Feb 9 / Andrew Stead

5 Ways to Increase Your Productivity by Working Less

We’ve all dreamed of working only the 9-5 and having the time to put our feet up, yet still getting everything we need to get done done, right?
Forget long days and even nights at the office, catching up on some paperwork that never seems to slow. Nowadays we really can work less and produce more and here’s a few tips how!

1. SMART Goals
If you want to save time and sweat in front of the computer you need to be both ruthless and smart. So start by using SMART goals!
Goal setting has beneficial effects on productivity (Pritchard et al., 1988), and many other aspects of life I’ve shared before CLICK HERE  But can goals become smart? Absolutely yes!

– Specific - The goal must be limited to a specific and limited area of improvement.
– Measurable - The progress has to be countable.
– Achievable - We must be able to reach the goal.
– Realistic - The goal needs to be likely to happen and appropriate.
– Time-sensitive - There must be a time limit.

I use SMART goals because I’m with the science - establishing them has been proven to dramatically increase productivity (Supekar et al., 2019).

2. Monotasking
Stanford University has been quite clear: multitasking is an obsolete concept and absolutely overrated (Nass et al., 2009). We have the perception of getting a lot of things done, but in reality we get a lot of things just started.
The answer is Monotasking. Try to stick to one task at the time by following these simple steps!

1. List your priorities for the day
2. Allocate a specific time in your diary for each task
3. Avoid all distractions: turn off notifications in your phone, don’t check your emails, avoid social media
4. Work in intervals and take breaks
5. Use energising music and stay focused

3. Prioritise
It’s unrealistic you’ll get done everything in one day: so learning how to prioritise your tasks for the day and the month, will transform your working life and performance. Once you have the list of your daily tasks, rank them with a progressive number and reorder the list from the most to the less urgent.
Stick to the priority order, your productivity will benefit from it (Tangen, 2005).
And if you want to be extra efficient, use the Eisenhower Matrix: classify your tasks according to 2 criteria, Urgent & Important. Then prioritise them in this order: 

1. Urgent and Important: as soon as possible
2. Important, but not urgent: schedule when you’ll do these
3. Urgent, but not important: delegate
4. Neither urgent nor important: drop these as soon as possible 
The method seems elaborate, but it’s simple and very clever! And if it worked for President Eisenhower, “General Ike”, even during his presidential days, I’m sure it’ll work for you too!

4. The Two-Minute Rule
Entrepreneur Steve Olenski came up with another simple but effective technique to avoid procrastination and make the most of small chunks of time in the office. If you come across something that can be done in 2 minutes, do it immediately.
Taking note of the task to be completed, remembering and going back to it, would actually take more time… So just do it!

5. Declutter
Let’s be honest: how much time have you spent looking for something, just because it was buried under piles and piles of useless things?
Making space and order in your desk, desktop and life is necessary for being organised!
According to science, decluttering will make you less stressed, more productive and change your life forever! (Edwards, 2018). 
Follow my suggestions and use the time you saved enjoying your favourite activity: read a book, bake a cake, or go for a run!
Have a productive day,

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