We all know that one person who just seems to get stuff done. Whether it’s a school project, a work related task, or even personal chores, that person seems to have it all covered. He/she gets stuff done more quickly and efficiently than anyone you know, giving a great kick to procrastination, and ending up having more free time than any of us. Ever wonder how they do it? Well, some people are just built like that, but most of them work on themselves to achieve that level of focus and productivity.
The good news is, that it’s possible for us to achieve that level of productivity as well. We only need to realize what we’re doing wrong, and how to actually procrastinate less. Following are some of the tips that have worked for me and helped me stay on the track. All we need is to be ready to follow these tips, and the fact that you’re here reading this, means that you’ve taken that first step and are ready to conquer!
Note: I have split this post into two because it was getting too long. Part 1 deals with all the task related tips, and part 2 consists of tips that are more of changes that you can make to your routine to feel more productive! Stay tuned.
Make a To-Do List
This has been my no.1 tip for as long as I can remember. If you want to be productive, you need to break down your big tasks into smaller ones and spread them out through the week. So for example, if your big task is to develop a habit (like reading), you need to add small little tasks every day till it comes naturally. So for the first day, you can read one paragraph; then for the next three days, read one page each; for the next week, add two pages per day, and so on.
Another tip for having an effective to-do list (and not just a clutter of tasks) is to keep it organized. My to-do list forms itself everyday as I’ve kept a few tasks on daily repeat, some on weekly repeat, and some are monthly reminders. Other tasks, I schedule as I go, and never have to worry about forgetting to do something, because it is all there in my list. I keep folders of different tasks to see clearly what needs to be prioritized. Some of my folders include, Habit Tracker, Business Reminders, Household chores, Makeup Appointments, Religious tasks (like recite Quran), and so on. It really helps me understand what my day consists of, and keeps my mind clutter free.
The Three Tasks Trick
I get it. It’s not too easy to keep checking your list for the tasks that need to be done. Some people are set on their habits and don’t need a reminder. However, procrastinating when huge tasks lie ahead is one of the bigger problems people face. If this is the case, then this tip is for you. Make a small list of three tasks that you need to get done through out the day. These tasks can be absolutely anything. As a blogger, my three tasks include, do product photography, write blog post, publish the blog post. Or it can be, clean the fridge, declutter the closet and clean the floors. Or it can mix and match, like, do the laundry, write a blog post, and complete an assignment. Three tasks a day make it much easier to get stuff done.
The One Hour Rule
Our minds can lose focus and interest very soon, especially if what we’re doing is not that interesting. So, one tip to overcome that boredom or to prevent ourselves from losing interest and focus, is that we can implement the one hour rule. It’s simple (and fun). When you know that you absolutely need to get something done, but don’t want to, break it down. Give yourself one hour time to get as much of it done as you can, once that hour is over, take a fifteen minute break. You can read a book, watch TV, workout, check social media; basically, anything you want. Once that break is over, take another hour to continue your work. Keep doing this till you’ve accomplished the goal for that day.
This trick is especially effective for studying. Continuing to study for longer periods of time without any breaks can bore you, and as a result, not much benefit is achieved out of the long continuous hours put in.
The number 1 tip to make The One Hour Rule work is to keep your phone on airplane mode during the work hour. Without this, it might be useless because the notifications can be the death of focus. Which brings me to my next tip.
Turn Off Notifications
Turning off my notifications from all the social media platforms (except Whatsapp) has been the best decision of my life when it comes to being more productive. You don’t have to check Instagram every time someone leaves a new comment, and you don’t have to check Facebook every time someone sends you a friend request, because consequently, it is only gonna suck you in, and before you know it, you’ve spent hours aimlessly scrolling through different social media platforms.
Instead, get your work done, one by one, and by the end of it (or between each task), hop on to social media (and set the timer, so you don’t get sucked in) and just have fun. Scroll through your favorite memes, talk to friends, do as you wish, but everything in it’s own time.
While it is one of my favorite things to do, I would advise against multi-tasking, and here’s why. From the outside, it might seem that multi-tasking is one of the easier things to do (and more productive) as you can get more things done. However, multi-tasking only reduces the quality of your task and focus. You’re more distracted and gaining focus back and forth on each tasks can be more time consuming. Instead, just get the job done, and on to another one. Focusing on one thing at one time can be more effective, productive, and will increase the quality of whatever you’re getting done. And to be honest, it will be more fulfilling.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Sometimes, when we’re hell bent on getting stuff done and being productive, we forget one very important thing; it’s all about us. We’re being productive for us, we’re getting stuff done for us, so being too hard on ourselves is only going to reduce our interest in being productive and bring down our efficiency.
What does being hard on yourselves mean? It means, to focus more on the tasks in front of you and getting successful that you work overtime and stop caring for yourself. Self-love should be your number one priority, and it doesn’t take a lot of time either. You can give only half an hour each day to yourself, and it will still make a huge difference to your physical and mental health. Consequently, this will lead to getting more done while actually being positive and happy about it, and looking forward to the next day instead of dreading it.
And that is it for part 1! I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Stay tuned for part 2 of How to Be More Productive. I will add the link here once it’s published, which will probably be next week, Saturday. So, turn your notifications on, and let’s be productive together!
Till next time,