It may seem like productive people are born that way. In fact, productivity is a learned skill – some people just learn it earlier than others.
The good news is that if productivity is a learned skill, it is not too late for you to learn that skill on how to increase productivity.
You could start acquiring skills on how to increase productivity by learning from productive people. There are a lot of resources out there on learning to be productive, usually by picking up on habits of productive people.
An article published in Inc. recommends simplifying your life by removing unnecessary activities from your to-do list, removing unnecessary items from your environment, and doing similar tasks one after the other.
A more concise article published by Lifehack recommends looking at the big picture and keeping your eyes on the objective rather than letting yourself get bogged down in the steps.
According to an article by Entrepeneur, reading makes us more productive, even if we may not feel productive while doing it; an article by Forbes recommends becoming more productive by leading a physically and mentally healthy life by working out, getting lots of sleep, and remembering not to be too productive. All of these tips are stilled from long listicles, and there are plenty more where those came from.
Every human is different and trying to learn how to increase productivity might involve a little more than just learning what other people are up to.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for those articles above, or that you should stop reading this article, or not read more articles like this one. Some of those tips from productive people will help everybody – like being healthier, that’s just an objective good – and some of the others will probably help you too.
Some of them probably won’t help you, however, and some may even hurt your productivity. If you need to be more productive you’ll probably make a few changes but if you come across a suggestion that you don’t like – like maybe you work better in a slightly cluttered workspace, some people are like that – then just don’t bother trying to make that change to your life.
There are also things that will help you on how to increase productivity that aren’t on any of those lists. Maybe you know a productive person who insists on starting every morning by doing a jigsaw puzzle while drinking coffee but because your friend isn’t Steve Jobs no one bothered to write down his method.
Sometimes you don’t actually need to change things to be more productive. Maybe you thought you were productive already, but a promotion or career change has got you questioning that.
If you’re a productive person there’s no harm in trying to be more productive but you also might just need some time to adapt to the new demands being placed on your productivity.
Suppose that you are a painter and you’ve painted a picture and some of your friends have offered you money to paint pictures for them. You now have to paint two pictures. You don’t need to learn how to paint all over again, you’ve just got to move some things around and maybe rethink your method a little.
Getting a promotion or taking on a more challenging job can feel a lot like that. You still have all of the skills that you need, you’ve just got to get over the fear that you’ve lost all of your skills or that you aren’t good at your job because you’ve been thrown for a loop and feel a little winded.
If you suddenly need to be more productive it can put stress on you that can make you feel like you don’t know how to do anything anymore but of course that’s not the case, you just need some time to settle in.
Procrastination is like a virus; easy to catch but hard to get rid of. You make a list of excuses and go from one to another. But once you’ve broken that bad habit and broken out of your shell, you’ll discover that being productive is one of the best feelings in the world.
Most of us are more productive early in the day before noon which is why you should pick a big task and tackle it early in the morning. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief once they’re out of your way.
This gives you the opportunity to leave the easier tasks for later in the day when you’re more likely to feel more relaxed. However, some people find they’re more productive after their lunch break, so play on your strengths and plan your day accordingly.
When you enter the realm of social media, it’s like falling into an abyss – you can’t escape. It’s captivating, endless and time-consuming. And exhausting.
Rarely has anyone ever gotten off Facebook and felt recharged and ready to get back to work.
In fact, most of us feel like we need time to unwind and relax after reading all those mind-numbing posts and comments.
If you wake up late and have to rush through everything, you’ll probably feel like the day is going to go from bad to worse. But if you have a routine set up, starting from when you wake up, what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to eat, when you go to bed – then that eliminates that feeling of despair.
Start with little things in your day, like planning your meals for the day or week even, and it becomes easier to get more things done throughout the day because you’ll know exactly what’s coming next. And the more you repeat it, the easier it becomes. Add to that 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep and regular exercise which are both great productivity boosters.
Planning your day can either be by the hour or by prioritizing the things you have to get done during the day. It keeps you on track by moving from one goal to the next. You can also plan your entire week on Monday morning, just allow yourself some leeway to deal with situations that may pop up spontaneously.
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking a break can actually help you re-focus. Your brain is wired to work in 60 minute increments, longer than that and your concentration lags.
Taking a break means you re-energize your brain, giving it the downtime it needs, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes, then coming back to the task with fresh eyes.
You may think you’re getting many things done at once, but the truth is none of it is getting your full attention so nothing is actually being accomplished as it should be. Things like constantly checking your email, going from one task to another without finishing either, answering phone calls – all these things force your brain to take some time.
Experts agree that it’s close to 15 minutes – for the brain to readjust to the new task. This means you lose brain power, and anything you’ve been focusing on goes down the drain.
Now while it may seem difficult to implement all 5 tips at the same time, start with the one that seems easiest to you. After that, try another one. Once you’ve felt how great productivity is, you’ll feel excited about trying other ways to help increase productivity and boost energy.