Your productivity is one of the factors that determines how much you accomplish in your lifetime. The most productive people are the ones who get the celebrity status, the full-time income, and exert the most influence on our culture. The most successful people throughout history have shown the ability to be productive, and many of these people have shown a desire to be more productive than they already were. Productivity is a core element of success, and these 12 tips will help you increase your productivity so that core element of success can be strengthened in your own life.
#1: Wake Up Earlier
We are at our peak level of productivity in the morning because we have more willpower in the morning than any other time of the day. In addition, if you get a good amount of sleep (7.5 hours), you will feel refreshed. It is important to work while you feel refreshed instead of starting your work a few minute before you take a nap. When you work, you must be wide awake. If you are feeling drowsy, take the nap before you work. It is better to nap, wake up later, and put in valuable work than it is to work while tired and produce a subpar experience for your existing and potential customers.
#2: Write Down Your Goals
Studies have shown that writing down your goals dramatically increases your odds of you accomplishing your goals because it gives you more commitment to accomplish those goals. While typed goals can be deleted, your hand-writing is always there. If you erase with a pencil, you will still see some of your writing from before. If you use white out to remove the goals you wrote with a pen, you will know something (your goals) is underneath the white out.
Writing down your goals also makes it easier to remember them. It is easier to remember something that you repeatedly write down than it is to remember something that you think of but never write down.
Let’s say you wanted to remember the definition of a word like didactic. Here’s the definition:
If you have never crossed paths with this word, and you wanted to memorize it, you would have to look at it again and again. If you only read this word’s definition once, then you probably won’t remember it a week from now unless you have the perfect memory. Writing the word didactic and its definition will allow you to remember that definition more than simply reading it on your computer’s screen.
#3: Have Goals For The Week
Chances are your productivity skyrockets when there is an imminent deadline. It’s one of the universal truths. Many students spend more time on Monday studying for the big test on Wednesday than for the big test on the upcoming Monday. The closer something is, the more we work on it. This ideology is why many New Year’s resolutions fail. They are too far away, and the urgency of those New Year’s resolutions only start to manifest themselves in November.
Imagine how productive you would be if you had a deadline, that sense of urgency, all year round.
Giving yourself goals for the week creates that sense of urgency, the same sense that allows you to get more done. You don’t want your first week to feel overwhelming, so it is important for you to work your way up. Eventually, you will accomplish goals beyond your wildest dreams in just one week. Using this approach allowed me to write 20,000 words in two days when, at one time, I thought it would take me two weeks to reach the same milestone. You may go from writing five blog posts every week to writing five blog posts every day. I should know. When Christmas approached, I put in extra work so I could enjoy the break. Part of the extra work involved me writing as many as 10 blog posts in a given day (and all of them were over 1,000 words long).
#4: Create Day By Day Plans
I am a big believer in utilizing stepping stones that allow you to see the steps you need to take in order to accomplish a certain goal. Day by day plans allow you to know what you need to do each day for a week and therefore boost your productivity for that week. In other words, if you want to write 14 blog posts this week, writing two blog posts every day should be a part of your day by day plan.
Day by day plans make your goals for the week look possible. I have gone as far as 18 days with a day by day plan, and they work effectively. We are hardwired to perform steps that are given to us. Therefore, if we give ourselves our own steps to follow (that can, when combined, accomplish your goals for the week), we are already hardwired to accomplish those steps. Granted, don’t expect yourself to write 100 novels in one week if you write that down as a goal, but you will accomplish more than what you thought you were capable of.
#5: Know What You Want To Do
Knowing what you want to do in life is just as important as effective planning and everything else that goes along the lines of increasing your productivity. Identify the one thing you want to do in life and spend half of your time pursuing that dream or goal. If you have not read Gary Keller’s The ONE THING, then I recommend grabbing your copy now. Here are more details about why you need to find and focus on your ONE Thing.
#6: Raise Your Bar
No matter where we are now, we could both be putting in more effort. I could launch more products, make them more valuable, find more ways to grow my blog, and read more books (among other things). We can never settle with where we are because it is settling with where we are that ultimately makes us disappear in irrelevancy.
