going to be doing everything you can to improve upon this task.

From the examples above, you might decide that your hammering skills aren’t the greatest, and that you take way too long to craft email queries for those mini-events you’re organizing. These are both good places to start.

So, take a deep breath and choose one task you want to improve upon in your work.

Brainstorm ways to beef up your productivity.

Now that you have identified a specific task, it’s time to think about how you can make improvements to that task for maximum productivity.

Just how do you do that? You can easily make improvements to a task by asking yourself three basic questions. How can you:

  • Improve your abilities when it comes to performing or executing the task?
  • Upgrade your tools or materials related to the task?
  • Modify or change the physical environment in which you perform the task?

From our examples above, you might decide that you’ll beef up on your hammering skills by watching videos on YouTube (improving your abilities), and that you’ll streamline your email queries by creating a standard email template that you will edit and tailor to each vendor (upgrade your tools or materials).

When it comes to beefing up your productivity, think about ways to creatively answer the above questions. Here’s some more ideas to get you thinking:

  • How can you improve your abilities when it comes to performing or executing a task? Watch an in-depth video tutorial, read the instructions carefully, read a book or blog, attend a lecture, ask someone for instruction or assistance.
  • How can you modify or change the physical environment in which you perform a task? Clear clutter from workspace, ask to not be disturbed as you work, prepare workstation before you begin, change your physical work location, work at a different time of day.

Schedule your task into your calendar.

You’ve identified your task and you’ve come up with a solution to improve your productivity levels. It’s time to put your plan into action.

You’re now going to add this new and improved task into your calendar. This ensures you will actually have the time to do your work…and make progress in your project.

From our examples above, you might decide to watch 15 minutes of instructional video on Saturday on how to properly use a hammer. You can then proceed with building the dog house as originally planned.

When it comes to organizing those mini-events at work, you will block out 30 minutes in your schedule on Tuesday morning to draft up a working email template, to make your email communication a breeze.

Once you’ve completed your new and improved task, you can go back to your project at large. Select  another task to improve upon, and begin the entire cycle again. With practice, you’ll soon see how improving just one troublesome spot in your routine can make a huge difference in your productivity levels.

How about you? Which of your projects could use a productivity makeover? What task will you improve upon? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.