How to Be Productive Rather Than Just Busy

How to Be Productive Rather Than Just Busy image 5025050099 824533c8d5How to Be Productive Rather Than Just Busy

One of the great challenges of our age,

in which the tools of our productivity are also

the tools of our leisure,

is to figure out how to make more useful

those moments of procrastination

when we’re idling in front of our

computer screens.

Joshua Foer

Have you ever planned to have a tremendously productive day, but when the day was coming to an end you found that your to-do list looked no different than when you first got started? Don’t beat yourself up too badly. This doesn’t mean that you are being lazy or incompetent. But what it does mean is that you may want to alter your approach to productivity. Being productive is an important part of running a good business and home. By simply keeping a few tips in the front of your mind, you can watch your productivity soar!

1. Get yourself organized

One of the ways that people lose productivity is through a cluttered and disorganized workspace. If you have to hunt for your tools or paperwork whenever you are ready to begin a task, then you are not going to get things done as fast as you would have liked. Take some time to organize your workspace and your storage spaces. You will find that a lot less of your time will be spent having to hunt for things, the potential for distractions will decrease, and the more productive you will find yourself becoming.

Do whatever works. Clean out your basement, or get those storage boxes out of the corner of your office space. Toss or donate the things that you don’t really need and find an organized place for everything that is to remain. My oldest brother always used to say, “Everything has a place.” As a child, it drove me nuts, but he was right that this was a main key to getting and keeping myself and my thoughts on track.

2. Ferret out the time wasters

Sorry to be the one to have to tell you, but some of your regular habits and activities are actually time wasters. For instance, do you ever find yourself saying that you are just going to play one more game of Solitaire or Plants vs. Zombies, or catch just one more song on the radio, or just watch this one special rerun of Seinfeld? While doing these things isn’t always bad, it can become problematic if you allow yourself to be constantly distracted. Make a list and identify each of your time waster.

If you begin to notice that one game of Solitaire easily turns into three or four, uninstall the game from your computer for a while. You will be surprised by how much time you will magically gain.

Limit your time on your phone and set a defined time limit to run your errands so that you can focus on getting things done.

3. Watch your deadlines

You may get your projects done on time, but if you are also always cutting it close, stressing yourself out and losing sleep over your deadlines, you need to look at how you are using your time.

If you have a deadline, clearly mark the deadline on your calendar or in your smart-phone and do your level best to beat it by at least a week. Taking care of things long before they are due will free up a lot more of your time than you think, and it will prevent rushing about like a crazy person at the very end.

Give yourself and your family deadlines for household projects. Make a list or mark your family calendar with the larger projects, like cleaning the garage or getting new mulch for the landscaping.

4. Break more often

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but taking more breaks can actually make you more productive. It is all about maximizing the use of your time. Besides, if you’re not really getting things done anyway, taking a break may help you refresh your mind.

If you have been staring at the computer screen for twenty minutes without getting any real work done, then it is time to get up, walk around or get a drink of water. These kinds of mini-breaks can make a huge difference when you are looking to be more productive.

Housework can be dull and boring, no, I take that back, it is dull and boring… so instead of trying to tackle every single household project in one day, split up the work and get your family involved.

Learning to increase your productivity can lead you to getting a lot of good work done.

What do you do to boost your productivity?

Photo Credit: Robert Mehlan via Compfight cc

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