8 Ways to Boost Productivity & Reach Your Goals Sooner
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
We all have goals. We all have ambitions. We all have things that we’d like to have to happen in our lives. The good news is that those goals, ambitions and positive occurrences are possible. All we have to do to achieve them is to start doing the work that needs to be done to make them real.
You might have heard the phrase “carpe diem”. That’s Latin for “seize the day”. If you want to move your life in a different and positive direction, then make carpe diem your motto. You need to begin to seize your day and be productive so you can have the future that you want to live in.
The leadership guru John Maxwell once said that “You’ll never change your life until you change something that you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” This article is all about helping you to establish “power habits” in your daily routine. It will allow you to crank your productivity up to eleven. Adapting some of these habits on your schedule will improve your productivity. With this, you’ll begin to reach your goals sooner than you ever thought possible.
1. Rise and Shine
When you get up earlier than normal two things happen. First, you have more time to get things done. Productivity is all about accomplishing tasks. Starting early will mean that you’re going to start and complete projects faster.
Second, let’s talk about energy. You might already be a morning person. In which case, you already know what I’m talking about. But if you’re not naturally a morning person, it may be time to think about becoming one. Studies have shown that the most productive hours of the day occur before noon. It all has to do with natural body rhythms and cycles. So, when you get up earlier you not only have more time to get stuff done, you also have more energy. It’s a productivity win/win.
2. Be Punctual
Ok, you should have a schedule of what you want to do on any given day. (If you don’t, then start using one.) To make it as effective as possible, you need to be at the moment. Take phone calls and generally do things on time, as you scheduled them. When you’re not on time, you begin to fall behind on your schedule. That means that you have to start rushing to catch up, and it usually means that you aren’t doing your best work. Make an effort to be punctual. Get to appointments, meetings and phone calls on time. The more punctual you are, the more you’ll get done.
3. Sleep and Move
Besides food and water, your body only has two other absolute needs – sleep and exercise. When you don’t get enough rest, you don’t have enough mental energy for you to be productive. It’s the same when you’re taking less amount of time to exercise. Make sure that you put enough time for adequate amounts of both sleep and exercise. If you do, you’ll find that you have more energy and more energy equals greater productivity.
4. Developing Keystone Habits
All positive behavior is nothing more than habit. When you perform a positive action over and over it becomes habitual. You continue to take positive action without even thinking about it. Also, one positive habit will lead to other positive behaviors. That’s why developing keystone habits is so important to increased productivity.
Keystone habits are simple acts that you perform throughout your day. Just like making your bed, you establish a tone of positive productivity that will stay with you all the time. This effect can improve one keystone habit on top of another. By making your bed daily, you also make it a habit to do other tasks in the morning. Like, rinse and stack your breakfast dishes in the sink or put them in the dishwasher. The point is that when you always do what needs to be done, you develop a habit of treating everything that you do in a similar way. The end result is that your productivity soars.
5. Have a Plan
One of the major drains on productivity is not knowing where to direct your attention. Let’s face it, each day we’re faced with information overload. We get phone calls, emails, text messages and more. We use apps that are supposedly designed to make our lives easier. However, it now starts to compete for our attention. Thus, we tend to spend our time in dealing with situations that do not promote our goals and best interests.
One of the best ways to combat this problem is with a daily plan. When it comes to any task, ask yourself “What is this?”, “Why am I doing it” and “What do I want to get out of it?” Posing these questions to yourself before doing anything will allow you to focus on essential things. You can also eliminate non-productive activities. Again, productivity leads to great end results.
6. Make Room for Down Time
We have a tendency to want to remain plugged in and on top of all communications because we can. But to do so is a major mistake. One of the key ways to remain productive is to know when to take it easy and not be productive at all.
Think of your productivity as well. You lower down a bucket and pull up a drink of cold, clear water. But, if you lower down that bucket too many times in a row, you’re bound to come up empty because you’ve drained all the water.
