How many times have you began the working day telling yourself that it’ll be a productive one, yet hit the last hour of work with aching shoulders, not knowing exactly how much you’ve accomplished and worse still, having a longer list of unfinished tasks lined up waiting for you to tick off? We’ve all been there.
One might say that the solution is simple – kick away the bad habit and be deliberate about how you manage your time. Then you’ll reply with: “that’s easier said than done”. True! So let me ask you a question, if you had to could choose between putting in more hours or working smart, which would you choose. I think the answer is quite obvious.
So how can we accomplish this? Follow our top 10 tips to fighting procrastination and be the star of productivity:
1. Create a system that works for you.
Over the years, you’ve probably figured out certain things that distract you and make you procrastinate. From checking emails regularly to watching cat videos on Facebook, these distractions push productivity right out the door. By creating a system, you will learn how to manage your distracting ways. Designate certain times that you will allow yourself to e.g. check your emails or take a break. You will learn how much is too much and be able to accomplish more important goals throughout the day.
2. Give up the illusion of Perfection
The idea of perfection has been ingrained in our system since a young age. It is human nature to strive for it. However, the harsh reality is that perfection is just an illusion and attempting to achieve it is wickedly unhealthy, creating feelings of failure and inadequacy. Ouch. This mindset affects the way we work and how much time and effort we put into each task. Without a doubt, it’s a given that producing quality work with each task we are given to our best ability is what we should do.
However, attempting to chase perfection will only waste more time. Complete the task, and move on to the next. If corrections need to be made, you can always come back to it and make adjustments later.
3. Set Self-Imposed Deadlines
With every working day, some tasks are of more importance as compared to others. These ‘others’ are often pushed aside and left without a deadline set. To counter this problem, set deadlines in Days. Studies have shown that setting deadlines in Days, instead of Weeks or Months, helps to subconsciously create a greater sense of urgency. The more time-pressing and closer the deadline, the more likely we are to complete it.
4. Follow the “2 Minute Rule”
This is my personal favourite tip. If you see a task that can be completed in less than 2 minutes (i.e. sending out an email, updating your task lists, etc), do it now. Completing the task immediately takes less time than doing it later in the day. Created by Entrepreneur Steve Olenski, the “two-minute rule” helps to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. This rule has shaped Olenski to becoming one of the most influential content strategists online.
5. Work in 90 minute intervals
Studies from Florida State University found that working in 90 minute intervals is more productive than any work being set longer than that. Our bodies Circadian rhythm is the reason for this. Our daily ultradian cycles involve alternating periods of high-frequency brain activity (about 90 to 120 minutes) followed by lower-frequency brain activity (about 20 minutes). So after 90 minutes of intense concentration, unplug or go for a toilet break before starting again.
CR: make a meme
6. Tackle your challenging tasks before lunch
Force yourself to tackle the most difficult tasks while your brain is still feeling fresh and awake. Schedule meetings and save more mundane tasks for after lunch. You’ll realize how much time you can save and how much you’ve accomplished if you do so.
CR: economic times
7. Quit multitasking
The number 1 distracting for new age workers in technology. Email, Whatsapp, Telegram, Faceboook notifications, the list goes on. We often psych ourselves into thinking that we have the capability to multitask and hence, complete work efficiently. I’m sorry to be the barrier of bad news but Psychologists have found that multitasking results in lost time and productivity. Kick this habit, turn off all notifications, and commit time to each individual tasks before moving on to the next.
8. Standing desks
Standing desks are all the rage. Any self-respecting startup that claims to hold employees’ well-being at the top of its priorities is hopping on this bandwagon. Large companies are also jumping in — including Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Studies show that standing leads to 10% more productivity. Furthermore, is also results in health benefits; several articles have exposed how sitting at our offices increases your chances of a heart attack by 54%. If standing helps to boost productivity and improves health, then why not!
If your office invests in standing desks, use it, now. For the majority of us who don’t have the luxury of that, you can simply create one using books you find lying around. I’m using some old Encyclopedias as we speak.
9. Listen to upbeat music
Generally, research has shown that people who listen to music tend to complete tasks quicker than those who didn’t. However, there are certain types of music that help boost productivity and some that worsen it. Largely, several studies have shown that popular music interferes with reading comprehension and information processing.
c. Epic music
d. Video Game music
e. Ambient sounds (give Coffitivity a try if you are in a quiet location)
are the top 5 genres that have been said to boost productivity.
10. Take regular breaks
This last and most crucial point is something that most people will be excited about. There is a science behind why taking breaks are important. As mentioned in tip #5, the human brain was just not built for the extended focus. Breaks help us to retain information and reevaluate our goals. A study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has shown that exercise helps to improve productivity. Build in set times during the week for a walk or going to the gym because getting the blood pumping is exactly what is needed to clear your head and get your focus back.
Follow these steps and you’ve got what it takes to be the superman of productivity.