Whatever you're working on, being productive is the key to reaching your goals. But productivity doesn't just happen - it comes from the habits you develop and the choices you make every day. Here's a guide to developing a productivity practice that can help you feel better and accomplish more in just 30 days. Focus on doing one thing each day for the challenge - but make them all habits that become part of your daily routine.
Interested?? Let's start with Part One!
Day 16: Set High Priority Tasks During Your "Peak Hours"
Everyone has a period when they're working at their peak - alert, energized and focused. Whether your "peak hours" are early in the morning, late at night or somewhere in between, use those hours to take care of the most important tasks on your agenda.
Day 17: Work On Delegating Tasks
If you're feeling overwhelmed with too many things to do, consider which tasks, at work or at home, you can delegate to someone else. Make a list of all the jobs that need to be done in a day and decide which ones can be done by a family member or other helper.
Day 18: Work In Intervals and Time Yourself
For many people, working in timed intervals rather than long stretches is a way to improve efficiency and concentration. Set timers or alerts to help pace tasks and remind you to take a break to move around and re-focus.
Day 19: Outsource
Along with delegating tasks to others, outsourcing work related jobs to professionals in those areas can save you time and money. Even getting help for household chores can free your time for doing the tasks that only you can do. If there's anything someone can do better than you can, send that task their way - whether it's taking care of your accounting or cleaning the garage.
Day 20: Designate a Time for Answering Emails
Constantly checking and answering email can consume a lot of productive work time. Turn off email notifications while you're working and schedule a specific time in your workday to answer the ones that are important.
Day 21: Unsubscribe From Distracting Emails
Along with important emails, your inbox may be filled with a variety of distracting notices from lists you've subscribed to. Clean up your email by unsubscribing from any emails that aren't relevant to your goals and interests, or send them to a separate folder to read later.
Day 22: Look for Tools to Improve Your Workflow
If certain areas of your workflow aren't moving as smoothly as you'd like, look for new tools to help. From messaging and meeting apps to schedulers, planners and productivity software, new business tools can save you time and support your long-term goals.
Day 23: Minimize Meeting Time
Meetings may be necessary, but if they're not managed well, they can consume too much productive time. Consider "standing meetings" in which no one sits down, or virtual check-ins and chats with an in-office messaging and team management app.
Day 24: Learn to Say No
Along with delegating and outsourcing tasks to others, learn to say no when you need to. Taking on too many tasks and giving up too much of your time to meet others' needs creates stress and derails your own goals. Don't feel comfortable with saying no? Consider a course or book on setting boundaries to help you get the hang of it.
Day 25: Designate a Break for Social Media
Although social media can be both social and business related, checking your accounts throughout the day consumes work time and affects your concentration. Choose a time such as lunch or an afternoon break to catch up on social media and avoid distractions during work time. If you need help staying away from those distracting sites, consider tools like Leechblock or Nanny - browser extensions that allow you to block specific sites for certain periods of time.
Day 26: Use Your Commute Time
For many people, commuting is a regular part of the workday, and that time can be used for minor work tasks such as checking and answering emails and phone calls, or catching up on reading and research. Consider investing in devices and apps that can help you make your commute time more productive.
Day 27: Exercise Daily
Regular exercise has a long list of well-documented benefits for both the body and mind, and adding daily exercise to your routine can also boost productivity and counter the effects of long periods spent sitting. You don't have to put in long hours at the gym to see the benefits, either. Build exercise into your workday by stretching during breaks, taking a walk at lunch or after work, or using the stairs rather than the elevator.
Day 28: Make a Weekly List of Your Achievements
Seeing your accomplishments on paper can put things into perspective and keep you focused on your goals. Set a time at the end of every week to list your achievements, both large and small, for a boost in confidence and motivation.
Day 29: Reward Yourself
The brain is hard-wired with an extensive pleasure and reward network. Rewarding yourself for work well done, problems solved or goals met can reinforce positive feelings and keep you motivated and moving forward. Make sure rewards are healthy and meaningful.
Day 30: Sleep at Least 8 Hours Every Night
Sleep allows the brain to process information, consolidate memories and refresh itself. Sleep deficits can affect productivity in many ways, causing problems with concentration, decision making and organizing tasks. Aim for eight hours a night to boost brainpower and productivity.
So there you are - 30 tips to become more productive in 30 days. What can you achieve? If you're up for the challenge, let us know how it goes in the comments below.
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