8 Simple Rules To Boost Productivity

We all are allocated 24 hours, i.e. 86400 seconds every day. How you choose to spend this time defines how happy, empowered, and productive you feel. So lets look at some simple ground rules, which you can incorporate in your daily life to maximize productivity and out perform yourself.

  1. Prioritize 3 important tasks the night before – Being productive is not about doing more; it’s about getting results, which matter. Unless we prioritize, everything looks urgent and important. Defining three most important tasks the night before helps you to sift through the clutter and focus on what’s really important. Start your day with your priority tasks. Finish one completely before starting the other. Their successful completion will infuse you with a burst of energy for a great day ahead. 
  1. Start small, end big – Big objectives or goals seem insurmountable and often overwhelm you to the point of inactivity. So break down each goal into a series of small well-defined executable tasks and then immediately start with one. Once you start the task, the ensuing actions will activate insights and further simplify the way ahead. Suddenly the big looming project will not look so frightening any more. 
  1. Follow the Pareto 80/20 rule – Do less to achieve more. Spend an hour every week to do an 80/20 analysis of all your tasks & customers. Identify the 20% who yield 80% of your results/business. Schedule the rest to the bottom of your priority list. Learn to maximize your high result areas instead of wearing yourself thin over an expansive but unproductive list of people and activities. 
  1. Stick to a routine – Our creative energy is infinite, but unless harnessed, it seems purposeless. The most effective people are well aware of their most productive work areas and peak times and create a routine around it to get their best outcomes. Simultaneously they slot similar tasks or low attention tasks like phone calls or emails or utility tasks into a single chunk to complete them in a single session. For example, Steve Jobs liked to spend his mornings in face-to-face meetings with his product and management teams and his afternoons in the design lab. 
  1. Discipline your Internet habits – Besides being a great source of learning, the Internet can also be a huge source of distraction. Hence incorporate some simple intelligent Internet usage habits in your daily routine. For example, don’t check your email first thing in the morning, as it distracts your mind and draws your energy away from your important tasks. Make use of the horde of Internet tools like StayFocusd, Evernote etc to make conscious use of information and keep track of how much time you are spending on various sites. Also block all audio and visual notifications to avoid affecting your concentration during your peak times. 
  1. Plan every meeting with a clear objective and end time – As a ground rule, before scheduling any meeting, consider if an email, a phone call, or some other form of communication will work in its place. If not, then define the desired objective, the role of each participant and the end time, before the meeting to maximize effectiveness. Do not allow people to ramble on without a clear goal. And leave the meeting at its allotted end time regardless of whether they are finished. 
  1. Defend your personal time, ruthlessly – A successful life is a healthy balance of both personal and work experiences. So plan and defend your personal time ruthlessly, against all distractions. Ensure you pack your workday within 7-8 hours daily to maximize your output per hour. The more porous your boundaries between work and personal time, the more ineffective and scattered your day will be. For example make it a rule to leave on time every day and never leave things for the weekend. Setting boundaries forces you to address the important. 
  1. Practice the “Hour of Power”— Every day, practice 20 minutes of visualization and meditation, 20 minutes of exercise, and 20 minutes of reading inspirational or informational books. This single hour at the start of every day will act like the shot of adrenaline to energize your mind body and spirit for the rest of the day.

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