5 Ways to Become Instantly More Productive

Here are the answers to your productivity problems. Stop the mad roller coaster of late, last minute, or left ’till tomorrow tasks with these 5 ways to become instantly more productive. Don’t forget, your success is up to one person… you.

 1. Stop multi-tasking!

Just because you can do eight things at once doesn’t mean you should do eight things at once.

It’s simple, really. Using your brain to do 8 different things at once doesn’t just wear you out. It means you are not using your full capacity to get something done. Your mind probably gets turned into a jumbled mess, you get a headache, and you get frustrated and leave it to later. Then you go web browsing.

That’s why this is number one. Stop multi-tasking. 

Instead of doing eight tasks at once that will take you six hours to complete (poorly), do one task completely, and then move on to the next.

These things will result:

  1. You will have something to cross off your to do list ( which is incredibly mentally refreshing)
  2.  Time saved!

Set hard deadlines with rewards.  If you need to write an article, paper, or memo, set a deadline, and don’t allow yourself to have a reward until your task is completed:

  • No email until the task is completed.
  • No lunch until the proposal is finished.
  • No Facebook and Twitter until the article is turned in.

2. Let technology do some of the work for you

You’re not suddenly unproductive, I’m guessing. This has probably been something you’ve struggled with for some time.

Habit change is hard, so rather than leaving it up to willpower, let’s use technology to help us break the bad habits!

Step 1) Track where you are spending your time.  You know how it’s pretty eye opening when you track your calories and realize just how far off you were from what you thought you were eating?  Try tracking your time too!  Use a program like Rescue Time or a simple excel sheet blocked out in 30-minute sections to see how you’re spending your time.

Step 2) Download “Self-control” for Mac or Self-Restraint for PC.  Select a list of websites that you want to block for a certain amount of time. Once the application is turned on, there is NOTHING you can do to access those sites while the timer is running (uninstalling the program or restarting your computer won’t work).

3. Don’t let email dominate you

What’s the first thing you do once sitting down at your computer?  I bet it’s check email.

Even worse, do you check your email while lying in bed when you wake up in the morning on your phone?

Turn off email notifications.  If you are on Gmail, don’t keep the tab open all the time. Better yet, block yourself from Gmail when you’re not using it!  If you use Microsoft Outlook or another desktop program, turn off the buttons, noises, numbers, and notifications that signal when you have a new email. Consider setting specific times when you can check your email, or only after specific tasks.

Get your Gmail under control.

  • TURN OFF mail and chat notifications in Gmail.
  • Set “Go to the next (newer) conversation” as the default option.
  • In Labs, turn on the “send and archive” button.
  • In Labs, turn on “auto-advance” feature.
  • In Labs, enable “background send.”
  • In Labs, enable “send and archive” button.

 Make two folders in your Gmail account. 

  • ACTION
  • NON-ESSENTIAL

It’s time to stop wasting time. Get that email under control. Here’s how:

  • If you see an email for a newsletter or announcement that you repeatedly skim but don’t read anymore, UNSUBSCRIBE. Be merciless and get rid of anything you don’t read, you can always sign up again if you really miss it.
  • If you are a hardcore social media user, turn off the notification emails you receive every time anything happens.  If you’re worried about missing out on some important message, filter them into a special “Social Media” folder, and then hide that folder beneath the “more” button.  Check it once a day.
  • If you get an email that you actually DO read but doesn’t require action(blog post, Amazon shipment notification, email newsletter) click on “FILTER messages like this,” check “skip the inbox”, and label it as “Non-Essential.”
  • For emails that you get from friends, family, co-workers that require action, RESPOND IMMEDIATELY and archive or filter into “Action.”  Come back and handle the “Action” emails as quickly as possible when you have time to deal with them, then remove the label once you are done.”

Now all you have to do when you check your email is categorize. Easier than going threw them all one by one, responding, tying to write an article, and scrolling on facebook all at the same time.

Don’t read it anymore?  Unsubscribe and archive.

Non-essential? Filter it into “Non-essential,” read and archive.

Email from a friend, co-worker, or something that requires a response?Respond immediately and then archive.

Email that requires a long response? Quickly move it to the “Action” folder and move onto the next one.  At the end of the day, come back into the “Action” folder and knock out them out.

4. Organize the space around you.

This might seem like a pretty simple step but, I promise you, it will make a huge difference.

Being surrounded in clutter and mess has a very negative affect on the brain. Clutter plays a big roll in being unproductive, and should be tackled straight away.

Start decluttering your computer, your desktop, your drawers and file cabinets. Build yourself a system that works for you, and revel in the glorious feeling that a fresh, new workspace gives you.

 

5. Start Small

That’s right, don’t overdue it. This might seem like a lot, I know.

So start with something simple, take your time,

Pick one tiny piece of one part of the advice listed above, and do it today.  Filter ONE email.  Unsubscribe from ONE newsletter.  Block yourself for just FIVE minutes from certain sites to start.

And remember this; stop thinking about it and just do it. Thinking gives you time to come up with excuses not to.

Excuses. Don’t get you. Anywhere.

Go places today!

 

 

Author: Claire Gagnon

Claire is our resident news editor with a lifelong passion for business & finance. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, craft projects and spending time with her beloved horses.

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  • Jordan

    Love this. I’m such a procrastinator.