This is a short and sweet post on principles for improving productivity.
I am writing this post at a time when I have removed all distraction and minimised all other tasks that take time out of my day - travel time, cooking, life admin etc. My calendar is clear. So I have no excuse for not being highly productive. This has been a good opportunity to assess how productive I really am, and how I can improve. Hence, the productivity principles.
Guiding principles for becoming more productive:
- Remove distractions. Unnecessary meetings, people, notifications, work and projects that are not a priority. Keep your calendar as clear as possible.
- Have a plan. Even if the plan doesn't work out, the process that you go through to set a plan is valuable. When planning, prioritize getting just a few tasks done a day, and set deadlines. This will force you to make decisions up front about what's most important, and how much time you can afford to spend on the task.
- Take responsibility for getting the tasks you've set finished. This is of utmost importance, as it will help you to take yourself and your intentions more seriously.
- Only start a new task once you've finished the tasks you prioritised. This requires discipline.
- Celebrate when you have completed the task you prioritised. Let yourself feel satisfied and happy for your achievement before you move onto the next thing. You can even reward yourself with a break or something that's enjoyable. This will help you to train your brain for completing tasks. It sounds primitive, but you do still have a monkey brain underneath your more complex brain functions.
- Set yourself up in an environment that's good for your productivity. Invest in equipment to help with your productivity if you need to, for example, a monitor, noise cancelling headphones, a good desk and chair. The amount you can get done in a day has a significant impact on your long term success, so it's worth investing in.
- Give your body what it needs to be as productive as possible. Sleep well, eat well, exercise, drink lots of water, have a routine, breaks when needed and downtime.
- Be around other productive people. People who can intensely focus and knock off high value add tasks within a day. I find software developers tend to be these types of people. Spend time with them and their productivity abilities will rub off.
These are the principles I have set for myself and will keep working on. Take some of these on board and develop your own, based on what you learn about your own productivity.
If you have some good ones to share, we'd love to know about them.