Let’s start with the definition of productivity. Productivity is a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. It is often assumed that productivity means getting more things done each day, however this is not correct. Productivity is getting important things done consistently and getting the results you want with less time and effort. It is not about being busy all the time, or constantly moving through tasks, pushing deadlines and always trapped by a large number of tasks. Productivity is about making the most of your time and working smarter, not harder.
So why do we want to increase productivity? Usually we would say that the reason is we want more free time to do things we enjoy doing. We will have more leisure time, to spend training, with friends or family, reading or any other chosen activity. If we can achieve goals at a faster pace, we have more time to set and reach other goals, and stress is decreased as we don’t have to rush to meet tight deadlines. We all would like to have a magic genie to grant us with 3 Genie Wishes, just like the online slot on RoseSlots.com, to complete our jobs for us so we don’t have to do them all ourselves. In this slot, where we are helped by Aladdin and the magic lantern, offline we don’t have this luxury and we need to know how to increase productivity and get the tasks done ourselves.
Now we will get on to the most important part – how to become more productive! On a Sunday evening, when we are preparing for the week, it is ideal to make a to-do list of all the things we have to do that week. Using a calendar or a daily planner, it is best to make a note of everything that needs done, what day we will do them and when the deadline is. Insert all the meetings, appointments, essays, social engagements, breaks from work and anything else that is planned for the coming days. Then add all the tasks that need to be done and what needs to be achieved for these to be completed. By doing this before the week begins, it reduces the stress of a Monday morning, panicking about the mountain of work that lies before us. As it has all been planned out, when and where it will be done, and how long it will take, it lets us start the week feeling ready to take on any challenges.
First things first, focus on the most important tasks. Whether it is a major work project or a hefty household task, this is where to begin. We may want to put it off, as it is a large job, but it will be a major tick off the list once it is completed. Look at the list of things that need to be achieved for this task to be completed, and logically plan where is best to start. Breaking tasks down into smaller parts helps to make the job more manageable and feel like less of a burden. Having these all in a list, and ticking them off as we go, allows us to feel more motivated and accomplished as we can see how much we have already done. For example, if you have a 1,000-word article to write, break it down into smaller sections. This could be five 200-word sections, formatting, adding headings, adding images and running a spellcheck. Having achieved all these little parts adds to the satisfaction of completing the entire article.
Once the most important tasks are completed, it’s time to focus on smaller jobs, the easier ones that will take less time and effort. If they take lower levels of concentration, it is best to complete these later in the day, as we will already feel accomplished from getting the big ones out of the way and not having to spend the morning stressing about the large and daunting tasks that will come later in the afternoon. Towards the end of the day, or even towards the end of the week, is a perfect time to do all the smaller things, as we tend to lose focus when dinnertime or the weekend is approaching.
Creating and sticking to this routine of making lists and ticking off tasks is great for our productivity. Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach, explains that humans are creatures of habit, and this applies to our brains too. Establishing routine allows us to carry out tasks faster as we don’t have to think about it, or prepare for it as much. We are now working on autopilot, rather than thinking, forgetting and remembering about everything that we must get done.
The Harvard Business Review published an article on multitasking, describing how doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, believing we are getting more done. However this is not the case. In reality, our productivity decreases by up to 40% when multitasking. Focusing on one task at a time, then moving onto the next is much more efficient and this smarter method of work significantly increases productivity.
It is also important to do more of the work you enjoy. Not all of us may be fortunate enough to do what we love for a living, and many parts of a work day can feel like a drag if we are not fond of doing them. Having time to ourselves and spending time on activities that make us happy, will make us overall more productive. This leaves us feeling more fulfilled and inspired and more prepared to tackle the working day and the more tedious tasks.
Prioritising work and being aware of what we need to do is essential in being more productive. By doing this, we are mastering time management and learning to work smarter. Learning to do this may take time and dedication, but once you become more productive it’s hard to look back!