40 Productivity Hacks to Make 2011 Your Best Year…Ever!

The following post is from Prerna of The Mom Writes:

be more productive
source: Jim Parker

What better way to start the New Year than by boosting productivity and getting more done right at the start?

Here are 40 of the best tips and ways to get more productive and be more peaceful while meeting goals, realizing resolutions and just getting things done on time. Click on each title for related resources to help you put the principle into practice!

1. List Your Goals

Writing down what you’re striving for and want to accomplish, either at work or at home, tends to make them more concrete. Spend some time to break down and list your goals along with the action steps that you’ll take to make them a reality.

2.  Do What You Enjoy

Engaging in activities that you’re passionate about, enjoy thoroughly or are revitalized by is a sure way of staying productive. If you stay positive and do what you enjoy often enough, you’ll have fun dealing with the tough stuff as well.

3. Do What’s Tough or Difficult

Dealing with the big rocks or challenges can seem overwhelming but once they’re out of the way, it does feel liberating and empowering. So, get down to it and get the tough stuff out of the way.

4. Do the Little Things

Sometimes, knocking the smaller items off will help you get motivated and move onto the bigger rocks. Tackle the dresser drawer first and then, you’ll be inspired to declutter the closet as well.

5. Focus, Focus, Focus

Paying attention to and spending time on tasks that have a great deal of importance or impact on your life is essential to being productive. Filling your life up with tasks with little or no significance is not only a time-waster but also an energy-sapper. So, sit down today and focus on goals that matter… that make a difference.

6. Batch Tasks Together

Closely related to focusing on a task is getting a bunch of similar tasks done at the same time. Instead, of spending small bits of time everyday doing the same things, just put them all together and get them done in one go.

7. Single-Task

I’ve been a multitasker all my life. It was only recently that I discovered how wonderful single-tasking can be. Focusing on doing one thing at a time can help you finish doing it quickly and easily.

8. Make Multitasking Work

While doing one thing at a time can be highly productive, there are many ways in which you can make multitasking work for you. For instance, planning out your lunch menu or returning a phone call or two while you wait for your coffee to brew.

9. Have a Morning Routine

Since I wake up really early, I find it useful to have a routine that gets me started. A morning routine, as simple as it may be, will help you create a structure to set your entire day in rhythm. A session of yoga, exercise or meditation, a shower and breakfast will help you get your body, mind and soul ready to face the day.

10. Have an Evening Routine

Getting the house in order or simply writing down your to-do list the night before can help you get a head start on the day. For me, my evening routine is a simple way to ensure that my morning routine is happy and peaceful.

11. Wake Up Early

Waking up early is a great way to be more productive. Your house is quiet, you have time to think, create, plan and do. Whether it is starting to exercise, write a book or just find more time yourself, you’ll find you’re able to do it easily when you wake up early.

12. Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping less, however,  will not make you productive. In fact, it may just make you crabby and exhausted. So, try to sneak in more sleep and you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more energetic.

13. Prioritize

Knowing your priorities will help you create a to-do list that is doable and focused on the important stuff. Spending a few minutes listing what’s urgent, important or both will create a clearer picture of what needs to be done and when to do it.

14. Visualize

Visualize and imagine reaching your goal, and you’ll find that it is easier to get there. Wanting to lose weight? Put up a picture of yourself at your ideal weight or of someone who is your ideal weight. You’ll find it easier to say “no” to an extra helping of dessert.

15. Manage Your Time

A key to being productive is time management. We only have so much time in the day, and how we use it is critical to how much we achieve. Using a few basic time management skills can help you do a lot more in a lot less time.

Wake Up
source: Sira Hanchana

16. Identify Time Wasters

We’re all guilty of frittering away time, and while it is all right every now and then, you need to know what your big time wasters are. Wasting time leaves you feeling exhausted and stressed rather than refreshed and relaxed. So,  identify what are your time wasters and then, cut them out.

17. Find More Time

Whether it is cutting out time wasters, using time management systems or tracking your time, there are several ways to find more time in the day. You’ll be surprised at how much time you free up when you stop checking your email ten times a day. Don’t ask me how I know!

18. Track Your Time

Knowing where your time goes will help you cut out the time wasters, track lost bits of time and, generally, increase productivity. Keep track of your time for a few days to identify patterns and become more aware of where your time really goes.

19. Manage Email and Other Time Suckers

You’d be surprised at how much time you probably waste checking your email every 15 minutes or blog-hopping when you should really be writing or working. Schedule emails and networking for two set periods in the day and refuse to get sucked into them anytime else.

20. Use Short Bursts of Time

Using empty bits of time is a great way to stay productive. You’ll be amazed at the amount of work that you can do in just 10 minutes or less. Waiting at the doctor’s? Catch up on reading or phone calls or make your to-do list.

21. Manage Time Online

Simplifying your time online is an easy and effective way to find more time. You’ll spend less time whiling away precious minutes and more time doing things that matter. Whether it is cutting back on the number of blogs you read or the times you update your Facebook status, managing your online time will help you do more in the offline world as well.

