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Everyone wants to be more productive; get more of "the right" things done and make the best use of their time. Sadly most just talk about it and do nothing to adopt the right habits to make increased personal productivity a reality. Some work harder and faster using their same ineffective habits thinking that speed and misguided "extra" effort will do the trick. It doesn't and they continue to get in their own way and block their own growth and progress.
Here are 10 simple yet practical ways to boost your productivity:
1. Plan your day. Set aside 10 to 15 planning minutes at the start of each day or at the end of your day to create your plan for your upcoming activities. In this way, you will know what your important tasks are before you start the day.
2. Use it or lose it. Be selective with your time. Look at what you do each day and determine what could be dumped, done at a different time, or delegated.
3. Know your priorities. Write down what's important and the order in which things should be done - you know their priority. Keep in mind my "Rule of 3" - work on the top 3 tasks first.
4. Don't delay. The first step is always the most important, so get started! Don't wait or put it off until "the time is perfect". Fear and doubt must be replaced with action as soon as possible.
5. Say no and mean it. Learn to say no to activities that "look" important but really are just distractions or "shiny objects". Work hard to avoid going from "fire to fire": those activities that you think are important, but just waste time and leave you with nothing to show for your effort.
6. Small steps are the best steps. Don't let the size or complexity of a project overwhelm you. Break it into smaller, more manageable steps. Work in intervals of 3 to 5 steps at a time. Just be consistent and focused in your activity and efforts.
7. You Decide. Non-critical "stuff" does need to be done eventually - so set aside specific times to handle it on your terms, not "squeezed' in between other activities. You would be amazed at what you can get done in 30 minutes when you actually schedule it!
8. Make technology work for you. Set aside specific times in the morning and the afternoon to check voice mail and email. Again, don't become a slave to the tools - use the tools as intended.
9. Change the scenery. You would be amazed what happens when you change your surroundings. When you find yourself getting close to "empty", take a break. Go somewhere different - a place you enjoy. 10 or 15 minutes by yourself will quickly "reset" your brain. Your energy will return and your productivity will increase.
10. End of day review. Review your day to see what you accomplished and what you could have done differently. With that knowledge, plan your tomorrow. Make this the last thing you do each day before you leave your place of work. Believe it or not, you will come home in a better mood and enjoy the people and things that are really important.