3 Tips to Increase Productivity

Today it seems like we are always hearing about new apps and programs to help us stay productive and on task so that we can accomplish more in our days. To a certain extent, I agree that technology has allowed individuals and businesses to be more productive than ever, but I firmly believe that there are some personal habits that can help increase and boost your productivity—both in your professional and personal life.

1. Be prepared.

Before you need to be.

Taking the steps to be as prepared as possible for even common occurrences can greatly boost your productivity. In fact, I think you’d be surprised at how much time actually goes into preparing for the tasks that we accomplish each day. By moving into a mindset and schedule that allows you to be as organized as possible, you can greatly alleviate common stresses and productivity busters that occur.

For example, try getting ready for your upcoming day the night before by picking out your clothes, having all of your items already in your briefcase or bag set near the door and mindfully assessing anything else that you’ll need when you’re going through your morning routine the next day.

You might be surprised at how quickly the minutes selecting the right outfit, preparing your lunch and getting together your work items add up. If you dedicate yourself to a week of getting completely prepared the night before, I think you’ll be shocked at how much better your morning flows, naturally allotting you more time to accomplish tasks.

2. Total focus.

Learn that some items require your complete attention.

Multi-tasking is all the rage when it comes to the concept of boosting productivity, but the most effective and focused people that I know recognize that there are tasks that demand your absolute attention without disruption.

I know that it can seem very hard and even frightening to turn off your electronics to dedicate time to only one task, but I swear that it can make all the difference in the world. By proactively deciding that you won’t check your email or phone or social accounts for an hour and solely dedicate your time to one or several core items, you are becoming more productive than ever.

It’s not just electronics that can distract you from focusing on important responsibilities. Assess your surroundings when you’re getting them done and remove yourself as much as you can from environments where you are likely to be called away from the task at hand.

In the office, this might require shutting your door, or putting a note outside of your cubicle indicating that you are busy, but that you’ll be available in an hour.

If you’re working from home, this requires finding a location where you’re not going to be distracted.You may recognize that getting up a half hour earlier than anyone else helps you achieve this, or that you should take the time to go to a different location like the library where you don’t have to the option to complete other tasks that you think will just take a moment, but do add up.

3. Time it.

Set timetables for your tasks.

By setting clear amounts of time that you are going to dedicate to a task, whether at home or at work, you are boosting your productivity levels immensely. It might seem counter-intuitive to think that you’ll stop doing something even if it isn’t done, but you’re not really stopping-you are actually creating a blue print of realistic and measurable time that you can apply to make you more productive overall.

For example, at home, staying organized can easily fall to the wayside as you try to manage your professional and personal life. It’s easy to let things stack up and think that you’ll address them when you get time. You need to take control and measure how much time it really does take to accomplish items in order to be productive. Start with small and focused tasks, like dedicating 15 minutes to one activity and then moving to the next. In a matter of an hour, you could genuinely have sorted your mail, cleaned your kitchen, organized your car, etc.

Productivity is an ever-evolving process. You need to have a true assessment of what you do on a daily basis in order to be able to accomplish more. Now off to the task at hand!