Picture this: It’s 5:30pm on Friday afternoon and you haven’t yet finished your presentation which is due for Monday morning 9am. You’ve been working hard all week and now you are faced with a decision. Stay and finish the presentation or go into the office earlier on Monday morning and work on it just before you have to do it.
You decide that it’s probably best you go and enjoy the weekend. You are exhausted from this week’s hard work and even though you have about 30 minutes of work left to do, that can wait until Monday.
You’re tired, exhausted and you feel a slight hate towards this presentation. You’ve been working on it all afternoon and know you only have to push through for another 30 minutes so you decide to stay in late and finish it. That glass of Merlot can wait a little bit longer.
So which one are you? Let’s be real here, there is no right or wrong answer. Both decisions will lead to the same outcome, which is completing the presentation and having it all ready by Monday morning 9am. The difference between the two is that decision A is not as reliable as decision B. You don’t know what else will come up on Monday morning before that presentation and you cannot guarantee that if you go in early, you will finish it. Maybe you’ll get a flat tire or your train runs late yet again. Maybe your boss sends you a 7 am email on Monday morning asking you to be in early as the meeting has been moved forward. It’s all to do with how productive you are. If you think about it, staying in that extra 30 minutes will guarantee you an open slot on Monday morning before the presentation, which you can use to focus on something else. By ticking it off your list, you have achieved what you were supposed to by Friday afternoon, before leaving the office. Being productive is all about making the right decisions, both in business and in life. There are various methods to take in consideration that allow you to increase your productivity.
Here are 10 habits to help you increase productivity
1. TO DO LIST
Everyday, you should already have a list of goals to do that you set from the night before. When you wake up, look at this list and make it a priority for you that day to tick every single goal of that list – provided that they are priorities of course. Don’t leave anything for tomorrow because you’ll face a new list to achieve the next day. Start by living your life with a purpose and everyday, tick the things of your list that will help you reach that.
We know that entrepreneurs, business owners and career driven individuals can lead very busy lives, maybe even facing high stress levels. Meditation can be a controversial topic because some will say that they don’t have time to sit and “do nothing” for half an hour a day. Let’s get something straight: every action you do has a reaction that is followed by it, so choose it wisely. Meditation will help you align both your mind and body together, so that everything you want so badly and all the success you mentally visualize can be made real by getting your mind and body to work together. Meditation helps minimize and eventually eliminate stress, which we all know can be a big cause of failure in business.
3. STAND IN MEETINGS
We’ve all witnessed meetings that kept going on and on for no absolute reason. If everybody in that room is prepared enough with their piece of the puzzle, meetings can be more effective and much quicker. The fact that boardrooms have comfortable seating, a nice big table and often come with coffee, tea and even delicious snacks is nice, but does it help with the outcome? No it doesn’t. Implement a strategy where all members stand during meetings. This way, the session should not run longer than 15/20 minutes. It’s also good for your body to have a change of pace and actually stand for a while, instead of spending all your day in the office sitting down.
4. SET REMINDERS
When you have a busy day ahead, your mind can be in two places at once. To ensure that you optimize productivity on every level, set yourself reminders fifteen minutes before the task should begin. This means that your brain has been made aware of what is coming next, therefore unconsciously preparing for that and getting yourself in the zone.
Any form of exercise will help you become more productive, but running in particular is a winner. If you’re not a fan of cardio, this may be a tough one to endure, but take in consideration the benefits that come with it. Running helps your body push itself past that point where you feel like you’re running out of breath and your legs are about to break. This is a quality that most entrepreneurs naturally possess or can teach themselves; push through the barrier and make it possible. It also helps release endorphins that can make you think more clearly and genuinely bring happiness to your day. Going out for a run balances your thoughts and can actually help you see things more clearly; that and you’ll also be healthier.
There’s a reason why all health professionals keep going on about the importance of sleep. It’s not the quantity of it, but the quality. You don’t have to indulge in a luxurious 7-8 hours sleep every night, but whatever your sleep patterns are, make them effective. Get yourself into a routine where you teach your body that every night at the same time, you’re going to slip into relax mode, recharge and sleep. Some very successful entrepreneurs say they only sleep four hours a night, but for that time, they go directly in deep sleep and amongst other things, it can help you take better decision when it comes to business and work.
The phenomenal Eric Thomas speaks in one of his recordings about knowledge being the new money. Thanks to the concept of neuroplasticity, we can conclude that the more you teach yourself new information, the more developed and productive your brain will be. Learn something new everyday. This can be reading a book or an inspirational quote, finding out something interesting in your industry, learning a new hobby, random fun facts, whatever it is just do it. Give your brain the treatment it receives. The better you use it, the more success you can encounter.
8. BREAK AND STRETCH
While you are stuck behind your desk for at least 8 hours a day, make it a habit to get up and do 2 minutes of stretching every hour. Whether you are just taking some time to breathe deeply and center yourself again or you’re ready to get into a full yoga pose, short breaks are very efficient for your productivity and unleashing creativity. Incorporate this into your own routine and before you know, it will come naturally and a habit you will end up absolutely looking forward to.
Internal communication within a business is extremely important. Departments need to collaborate and work together to achieve the overall objectives of the company. Due to busy schedules, this is often done via telephone or email, but you will find that face to face contact is much more effective and can save you a lot more time. Instead of going back and forth in an email thread, and accidentally cc’ing the wrong people in, why not get away from your desk, move your legs and go speak to that person? In the long run, it will save you time and also improve your relationship with fellow colleagues/employees.
10. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
As cliché as it sounds, your productivity levels can become better and better if you really want them to. Being 100% certain of your capabilities and practicing self-belief processes can increase your success rate and ability to shine in your industry or profession. This is possible when you are fully confident with yourself and what you can bring to the table. So if you know you can get the job done well and have what it takes, remind yourself of this every morning. The most important person that needs to believe in you is yourself.