Everyone wants to get more stuff done, faster and without compromises. To amp your productivity, consider the best feedback we’ve gathered from the most successful people. The key here is that it is doable and within your control!
Prepare for tomorrow before it starts.
Productive people get ready for the next day before they mentally leave the office. Spend a few minutes to think ahead to your most important priorities that will ensure a productive tomorrow. Finish the day by writing down the top three goals or projects you need to start. Knowing what you need to get done the next day sets you up for proactivity rather than reactivity.
Take a power nap.
When you’ve lost focus and your productivity mojo is in a slump, your creativity and alertness aren’t as sharp. To get back to that state of flow, a 10 to 15 minute power nap will help you become much clearer and more focused. A longer nap may be required but remember that time goes on with or without you. Be realistic and keep your nap length in check; you know yourself best.
Be ok with saying no.
Learning to say “no” allows us to minimize our obligations and attain greater focus. Those with difficulty in saying no are more likely to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. The late Steve Jobs was a big proponent of this strategy. Jobs once dropped this timeless piece of wisdom about what true focus entails:
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done.
Work in 90-minute sprints.
One productivity mistake so many of us make is working for hours at a time, neglecting the breaks we actually need to be more consistently productive. According to Harvard Business Review, the secret to productivity is to work the way track and field sprinters train: focus single-mindedly on your most challenging and important task for 90 minutes at a time, then give your brain a rest and let it recharge. You’ll work faster and stronger when you get back to your desk.
Cut down on meetings.
Take a look at every meeting you have planned for the week. Could some of them be dealt with by email? Or a walk-and-talk? Take the advice of Elon Musk, who strongly values the power of prioritizing: “Get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter,” Musk suggested in an email he sent to all Tesla employees.
Harvard Business School survey says two-thirds of business managers think meetings stand in the way of them completing their work. One solution is to hold a “meetings purge” twice a year. Cancel all regular meetings and only reinstall them as necessary. You may find it is possible, in the time that has passed, to combine or completely eliminate certain meeting functions.