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Whenever we try to follow tips on articles about how to be productive, they rarely stick through. We feel extremely motivated immediately after reading them but it’s often temporary. This is mostly because all the productivity-related articles that you read are most probably unrealistic. If you’re a person who is just starting off, you’ll probably need a much simpler list of tips to follow.
In this article, I’ll be sharing 8 tips that will help you to realistically be much more productive. If you are serious about being more productive, take a pen and paper to write these tips down – or save this article for future reference.
1. Set Monthly Goals
Before each month starts, set yourself a few monthly goals. This means that within the month, at your own pace, you’ll need to try and achieve these set goals. It could be to ace a specific subject, or to get a specific number of sales. Whichever goals you set, make sure that they are realistic. This will help you to remember that the goals you have set are actually achievable.
When setting goals, sometimes it’s difficult to see if your goals are really goals or dreams (which normally need much longer than a month to achieve). One good method is to use the SMART strategy on your goals. The SMART strategy simply refers to the following:
Specific – Your goals have to be clear and very specific. If it’s too vague, it can sometimes be too difficult to achieve.
Measurable – Make sure that your goals are measurable so that you can keep track of your progress.
Achievable – The goals have to be something that is actually achievable within the time frame. For instance, if you’re currently earning $2000 per month, you can’t make a goal to achieve $100,000 next month. Setting an achievable goal will help you to keep you motivated rather than making you feel like you’re trying to get something that is simply not within reach.
Realistic – Realistic goals are ones that you know you’re able to achieve with the skillsets and abilities that you currently have.
Timely – It has to be able to be completed within an estimated amount of time – In this case, a month.
This will help you to set realistic goals, which will be much easier to achieve and in turn, allow you to be more productive.
2. Make A List Of Daily Tasks
Take note of all the tasks you need to complete within the day and make a list. There are many ways to make this list. Some of us prefer to make these lists in the form of a to-do list. This means that the tasks taken down will need to be completed before the day comes to an end.
Another way to do this is using the time-blocking method. It’s simple, block out time slots in your daily schedule to complete the specific tasks. So instead of giving yourself the entire day to complete them, you’ll be focusing on individual tasks in your own time slots. For example, if your workout time is from 9am to 10am, you’ll probably give yourself some time to shower, get some rest, and then get back to work at 11am sharp. And maybe you’ll work for 2 hours and then treat yourself to a break before going onto another task later on.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to make the list on a daily basis. This will really help you to keep track of how many tasks you’ve been completing daily and really improve your productivity.
3. Stop Saying ‘Yes’ To Everyone
We all want to be nice to everyone or be the ‘good friend’ at all times. So, sometimes we find it extremely difficult to say ‘no’ to people. If they make plans and invite you, you’ll say “yeah okay sure, I’ll be there” even if it completely ruins the study plans you had for the evening. Or if your friends call you to play PC games, you’ll say “Yes! See you guys in 5!” instantly. The new workout routine you had in mind to try at the gym disappears.
It is good to join your friends and say yes to them. However, make sure that you aren’t ditching plans that are equally important – like studying, working, etc. Believe it or not, simply being able to say ‘no’ takes a lot of self-discipline. If you train yourself to stop saying ‘Yes’ to everyone, you’ll see an immediate increase in your productivity.
4. Get Enough Sleep
A lot of us are not aware of how much of a toll it takes on our mental health when we get insufficient sleep. I’m sure you’ve heard people say “you need 7 hours of sleep to be healthy”. This is not a joke. Apart from being unable to restore your physical strength, lack of sleep can really affect your mental health as well.
Psychologically, it was found information goes from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, late at night – when you’re deep asleep. This happens during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM sleep only occurs during your 6th to 7th hour of sleep. People who get less than the bare minimum of 6 hours of sleep, do not effectively have information reinforced in their long-term memory. This means that in the long run, this could lead to a poor memory span. Not to mention, your vision as well needs extremely good care and needs sufficient rest on a daily basis.
5. Plan A Weekly Schedule
Be it daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, you can’t deny that planning doesn’t give a sense of odd satisfaction – sometimes even before you complete the tasks inside. But here’s the thing I’m trying to highlight on this point. A daily plan is way too focused and a monthly plan is too blurry. A weekly plan, however, can give you a very good idea of the tasks that are to be completed on that specific day, as well as the next few days. This is a brilliant way to ensure that you’re on track with your tasks. A weekly calendar will help to guide you through your progress much better than a monthly calendar.
6. Stop Multitasking
Let’s not lie to ourselves. We all believe that we can be more productive by doing two things at once. Well, the truth is, we can. However, it’s not as effective as you might have expected it to be.
Studies have proven that focusing on more than one task at a time can reduce your productivity by 40%! That’s almost as good as doing the tasks separately, isn’t it? Multitasking is good if you’re doing two activities where at least one of them does not require your constant monitoring. If you’ve trained yourself to multitask for a long time, then it might also work for you. However, in general, if you’re just starting out, I would highly recommend you to stop multitasking altogether and focus more on the individual tasks. Completing one task fully before going for the next can improve your productivity tremendously.
7. Write A ‘Stop Doing’ List
We all know what a to-do list is – it’s a list of activities or tasks that you need to be completed. A stop-doing list is a list containing all the activities or tasks that you need to stop yourself from doing. It could be because they’re not making you better, or are not helping with your work. They simply make you less productive.
Having a stop-doing list can help you to get rid of unnecessary tasks and even get rid of bad habits. For example, if you’re addicted to playing a specific mobile game, try making a stop-doing list with that task inside. “No mobile games today”. It might be a little difficult to follow through if you’re just getting started. Therefore, since we are looking at realistic methods to increase productivity, start off with something like “No mobile games until study time is over”. This will help you to build discipline within yourself to control the addiction and even do better during your study time.
8. Do 90 Minutes Of Uninterrupted Work Daily
Keyword: uninterrupted. It’s easy to put down a slot in your daily schedule to get some work done. But how many of us actually use up the entire time to focus entirely on the task at hand? My guess is, barely any. Mobile phones have made it practically impossible for us to focus on anything. Previously, it used to be a want, like wanting to play games or kill time when you’re bored. But now, while the wants still exist, it’s almost a need. School groups, class activity groups, event groups, important messages, and almost every single thing gets notified to us through our phones.
In conclusion, these 8 tips that I’ve shared with you should be sufficient to help you to be productive. Once you’ve mastered these tips, you’ll be able to go for more difficult tasks that require more discipline in order to increase productivity and effectiveness. An article that I highly suggest is about a daily routine that changed my life. I’m sure it will change your life too. For any questions, do contact us at email@example.com.
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