Do you ever feel that you are working for such a long time but the work never gets completed? Or you wish you had 27 hours in a day just so you can breathe a bit more? If you are constantly looking to be more productive in life and getting things done you are in the right place.
And also I know that feeling and I use to run like a headless chicken trying get my things in order, until a year or two ago. But then I started doing a few small changes to my routines, and then some.
Okay, now I don’t want to be a brag but I have been posting consistently on my social media and blogs for a while, am I not? I am calling that a win!
How to be more productive in life
Here are few things that I have learnt during this journey and they have been working perfectly for me.
- Choose three most important things
- Do not evade deep work
- Create a vision and break it to action plans
- Reward progress, not just completion
- Better your systems and environment
- Habit stacking
- 2 Minute rule for beating procrastination
- Find yourself an accountability partner
Choose three most important things
You guys know that I love my lists and I probably cannot get through a day without a to do list or two. And yes, those lists usually have about 10-20 things to do each day. Quite out of control, to be honest.
But then I made a small change to my to do list and that has brought a great change.
I started adding three most important things that I had to do, each day.
Basically if I am done with those three things, I can slack a bit. Usually that means I can binge watch Netflix just after I tick them off and get to those other things on my to do list at my leisure.
Guess what, I usually want to finish those three important things as the first thing in the morning, CUZ NETFLIX AWAITS.
You can not evade deep work
Speaking of most important things, make sure you are doing something meaningful in terms of your goal each day. It is easy to do 10 little things every day and still not moved towards your goals. Trust me, been there, done that.
Instead schedule an hour each day to work on things that are hard and demand your full attention- be it writing or studying.
Cut out all distractions, keep your phones away and focus on the work in hand.
Create a vision and break it to action plans
We all have too many things going on in different part of our lives and we are all running towards a lot of things. Sounds overwhelming right? Maybe this is the right time to be strategic about your long term goals.
What are your projects for, say, the month? Be it decluttering your closet or churning out that 5000 word post, either way you need to be S.M.A.R.T about the goals AKA Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Time bound goals.
So break that post into smaller sections and set a deadline to get that written. Mark on your calendar how long it is going to take for you to declutter each shelf and ensure you get it done by then.
Reward progress, not just completion
Your task is taking too long to complete in a day? That is okay, just recognize the progress you made today, instead of waiting for the completion of entire task.
You wrote five pages of you twenty page essay? Wowza, you did a great job and treat yourself with a cup of coffee or a ten min walk. Acknowledging and rewarding the progress and just not completion can act as a huge motivation.
Better your systems and environment
If something keeps tripping you from achieving your goals, check your system rather than being hard on yourself.
Are you filling yourself with junk food while you binge watch? Keep unhealthy snacks out of your reach aka near your couch. Now you have to walk all the way to the kitchen to eat anything which will automatically reduce your consumption.
Too many snoozes? Keep your alarm away from the bed. Hate the huge pile of clothes on your chair? Change the place of the chair.
Ensure your system is not failing you, despite your good efforts.
Another cool method I found to get things done, even tasks that you are not fond of is habit stacking, otherwise called as creating a routine.
The idea is to put a bunch of activities one after the other in a sequence. This way you can “hide” a habit you need to do but you are not interested to between habits you like to do anyway.
For instance, I love my morning coffee and posting on my Instagram stories, but I procrastinate clearing up my coffee table until it becomes an eye sore.
So now, as soon as I fill my morning coffee cup, I clear my coffee table, which hardly takes 2-3 minutes. And then proceed to post on Instagram while I drink my coffee.
Pick coffee – clear table – post on Instagram- drink coffee. Habits stacked!
2 Minute rule for beating procrastination
As someone who is well versed in procrastination, here is a trick that has helped me time and again called the 2 minute rule.
While preparing the to do list, if you come across a task that takes less than 2 minutes, do not add it on your to do list, just do it right away.
Answer a mail in brief? Will it take less than 2 minute to send it? Do it now, don’t wait for later. At the least, your to do list will be under control, unlike mine.
Find yourself an accountability partner
When all else fails, do not hesitate to get a partner who will hold you accountable. That is right, tell someone what you will accomplish each day and then share what you have done.
I know it might sound weird at first but it is effective.
Charvi from Not Just Fiction and I do this quite regularly. We send each other our to do lists each morning and then assess our day before we go to sleep.
To be honest, just imagining how she might judge me if I don’t do at least half my to do list is what keeps me running most days. In her defense, she is the best and she never ever judges the weird things I put on my to do list.
These are some of the things that I learned out of experience and have made my life easier. If you feel them useful, I would appreciate if you could share the post on social media.
What are your tricks to be more productive in general and getting things done? Do you ever feel the slump and how do you get out of it? Let us talk