Improve Productivity in Five Easy Steps
If you’re like the average American, you probably believe you’re firing on all cylinders all the time (at least compared to your peers), but the truth is you’re not the best judge of your own productivity. In fact, on average, American workers estimate their own personal productivity to be approximately 11 percentage points higher than their colleagues. However, we can’t all be more productive than everyone around us, so there is obviously a disconnect in our perception and the reality of our own productivity. Luckily, there are several tried and true methods to tangibly improve productivity with real world results that you can take to the bank. Here are just a few of the easiest to implement.
5 Simple Tips to Improve Productivity
Schedule your morning coffee
This is probably the simplest tip of all – make sure you drink your coffee before or after your cortisol levels drop. Why? According to Fast Company, your body naturally produces lots of the hormone cortisol when you wake up to help get you going. And, when cortisol is high, caffeine doesn’t affect your body as much.
For most people, cortisol levels are at their highest between 8 am and 9 am. So, you should either down your Starbucks before or after that peak if you want to achieve a maximum buzz before diving into that to-do list.
Try to Pomodoro Technique
Need to get a task—or a full list of to-dos—done immediately? Set a productivity timer for 20 or 30 minutes. (You can even find some fun options online). Then, either focus on completing one task, or as many smaller tasks as you can, before the timer runs out. You can even scale up this technique for team use.
Shut down distractions
Today, social media and messaging accounts for about one in every three minutes we spend online. That’s a lot of distraction. When you need to buckle down and get to work, try web blocking tools, like Freedom, to cut yourself off from social sites, or any other sites where you find yourself wasting precious productivity time. You can also use these methods to narrow your focus:
- Book a meeting room for yourself
- Pop in earbuds to signal you’re not open to chat
- Set your devices on “do not disturb” mode
Break it down
If facing down a difficult, time-consuming or complicated project instantly overwhelms you, try breaking your mission down into more manageable chunks.
For instance, if you need to create a sales presentation, your first step could be making a list of questions the client might ask. Your second step might be creating an outline. And so on. You can even spread the tasks out over days or weeks—if your deadline allows.
Get plenty of rest
According to the snooze experts at the National Sleep Foundation, getting enough rest can improve productivity and overall performance, helping you boost memory, recover from distractions faster, avoid burnout and even make better decisions. They recommend finding a quiet space to squeeze in a quick, 10- to 20-minute cat nap at the office for optimal performance.
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