Everyone wants to get the most work done, in the shortest amount of time. Many people think that doing a million things at once, or being on-call at all hours is the answer, but it’s not. The secrets to productivity are surprising, and easier to achieve than you think. A simple stretch or an elimination of e-mail can raise your productivity levels to new heights. Here are three easy ways to get more things done, in half the time.
1. Get a life
According to research, outside commitments and interests are linked with high achievement, so the more you do while not at your desk, the more productive you’ll be (Inc.com). When you’re out of the office, you de-stress, which allows your brain to think more clearly. This gives you room to be more creative and innovative. All highly productive people know this, and they take advantage of it. However, you don’t need to do a Richard Branson and take up hot-air ballooning as a pastime. Even taking simple breaks can increase your productivity, as your mind tends to get stuck if you try to focus on tasks non-stop. Just stretching for a minute or taking a quick walk can re-set your brain. That’s why you often get your best ideas in the shower or while you’re jogging!
2. Multi-tasking is like getting high
There’s an odd link to smoking marijuana and multi-tasking. According to research, smoking pot lowers your IQ by five points, but multi-tasking lowers it by ten (that’s 15 for men!). Juggling lots of tasks at once is a sure-fire way to harm your productivity. Project management expert Tony Wong suggests that you do things one at a time, break down tasks into manageable chunks, and cross them off on an old-fashioned To-Do list when they’re completed. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed by what needs to get done, and you’ll be able to stay more focused. You also won’t feel stoned.
3. Eliminate distractions
This is a no-brainer, but your brain gets a rush of dopamine each time you check your e-mail or log into Facebook. E-mail in particular is a massive anti-productivity mechanism (Entrepreneur.com). Time management guru Tim Ferriss recommends that you only check it at set times during the day. He goes so far as to suggest that you set up an auto-response, which goes something like, “I only check E-mail at 10:00, 13:00, and 16:00. If you need a quicker response, please call.” Smartphones are hugely problematic too, as they allow for round-the-clock access. If you’re not a doctor or the President, it’s highly unlikely that you need to be checking your mail at all hours. Put your phone on silent in a drawer, and focus on the task at hand.
Being productive doesn’t have to mean slaving away at your desk. It’s a combination of eliminating distractions, focusing on one thing at a time, and taking regular breaks so that your batteries can recharge. You don’t have to be constantly on the go, as working at a frenetic pace will only stress you out, and cause you to get less done. Productivity is achievable; you just have to simplify, breathe and get away from your desk.
This guest post was written by Ang Lloyd on behalf of Skilled Migrant Jobs. Ang is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Skilled Migrant Jobs is one of the niche jobs sites that allow Australian immigrants to quickly and easily find jobs.