Do you want to be more productive today than you were yesterday?
Are you ready to make some thoughtful and targeted changes to your daily routine?
While yesterday’s accomplishments may have been a wash, the good news is that you can build on your past experiences.
In this post, I offer three quick tips to help you have a more productive day.
Do keep in mind, these productivity tips are more reflective in nature.
You’ll gain the most benefit when you take a few minutes to stop, think, and reflect upon your actions.
Doing so might just give your productivity levels a well-needed boost!
Change the way you work.
There’s a difference between honing your skills and just plain spinning your wheels.
Are you mistakenly confusing action with progress?
If you want to increase your productivity levels, you’d do well to take a look at where you’ve been…and if you’re actually going anywhere.
Repeating the same types of tasks, or approaching the same types of problems with the same solutions, day in and day out, is recipe for productivity disaster. When you do the same thing over and over again, there’s a fairly good chance you’ll get similar results. If you repeatedly try to process your email faster than the day before, but fail to change your processing techniques, you probably won’t be very successful. Likewise, you probably won’t be very successful solving a challenging math problem on an empty stomach.
So, if you’re having a difficult time making progress while you work, it might be time to change-up the way you work. What new or novel approach, method, or technique could you try out? Even making the slightest of adjustments to your work routine can work wonders. How can you tweak your current work habits?
In our example above, you could try sorting through your emails by sender instead of by date and see where that leads you. You could also make sure to work on that math problem after you’ve had a nutritious meal.
Repair or replace your tools.
Your productivity can suffer greatly when your tools are broken, dull, or outdated. Have you ever tried to cut a piece of paper with a pair of dull scissors? Or how about trying to use an outdated version of a word processing app? Both experiences can be quite frustrating!
Every now and then, we need to put our day-to-day work aside and take a few moments to upgrade, repair, or replace our work tools. Yes, this does take time, but it is time well spent investing in your future work and productivity levels. The longer you wait to replace or update items, the more work (and more headaches) you’ll have trying to sort everything out.
Why not take care of things now before they get even more unwieldy and out of control? Begin by thinking of a time in recent memory when you were flustered, frustrated, and annoyed by the impracticality of your professional or personal tools. What steps could you take now to make sure your work progressed smoothly and efficiently?
You may decide this is a good time to sharpen those dull kitchen knives, upgrade that slow and ancient word processing software, or purchase a new pair of running sneakers.
Focus on the correct problem or issue.
Like many things in life, productivity is relative. You may think you are being productive sorting through those non-urgent emails sitting in your inbox, but what about finishing up that report that’s due on Thursday? You’re clearly being productive in the short-term, but in the long-term, well, not so much.
As you can see, it’s extremely important to work on the right tasks, at the right time. A bout of procrastination or a poor work decision has the potential to set you and your workload back several steps. In some cases, it can even create more work for you in future! All the more reason to make sure your sights are focused in the right place.
Before beginning any type of work, make sure you have focused on the true problem or issue at hand. Is your work truly in step with your goals or deadlines for today or this week? Will your work prevent or delay the completion of other work in a timely manner? At a very basic level, are you working on the right task at the right time?
How about you? Where in your day would you like to be more productive? What steps are you going to take today in order to do so? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2014.