You need to give yourself enough time to recharge and rejuvenate. You can’t be productive when your batteries are drained and you have nothing left to give. Remember to walk away from all your tasks on a regular basis. This means no checking your phone for messages, no answering emails, and no quick phone calls. Your time away is sacred. It is the key to being effective at what you do. Treat it as such.
7. Eliminate Distractions
To be productive, you have to stay focused on the task at hand. However in today’s modern world, maintaining focus is a difficult thing to do. On average, we can only put our concentration on a given task for three to five minutes. After that, we’re going to be distracted by social media, emails or other things that interfere with concentration. Obviously, you’re not going to finish your tasks when you can only focus on 3-5 minute intervals.
The secret to keeping focused on what you’re doing is by removing the sources of those distractions. Add some time to unplug with social media. You can try apps that will completely block your access to certain sites for a specific period. The less distracted you are, the more you can maintain your focus and the more productive you become.
8. Get Your Workspace Inviting
Each of us spends a great deal of time in the space where we work. It might be your office in a high ceiling room or your physical office at a remote location. No matter where your “office” is located, it needs to be inviting, comfortable and welcoming. It has to reflect your personality and style.
There’s no reason for your workspace to be spartan, cold or off-putting. You are not an anchorite and your office is not your cell. You’re not chained to your desk. Work should be rewarding, not a punishment and your office should reflect that fact.
Make sure that the furnishings are comfortable. A desk may be a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. The same thing goes for a chair. Use a chair that makes you feel glad you sat down in it. Lighting, art, music, and color all have an appropriate place in your office. Imagine how your level of productivity will skyrocket when you enjoy being in your workspace.
What Is a SMART Behavior-Based Goal?
When you’re discussing goal setting, SMART has nothing to do with your intelligence. (But it is smart to use this technique!).
SMART is an acronym that represents the five necessary facets of setting goals. Each letter stands for a different area of the goal. If you create a smart goal, your goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Timely. Using SMART goals can set you up for success in your goal setting.
So let’s get into what SMART means!
S – Specific
S – Stands for specific, which means that your goal needs to be precise. Identify what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and how you will get it is very important. If you can’t provide a detailed description of the goal, it will be hard to meet it. Take the time to do this part right.
For instance, “I will turn off my phone notifications while working on this project”. You set yourself to become free from the distractions to keep you focused on your daily projects.
M – Measurable
M – Stands for measurable, which means that you should be able to use this to measure success. To be effective, the road towards achieving a goal must be able to be measured.
The above example indicates how much more of the project you can do by turning off all phone notifications.
A – Attainable
A – Stands for attainable, i.e. not so overwhelming that you start out feeling as if you can’t do it. That defeats the entire purpose of the exercise. Start off with smaller goals that you know you can achieve, such as positively changing one single habit. Then focus on doing that consistently before attempting to change other habits. Goals should also be achievable or you will only get frustrated. Build on these small successes and before you know it, you’ll be achieving your big goals, as well!
R – Realistic
R – This can stand for realistic. Realistic goals can mean that you’re setting up success right from the beginning. It should be according to your personality and lifestyle. Changing your behavior to achieve a goal will never work if you don’t know yourself realistically. Know who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’re willing to do. If you want your goal to succeed, it should be something that is realistic or you will fail. It should also be relevant to your life’s vision and match with your values. Start with easy behavior changes and fit according to your values. Once you’ve mastered those, you can ramp up on changing behaviors that might be more challenging for you.
T – Time-based
T – Stands for Time-based or time limit. Putting a deadline on achieving a specific goal can often spur more action toward that goal. If you don’t set a time limit and you can’t track what is happening, your goal will be hard to achieve. But there’s a fine line between too little and too much time. Changing behavior patterns often takes time, so make sure that you’ve accounted for this.
SMART goals can help you with setting behavior-based goals. You can follow it through and know when and how you can meet them. Doing that will result in the unexpected progress in obtaining your goals.