Maximum productivity – something that everyone wants to reach but so few actually manage to achieve. Reason being, almost all of us procrastinate on different levels; from students to employees to freelancers, and even housewives. The fact is that you may end up doing ‘some’ part of your work, but reaching to your ‘maximum productivity’ would still be a vague notion.
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Well, stop disappointing yourself! because in this post I’m going to highlight some absolutely simple things that, if you practice daily, may ultimately lead you to be as productive in your daily life, as it is possible. Sounds interesting? Let’s dig into these tips.
1. Have a disengagement ritual before going to bed
This simply means that you need to have a marker for each night which signals that your day is complete. Condition yourself to leave your work behind, and more importantly to not think of the work waiting for you the next day.
Some people meditate before going to sleep, some simply wash their face and drink tea or milk, while others put a bit of ‘legwork’ and take a walk before going to sleep. Those who end their day in the afternoon sometimes go to the gym to workout or even play video games. Basically, you need to do anything that will take your mind off of work.
Learn how to disengage, to remove yourself from the idle chatters of work in your subconscious. This way, you will wake up fresh, seeking a new day ahead.
2. Get your blood pumping in the morning
I literally mean that you take up exercise to accelerate your daily productivity. Wake up early and start stretching, then go outside and jog for at least 15 minutes, which is enough time to make you sweat and make your heart pump harder and faster than usual.
If you are thinking, “well, that will just tire me out for the day”, then you are nothing but wrong. In fact, exercising will help boost your energy level, help you be more alert, focused, and… you guessed it, be more productive!
If you ask me about the connection between exercise and productivity, well, I would tell you that science says, that exercise increases the blood flow to the brain thus keeping you alert and focused for the day. It also helps you achieve a good level of work-life balance, that eventually impacts your overall productivity.
3. Write all of your ideas down
One of the things we usually fail to realize is that thought is a fickle thing, one moment it’s there and the next it’s gone forever. Taking a mental note of something is basically useless, especially if you are dealing with several things at once. Therefore, it is always a good idea to jot down your thoughts as soon as you have them.
When I say that you need to write everything down, I mean EVERYTHING! It doesn’t matter if it’s related to your main goal or not, just write that thing down. You can either use a physical notebook or take notes through a note-taking app in your smartphone.
Your mind is good at producing ideas, but not so much at keeping them, and so the notes you’ll write will act as an extension to your mind. Of course, you’ll need to segregate the items that you need to accomplish for the day or the coming weeks to take most out of them.
4. Listen to the background music of video games
The background music of games can actually help you get focused and be more productive because they are basically made for this purpose. The background music of video games is not just there to entertain the gamers, it acts as a mind-stimulus, helping gamers focus on what is happening in the game.
Here’s my favorite track from Suikoden II that I listen to when I want to work efficiently on a project.
5. Pick off the low-hanging fruits first
By low-hanging fruits, I mean tasks that can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. As I mentioned above, list making can help achieve much, however, even on your list, try to finish the tasks that can be finished quicker than the ones that are bound take much time.
I would recommend doing the quick tasks at the start of your day. This way, your little victories will pile up and help motivate you for the rest of the day. Think of it as powering up before fighting the final battle.
Plus, of course, overestimate the time needed for you to accomplish each item. The trick is to make yourself believe in its overestimation while striving to actually finish it as soon as you can, so you can move on to other things.
6. Isolate yourself from the outside world time to time
You should allot a time of the day when you go totally off the grid meaning no emails, social media or phone calls etc. Likewise, if you have your own office close yourself to any calls or visits, if you work at home, unplug everything and put a sign on your door to keep people away. You can use this time to relax, and lose your nerves, more like pressing your ‘refresh’ button.
It would be more effective on your productivity if you try to do it often, or even daily. It will be difficult in the beginning, but once your mind has adapted to this routine, it will come as a breeze for you. You just need to follow your own rules!
7. Don’t completely finish all your tasks for the day
This might seem counterproductive but play with the idea for a bit. Suppose you have already finished most of your tasks for the day, and there’s just that one task remaining that can still be continued the next day. Even if you are already about to finish it, stop in your tracks and just leave it hanging for now.
Why? Because starting your day with a clean slate is harder than picking up from where you left yesterday.
A good example of this is when you’re writing an essay or an article, it takes several minutes to an hour to come up with a title, or even the intro paragraph. But once you finally start writing, the ball just keeps on rolling. So if you finish your write-up today and start a new topic tomorrow, it’ll be a new struggle all over again.
Instead, if you stop before the last paragraphs and get back to it the next day, you’ll have the chance to go over the whole thing with a fresh mind, and continuing on won’t be a big trouble.
Here’s a thread about this on Reddit that can be applied not only to writing an essay but also to other activities as well.
8. Do yourself a favor, start a night before
Almost all the things that you need to accomplish in a day will most likely need some sort of preparation. It doesn’t just apply to when you’re going on a vacation or a business trip (because in that case, it is absolutely necessary to prepare the night before).
Doesn’t matter if you have a 9 to 5 office routine or home-based working hours, it won’t hurt to put a sweeping glance on your apparel, equipment or paperwork a night before. Trust me, it will give you such a great sense of satisfaction the next day when everything will be ready and waiting for you to start a productive day.
What comes next? Proceed to #1
There is no end to this, it cycles on and on.
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