10 Tips to help you to be more productive
1. Build a framework
Start off by blocking hours for work, rest and play. Plan a typical week based on your commitments so that you get a balance of work, rest and play.
Why? Because you’ll become more productive.
2. The Habit Loop
When you have your structure mapped out, then you can start to build healthy habits into each and every day. Forming healthy habits helps you become more productive.
In his book The Power Of Habit, Charles Duhigg breaks a habit into a three-stage process. I like to refer to these as the three Rs:
• Reminder: Start with a reminder of the task you need to do; e.g. set a reminder in your calendar to work on a particular task at a certain time of day.
• Routine: Follow a routine to complete that task; e.g. make a checklist of the steps you need to complete your task so that you have a consistent approach
• Reward: Give yourself a reward; e.g. have a coffee or spend 5 minutes on social media – whatever floats your boat.
3. Work in your best time of day
If you want to be a productive freelancer, then you’ll have to find your best time for working. That’s the flexible thing about freelancing – you can choose your most productive hours. No more attending meetings or presenting lectures when you feel half asleep.
If you’re not sure when you function best, then monitor yourself for a week. Note down when you were feeling more energised, compared to when you were feeling more sluggish.
4. Focus on one thing – prioritise your tasks
When you start freelancing you soon realise that there is a heap of stuff to do. It’s not just a case of writing or designing or creating. Unfortunately, there’s admin, finances, and marketing to consider too.
• Don’t get overwhelmed.
• Don’t get bogged down with a long list of outstanding tasks.
• Don’t try multitasking.
Focus on one thing at a time. Look at all your tasks and ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I need to do right now?”
There will only be one thing that is the most important. So do that first. You’ll feel empowered when you’ve completed it.
Then, and only then, look at your list of tasks and pick the next most important thing.
5. Eliminate distractions
Once you’ve zoned in on your one thing, working at your best time of the day, then the last thing you need is a distraction.
• Putting a sign on your door, then do it.
• Switching off your phone, then do it.
• Closing email and social media, then do it.
6. Set time limits on your tasks
When you allocate a specific time to a specific task, then you’ll become more productive.
Rest, Here are three ways you can take a regular break:
- The Pomodoro Technique For each Pomodoro (interval), you work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break of 3-5 minutes. After four Pomodoros, you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. Whatever work and break interval you choose, make sure you do something different in your break
- The Rule of 52 and 17 A recent study showed that people were most productive when they took regular breaks. Although the numbers seem a little random, it turns out that working for 52 minutes, then taking a break for 17 minutes, before getting back to work, returned the best results.
- The Power Nap Scientists have proven that taking a 15-20 minute power nap can boost your energy levels. If you find yourself becoming sluggish and unable to think clearly then maybe a power nap will help you
7. Get your sleep
We’re all different. Some people need 8 hours sleep each night so that they can function properly throughout the next day. Others can manage on much less.
The key is to make sure your body has the right amount of sleep so you can maintain your energy and concentration levels throughout the day.
8. Maintain a healthy diet
Food plays an important part in maintaining your energy levels. If you eat too much food, then your body has to work harder to digest it, and as a consequence, your energy levels drop. And then you become less productive.
When you start to feel sluggish, it’s easy to think a quick fix of coffee and chocolate is the answer. But there are plenty of other foods which are proven to boost your energy levels (without expanding your waistline).
9. Drink plenty of water
Opinions vary on how much water we should drink each day to stay hydrated. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 litres, or half a gallon.
10- Exercise your body
In short, when we exercise, our brains produce chemicals that make us feel good. And when we feel good our energy levels rocket, which means we become more productive.
by Danny Donchev