The most successful entrepreneurs in the world are not settling, sitting at the beach, and watching the sunset. They are still in the business world, challenging traditional concepts, creating new products, speaking all over the world, and providing more value. Millionaires don’t retire. In fact, some millionaires become billionaires. Millionaires only get to become billionaires by constantly raising their bars higher even when they have enough money to retire.
When you raise your bar, you will challenge yourself to get more accomplished. Raising your bar higher allows you to raise your standard of excellence. Never settle with where you are. We can always do better than we are doing now. The athlete with a four minute and 30 second mile could run faster. There is no fence that stops us from moving forward. The only fences that stop us from moving forward are the ones that we build ourselves.
#7: Be Mindful Of Your Internet Browsing
One way to be more productive is by being less unproductive. One of the most unproductive activities people participate in is internet browsing. Whether internet browsing means checking fantasy sports or surfing on YouTube, we can be extremely unproductive on the internet. The internet is a double-edged sword because we can use it to boost our productivity or bring our productivity to a point lower than it ever was before.
When I realize I am surfing the internet too long, I use a tool called Mindful Browsing for Mac laptops and computers which allows me to block any website I choose. I can go back to the website at anytime, but I am notified that it has been blocked, and Mindful Browsing requires that its users wait for 10 seconds before having the ability to unblock a website. I often use Mindful Browsing to block my favorite social networks when I am writing blog posts and books.
#8: Unplug Your Computer
When I first stumbled across the method, I could not believe what I was reading. Regardless, I gave the method a try at school, and the results have been incredible. I never bring my charger with my to school, and I have seen my Mac dip below 30% in power. Sure enough, power getting drained from my computer created a sense of urgency where I focused on doing what was truly important. Less time for social media and checking statistics. More time for writing blog posts and books.
#9: Think Small Wins
Big wins, the typical wins we strive for, are just a series of small wins carried out over a long period of time. Thinking small wins allows you to turn accomplishment into habit. If you see yourself performing dozens of small wins every day (i.e. successfully walking the dog, writing a blog post, reading an article on the web), then it will be easier for you to accomplish the small wins that lead to big results.
#10: Say No
In many cases, I have become comfortable with saying no. I say no to certain types of work and opportunities that are not worth the effort. Saying no may be painful for some people, but saying no is critical towards your success as an entrepreneur. Saying no to time consuming activities allows you to focus more of your time on your work.
Sure enough, there are people who want to make everyone happy and be the “yes-men” of our generation. However, most of these people make others happy at the expense of their own happiness. You should never give up your happiness by saying yes too often. Not only does saying yes too often have the potential to damage your happiness, but in everything, there are tradeoffs. Not only should you think of what you are saying yes to, but you are also think of what you are saying no to. If you say yes to a friend’s request to attend a party (even if you don’t want to go), then you are saying no to your work and getting closer to accomplishing your goals that evening.
#11: Work Non-Stop In The Morning
Remember when I mentioned that you need to wake up earlier? Not only should you wake up earlier, but your entire morning should be dedicated to your work. It is the mornings when we are the most productive. If you want to talk with friends on the phone or play a game, then do so in the afternoon. The first hour of your day dictates how the rest of that day will go, so make that first hour and your entire morning count.
#12: Believe In Yourself
These tips only work for the individuals who believe in themselves. If you go through these tips without believing in your own abilities, then the thoughts of self-doubt and unworthiness will creep in. In reality, we are all worthy, and we are all miracles. The web has given us the power to share our unique messages to billions of people.
Productive individuals are the ones who are leading their stampedes. Productivity sparks product creation, writing, and brings various areas of your business to the next level. Individuals who plan ahead are many steps ahead of the competition because they have a series of steps to follow, and our minds are hardwired to follow steps given to us. Major corporations have their marketing campaigns and plans scheduled years in advance. Planning works.
Without the belief in your own abilities, none of this will work. You need to build on the confidence you have and realize that you are valuable to the world. As Seth Godin would say, “The world is waiting. Now, go make a ruckus.”