22. Find Your Most Productive Time. Then, Use It

I work best in the early morning hours. There’s something about the peace and quiet that motivates me to just focus and get things done. Are you a morning person? Or someone who works well late into the night? Identify your most productive time and then, use it to get the tough stuff done.

23. Brainstorm

Coming up with different ways to approach a problem or a task, thinking “out-of-the-box” and discussing strategies with others will help you brainstorm and  find ideas where none existed before.

24. Set Limits

While maximizing your productivity is a great thing, pushing it too far and filling your plate up with projects and activities isn’t too great an idea. Set reasonable, realistic limits on work or personal projects and you’ll be both productive and peaceful.

25. Say No

Saying “No” is an important part of managing your time and boosting your productivity. There is only one of you and there is only so much you can do in a day. Saying “No” will help you free up time for more important activities, tackle your top priorities and give you time for yourself. It may take some practice and getting used to but once you learn to turn down requests on your time, you’ll find it leaves you feeling happier and less pressured.

26. Say Yes

Find more time for yourself, do what you enjoy the most, spend time on your dreams and priorities. These are the things that you should be saying “yes” to. Saying “yes” should come easily when something will make a difference to the quality of your life, health and mental well-being.

27. Take a Break

Sometimes, you need to step back, take a breather and reassess your strategy in order to move forward. Taking a break does not mean giving up. It means you need to refresh and relax before you jump back in. A break can help improve your focus, keep you fresh and give you a new way of looking at your plans and goals.

28. Break Things Down

Breaking big-ticket goals into smaller bites will help to make achieving them easier. Manageable steps or goals are a great way to get more done in less time.

29. Stay Simple with Schedules

A schedule is an essential productivity tool and can help you maximize what you achieve in an hour or a day. A schedule lets you see what you need to get done, how much time do you have and basically, give some sort of structure to your day.

Manage Time
source: Irargerich

30. Stay Disciplined

Discipline is key to time management. So, if that means making a schedule everyday or tackling a certain chore, do it. Ignoring it will not make life easier. Discipline may seem boring but it can certainly help you do more with your time.

31. Manage Stress

Sometimes we get so caught up in doing things for others, that we forget all about our own selves. This leads to feeling overworked, tired and stressed. Manage stress by finding time for yourself, indulging in a hobby or simply relaxing. When your self is rested and stress-free, you’ll be able to work better and faster.

32. Declutter Your Workspace

A clean workspace is an excellent productivity tool. A desk free of everything else except your laptop and a notebook will help you think clearly, not be distracted and avoid getting overwhelmed by clutter and disarray. Spend a few minutes at the end of the day to clear up your desk so that you come to a clean and clutter-free working area every morning.

33. Declutter Your Mind

A regular decluttering of the mind or a brain dump is an easy way to stay productive and sane. A brain dump helps you clear your head, getting things down on paper or whiteboard and basically, makes it easier to focus and prioritize.

34. Declutter Your Life

We’re all guilty of piling on too much onto our plates every now and then. All it results in is us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed. Take some time now to remove the stuff that has been crowding your life without adding value to it. Decluttering your life of emotional, physical and mental clutter will help you achieve more in areas that do matter to you and your family.

35. Create a Productivity Wall or Board

A productivity wall or even a whiteboard with inspiring quotes and sayings or useful productivity tips (such as these!) is a great way to boost motivation and morale.  You can use your board to inspire, encourage and help you visualize your goals.

36. Motivate Yourself

Staying motivated is key to achieving success. However, even the most motivated soul goes through periods of feeling dejected, doubtful and disheartened. Knowing how to perk yourself up, regaining enthusiasm and jumping back in will ensure that you meet goals, stay productive and encouraged to move ahead.

37. Dump Procrastination

Putting things off for later doesn’t make them go away. All it does is increase your stress levels, make you miss deadlines and create a sense of panic. So, stop procrastinating and deal with things as soon as they come up. Tackle or trash, you have to take a call to stay productive and peaceful.

38. Practice Productive Procrastination

While putting things off for later is not a good idea, putting things off while you do other less important stuff isn’t such a bad idea. Productive procrastination consists of getting lower priority tasks done while you take a break from the more heavy-duty items. It’ll not only help you get things done but also prevent you from feeling exhausted and burnt out by the end of the day.

39. Use a Planner or Notebook

A  planner or a notebook is a simple yet practical productivity tool to help you note to-dos, record ideas, jot down reminders, make journal entries and basically keep you on track with your life. As with all productivity tools, choose a planner or notebook that works best with your needs and requirements.

40. Use a To-Do List That Works for You

You’re unique and so is your to-do list. Find a system that works best for you and your family and create your to-do list accordingly. Being reasonable, realistic and relaxed are the 3 R’s that I use when creating a simple yet productive to-do list.

So, what’s your best productivity tip? What helps you do more in less time?

Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in being postively productive, parenting with love and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her journey and experiences with productivity and parenting at The Mom Writes.
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