Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3 Easy Steps To Becoming More Productive

English: Product icon for MindView mind mappin...Image via WikipediaBy Susan Owen-Thursfield

Does procrastination constantly stop you from being productive? Do you sabotage your own efforts to get things done? Here are my three top tips to beat procrastination and improve your productivity.

Step 1. Categorize Your Tasks

The most important thing to do to increase your productivity is to write down all the things you have to do and categorize them according to urgency and importance. Urgent and important tasks are Category A. Category B tasks are important but not urgent; Category C tasks are urgent but not important ones, and Category D tasks are not urgent and not critical either.

Category A tasks must be high on your daily to do list, along with the most urgent of Category C tasks and most critical of Category B tasks. Organize your list by due date then by importance. The next step is to decide when you are going to work on each of these tasks.

Step 2. Work With - Not Against - Your Strengths And Limitations

Some people are more alert in the mornings and others work better in the evenings. If you can, schedule your most challenging and creative tasks for when you are feeling most alert (Category A and Category C tasks).

Leave the more routine and less mentally demanding tasks (Category D) for when you are not peak performing! This obviously will not work for everyone, depending on what you have to do, but if you are a night owl, or an early bird, try to schedule your working time accordingly.

Likewise, if you have a tendency to procrastinate and find it hard to settle to a task, admit it to yourself. Do not fritter time away pretending to work. Instead grab a timer, set it for 45 minutes and commit to doing the task in hand - and ONLY the task in hand - for the full 45 minutes.

Tell yourself that 45 minutes is not very long and promise to reward yourself with a trip to the coffee machine, 10 minutes surfing the web, a personal phone call or whatever when the time is up. Keep your breaks down to 10 minutes, then set the timer for 45 minutes again and continue with your task or move onto the next one as appropriate.

Step 3. Good Enough Is Good Enough

Perfectionism is a killer. It stops you getting anything finished because you could always do it even better, But the world is not perfect and nothing you do ever will be either, So aim for Good Enough. The 80:20 rules says that 80% of everything you do will produce only 20% of the results and the other 20% will yield a massive 80% of the results.

The trick is to identify the 20% of every task which will yield the 80% of results and FOCUS on those actions. Good enough is good enough. +Aim for 80%. Thinking about the 80:20 rule in everything you do will make sure you prioritize which tasks should be done first. This will speed up your decision making and make you even more productive and effective.

Put these tips into practise and you will reap the benefits of your efforts with better productivity!

For more practical tips on how to improve your life, click here to download your free ebook or check out my stress relief blog and leave a comment.

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