13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity

These 13 secrets will help you immediately increase your productivity so you can spend less time working while also getting more done.

1. Don’t let other people control your workday

Alex Mandossian gives some great tips in his "Time Management Action Secrets" interview.  He says, "Emails, phone calls, voicemail, postal mail – these are all interruptions you cannot control. You can’t control when someone else calls you or sends an email, but you can control your reaction to it. And if you let yourself be interrupted constantly, before you know it the day will be over and you’ll be left wondering why nothing got done.

What you need to do is set aside a specific time during the day where you will not allow any interruptions.

This means:
– no answering phone calls
– no checking emails (turn off the auto-check feature in your email client)
– no regular postal mail
– no talking to family or friends
– no checking voicemail
– no instant messenger
– no false “emergencies” – determine ahead of time what constitutes a real emergency and don’t let anything other than that disrupt you.

Decide on a specific interruption-free time that will be the same every day, and commit to it. Tell others about it, tell your friends, family members, co-workers that you cannot be bothered during this time. Commit to doing this every single day for 3 weeks so it becomes a natural habit. It will be difficult at first, but it will become easier after time.

2. Create a Better “To-Do” List

Write your to-do list at least the day before, never the day of. Write your list on a real physical pad of paper, don't use an electronic device.

At the end of the day if there is anything that hasn’t been finished, cross it off and rewrite it on the next day’s list.

Prioritizing your list:

Write both high priority and low priority tasks. No more than 4 items are allowed to be high priority. You must decide which 4 (or less) are the most important and have to be finished that day. Clearly mark which items are high priority and which are low priority.

3. Multi-Tasking Never Works

Multi-tasking doesn’t work. Most of your time is spent switching from one thing to another, and as a result your focus is all over the place. When trying to accomplish 10 things at the same time, nothing ends up being finished. Start one task and focus all of your attention and energy on completing that one thing before moving on to anything else.

4. Start Your Day Right

Never begin your workday with a non-productive task such as checking email. Wait until after you have finished at least 3 of the items on your list to check emails, read your favorite blogs, etc. Make a list of all your time wasting activities, as well as common distractions, and work on avoiding those completely until you have finished the tasks on your to do list.

5. Track your progress

As you complete the tasks on your to do list, cross them out with a bright red marker as a visual reminder that you are making progress and to give you a sense of accomplishment. This will put you on a positive note and help you to achieve even more.

6. Take scheduled breaks every hour

Work for 50 minutes without stopping and then take a 10 minute break to stretch, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom etc. Studies have shown an increase in productivity when a 10 minute break is taken every hour.

7. Give Yourself a Time Limit

Don’t confuse busyness with being productive. Doing “work-like” activities isn’t the same thing as accomplishing what you need to get done. To help avoid this, put pressure on yourself with a countdown timer. Set it for 50 minutes. When the timer goes off, write down what you have accomplished.

8. Learn How to Speed Read

9. Fun first?

Some say they prefer doing the activity they least want to do first thing in the morning because it makes them feel relieved knowing that it’s finished and the rest of their day will be spent on more enjoyable activities. Others say doing the most enjoyable tasks first helps them be more productive because it puts them in a better mood. Experiment with both and choose the one that gives you the best results.

10. Outsource as much as possible

If there are any activities that would be done better by someone else or would be more cost effective if done by someone else, then outsource them. Why waste 15 hours on a task when it is more cost effective to hire someone else to do it for you? Especially if that person can do it better than you can.

11. Improve your typing speed

12. Stop using your mouse for everything

Learn how to use keyboard shortcuts. Or, create your own with Hot Keys.

13. No telephone tag

Telephone tag wastes time. Tell people when to expect your call. When you call and leave a message for them, ask them to let you know the best time to reach them if they happen to get your answering machine.

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8 Responses to 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity
  1. 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity…

    Get more work done in less time – here are 13 ways to immediately increase your productivity….

  2. Don't give birth!
    I never realised that having a child would not be such a drain on the finances, but purely a drain on your time. I'm typing this at midnight, because that's the only sane time I get.
    She's dead cute though:)

  3. 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity…

    Get more work done in less time – here are 13 ways to immediately increase your productivity….

  4. The thing that really increased what I was doing, was logging everything that I did in a day. I did this for a week and the things that I was wasting time on, were very evident.

  5. […] Emails, phone calls, voicemail, postal mail – these are all interruptions you cannot control". 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity… […]

  6. Great article! You highlight just about every non productive thing that I do. I really must take this advice and see how things change.

  7. […] presents 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity posted at Nitro Marketing […]

  8. […] 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity […]

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