Overlooked tips to increase productivity

Published: March 25, 2024
Overlooked tips to increase productivity

When trying to be more productive, we often think about waking up early and working more. But other, less-known strategies can increase productivity even more. Before, I used to spend too much time on UK betting sites with no ID verification, playing casino games day and night. This hurt my relationships with my family and made me less focused at work. However, by following the following tips, I've managed to balance work, family, and leisure. I still play casino games, but it doesn't affect my relationships or work anymore. I hope these tips can help you find a similar balance and become more productive.

Don't include unnecessary tasks on your to-do list

It's always nice to cross off completed tasks, but this does not mean that you should add a large number of elementary tasks to your to-do list. If you write down little things it has its benefits, but it also has its downsides. For example, it becomes more difficult for us to prioritize tasks, and the list becomes more complex. Sometimes this even causes toxic productivity, leading to overwork or procrastination. Additionally, there may be a false feeling that we managed to do a lot in a day, although in fact, we were doing just basic things. For small habits and rituals, such as reminders to take vitamins or exercise, it is better to use special apps like habit trackers.

Consume only the information that you need now

If you want, you can find a new article or a new podcast episode every 10 minutes. This is great, but if your daily consumption of information is preventing you from doing the things you need to do, it's time to change your approach. The principle of timely learning will help you here. Its essence is to consume only content related to the current task. If the content doesn't meet these criteria, set it aside for later. 

Take time to rest

People sleep at night, and without days off, it is impossible to work productively on weekdays. Even elite athletes sometimes take a break from training. If you are always actively pursuing a goal, you need to carefully plan your vacation. I try to unload my free time. For example, twice a week I don’t wake up early and don’t look at the clock. I just sleep or enjoy conversations with my family and go with the flow. What else helps me is clear planning of the working day and frequent short rests (about half an hour) to reboot my brain and prepare myself for a new task.

Listen to music at work

Of course, music can be a distraction when you work on complex tasks that require concentration. However, research confirms that listening to calm or familiar music makes monotonous, repetitive tasks easier and helps distract you from conversations and other office noise. Researchers have also found that even 15 minutes of music has a positive effect on creativity and improves mood.

Keep your desktop tidy

If a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind, then what does an empty desk mean?' - This statement by Albert Einstein extends to the area of productivity. While a desk cluttered with papers is unlikely to make you productive, a completely empty desk is the enemy of motivation and creativity. Trello co-founder Michael Pryor advises keeping no more than three items on your desk at a time. All he has on his desk is a photo of his family and a laptop. So, be sure to clean up your workspace at the end of the day. Then, in the morning, you will not be distracted and will be able to focus more quickly on your current affairs.

Make to-do lists at the end of the day 

Quite often, we have to spend the whole morning trying to figure out where we stopped yesterday and where to start now. To save yourself time and nerves, make a short to-do list for the next day in the evening. Write down your 3-4 most important tasks for tomorrow. Then, in the morning, you won’t have to choose what to do first.

A time when you are especially productive

There is probably a certain part of the day when you work at your best and get the most things done without forcing yourself. It is very important to identify this time and make the most of it. For example, if you find it easier to work before lunch, try coming to work early on particularly busy days. This will make the first half of the day longer, and you will have time to do more.

Personal is a priority

Most people work from 10:00 to 18:00. And when the schedule is unstable, it tends to consume 16 hours a day, if not all 24. Personal affairs and projects are often relegated to the back burner with the clause 'I’ll do it when I’m done with work.' But this happy moment never seems to arrive. So, try doing the opposite. First and foremost, devote time to personal matters - sports, self-education, creativity, or blogging. Only then proceed to the main tasks. This way, you will learn to accomplish the same work in less time and rid yourself of the feeling that life is passing you by and you don’t have time to do what is important to you.

Don't work at the end of the day

According to  WHO, overwork, strict deadlines, and the habit of taking tasks home are harmful to physical and mental health. However, millions of people still fall into the same trap: they do not switch off from work at the end of the day, continuing to work even on weekends and vacations. Work tasks with toxic productivity seem more important than sleep, rest, walks, and exercise. This leads to chronic stress, haemorrhoids, cardiovascular problems, and other disorders associated with a sedentary, socially withdrawn, and highly nervous lifestyle.

The only way to escape the trap of toxic productivity is to establish a healthy work-life balance. Relax on the weekend - no phones, urgent emails, or business meetings. To regain strength, you need to completely disconnect from work. Ensure you sleep at least 7 hours a day; for example, you can go to bed no later than 11 pm. And eat properly at least twice a day, avoiding snacking on the run.

Remember, life is not a sprint, but a marathon. To stay productive, healthy, and happy both in and outside of your career, it’s important to maintain a work-family-leisure balance in your life.

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