8 tips to be more productive

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Recently, I wrote a review of the book “Originals’ by Adam Grant. He writes that Originals are great procrastinators . Examples are Leonardo da Vinci and Martin Luther King Jr.

One advantage of procrastination, Grant says, is that you can find a new angle or a new idea to complete your task.

But at one point you can’t nor will you be able to postpone your task anymore. What do you do to get your task done and to become more productive?

Here are 8 tips:

Clean your desk

A clean desk helps you to focus. A lot of mess will distract you and will not help you to get to work.

Make a list of what to do (& stick to the list)

I love making to-do lists and rarely completed all of the roughly 20+ tasks. Nowadays, I limit my list to 9 items a day. The number one item should be the toughest cookie. The Success Expert Brian Tracy calls this the frog and he urges you to start to eat that frog first thing. Then list 3 other important tasks and end with 5 minor tasks. These last can include administrative tasks. With every task you’ve completed, cross it off the list. This will motivate you to continue as it feels good to have a task completed. When tasks are too big: make smaller ones.

Create a backup task list

It can happen that internet is down, you’ve forgotten your phone or that the person you were supposed to meet didn’t show up for a meeting. To use your time well and productive anyway, start with a task on this backup task list. These can be tasks you wanted to start on long term or tasks which are nice to complete but which do not have a priority.

Go “cold turkey”

Make sure that there are no distractions from internet or cell phones. Switch it off. This is a hard one for some of us but if I am sure you can be without email, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or Skype for say, 20 minutes. Set a timer to stay focused during that time. My experience is that I enjoy being focused and that I continue to work longer. By far, this tip helps me to finish a task and to be more be productive. For those of you have a hard time switching off the internet because of the withdrawal effects: there’s software to help you.

Manage expectations

Some of you work from home and have children to take care of. Make sure you manage expectations with them. Tell them that you have to work for 20 minutes and can’t be disturbed. Make a stop sign so they know you can’t be disturbed. Of course, tell them that they can disturb you when somebody is injured.

Others work in the office with a lot of other people. They can disturb and distract you as well. By wearing headphones, you will let them know that you don’t want to be disturbed and it will avoid you to be distracted what others say around you. Do let them know that they can disturb you in case of an emergency. Listen to calm, classical music. Spotify  has many channels to help you focus.

Give yourself a treat when done

Visualize yourself enjoying your treat when the task is completed. This can be a good cup of coffee, some fruits, browsing your favorite websites or a cookie.

Ask for help

I tend to do a lot of tasks by myself. Why should you not ask for help? It can be as small as putting stickers on envelopes but you can also ask someone to brainstorm on a certain idea or project with you. You’ll be amazed how many people are willing to help you. But it should not be the a reason to postpone it again or asking something unreasonable from someone (calling the night before and telling that you’ll need it by next morning).

Just start!

Take a deep breath, have a glass of water (& nothing else!) on your desk and start doing whatever needs to be done that day. As soon as you start the momentum, you will enter in a flow which enables you to complete your task.

How do you get your task done and what are your tips to be more productive? Let me know in the comment box below. I look forward to read from you!

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13 May 2016 09:42

Hello Freek,

What a wonderful, useful list to follow! Thank you for sharing, have a nice weekend and a good training!