Friday, March 29, 2013

How to Instantly Increase Productivity

Are you constantly missing your deadlines... even when you set the deadline yourself? Perhaps you are writing your book on the secrets of winning Scrabble game but you can't ever seem to complete a chapter on time. I know the feeling. Now that I am working as an independent publishing and communications specialist primarily working from home, it's very easy for me to miss deadlines but, I've got it under control. You probably want to know what I needed to learn a few months ago.  How can you work faster and increase your productivity without increasing the number of hours you work in a day?

Here are my top five tips for instantly increasing productivity. 
  1. Stop taking so many darn breaks! Distractions like emails and random internet surfing can seriously cripple your productivity. Watching that one related 5-minute YouTube video that showed up in your Google search may seem harmless, but it's not. Check out the chart I found below on The Cost of Distractions and Interruptions. You can read the article here but the image below really tells it all.

  2. Create a Schedule and stick to it. Schedule your entire day. Yes, sometimes you will have to deviate from the schedule, but sticking as closely as possible to your schedule ensures that you are getting maximum returns on your time. And yes, you can schedule the fun stuff too. You can even schedule free time where you have nothing to do. I know it sounds crazy, but try it.  It works.  It is also important to keep a To-Do list and organise your tasks for each day.

  3. Check emails only a few times a day. Every time you check your email, you are getting distracted and you already know the cost of distractions. My Blackberry (yes, I'm a "BB" girl), goes off about once every 5-15 minutes. I put it on vibrate and glance at it only once in a while. Even then, I don't always open an email or text if I don't think it is necessary until my designated email reading time.
  4. Close the browsers and chat windows. This may not apply to you, but it probably does if you are honest with yourself. Unnecessary Internet surfing and online chatting is one of the biggest problems that companies are facing today. Their employees are using the internet to source useful information, but also wasting much time on unnecessary browsing and chatting. Close the browsers if you are not using them and sign out of chat sessions. It is an unnecessary temptation and simply wastes your time.
  5. Just Start. Starting a project can be the hardest part of a job. Whether you are overwhelmed or intimidated by a particular project, you'll never get anywhere unless you start. Make a plan. If the plan-making isn't working, simply begin. It doesn't matter if you have to take a few steps back, because then, at least you're moving and in the race. 
You may have noticed that points 1, 3 and 4 have to do with eliminating distractions. Focus on that first and you will be well on your way. Good luck and don't forget to sign up to the email list here for special offers and publishing and communications news. 

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