How To Increase Productivity By 40% Really Easily

By Paul Minors, - In Productivity

Picture of a woman doing a plank who has worked out how to increase productivity so she can achieve more while doing less

Photo Credit: stockphotosecrets

A KeyOrganization.com report found that on average, 40% of people’s time is considered “unproductive”. That’s insane!

Think about the cost of that on an annual basis. For an employee on $50,000 a year that’s $20,000 a year spent on “unproductive” activities.

Here are some more stats to consider:

  • The average employee attends 62 meetings a month.
  • Half of these meetings are considered “wasted time”, that’s 32 wasted hours a month (almost an entire working week).
  • In the US this costs businesses about $37 billion a year (source: VerizonBusiness.com).
  • The average employee experiences 56 interruptions per day.
  • They spend about 2 hours in total recovering from this time.
  • 80% of these interruptions are considered “trivial” (source: KeyOrganiszation.com).

With all of these meetings and constant interruptions threatening to destroy your productivity, how do you maintain a focussed state and get things done?

Even when you do find time between meetings to sit down and do some work, it can be tricky deciding how to be the most productive in the time you  have available. The problem isn’t having a shortage of things to do, it’s deciding how to spend your time in the most efficient way so you can get everything done. A lot of people feel overwhelmed by work and this causes them to procrastinate or worse, give up on their goals!

Motivation Isn’t The Issue, It’s Turning These Good Intentions Into Action

Having talked to hundreds of people about their productivity challenges, here’s what I’ve found to be the fundamental problem:

When you aim high and chase big goals, you’re going to have a long list of tasks you need to complete, but not enough hours in the day. Prioritising tasks is tough, how do you know what deserves your time and what should be left alone? This can ruin your motivation which leads to procrastination, making you feel like you’re not doing your best work. On top of this, your time is taken up by never-ending emails, pointless meetings and constant interruptions.

Finding the time to focus and get stuff done is almost impossible. This stress can even transfer into your personal life. I know of people who are up all night, worrying about their to-do list. As a result, your personal relationships feel the pain and weekends are used as an opportunity to do nothing instead of doing the things you love.

Motivation isn’t the issue. You often know what needs to be done and have a clear goal in mind. But turning these good intentions into action isn’t always easy.

Anthony, an animator from the Bay Area described his problem like this:

“I felt like I had quite a lot of knowledge and motivation but couldn’t connect this with a practical process. I had all these elements of wisdom gained from books, talks, YouTube videos and life experiences… all of this potential… but I needed the practical tools and systems that I could use to get stuff done.”

I’ve heard the stories of many people who have ideas of things they’d like to do “one day”. Like build a business or pursue some other dream. But finding the time for these dreams is next to impossible in your busy day to day life. Finding the time is one thing, having a system like Anthony describes is another.

Creating A “System” For Success To Increase Productivity

So, how do you overcome this productivity problem?

After years of research, testing and having helped thousands of people go through my 7-Day Productivity Plan I’ve found the solution is to have:

1) A Productive Mindset That Keeps You On Track.

Picture of a outline of a human heade, half open with gears coming out the top to represent how mindset can increase productivity

Mindset

A productive mindset comes from having an understanding around what it means to be truly productive. It means being able to prioritise your tasks and decide which things are going to advance you towards your goals and which things should be left for later, or dropped altogether.

Having a productive mindset means knowing where you’re trying to get to and setting clear goals that will get you there.

To create a productive mindset:

  • Establish clear goals. These can apply to anything you’re passionate about at work or in your personal life. Do you want to run a marathon, build a business or simply spend more time with your family.
  • Allocate a time budget to each of these activities e.g. “I’m going to spend 15 hours a week building my side-business” or “I’m going to complete three 90 minute training sessions a week to train for my marathon”.
  • Understand that productivity is about more than just time management. Maintaining your energy levels and focus is just as, if not more important.
  • Commit to a consistent sleep schedule that maintains your energy.
  • Stay away from junk food and sugar to avoid the mid-afternoon lull in energy. Switch to whole foods, fruits and vegetables that contribute to a healthier and more focussed mental state.
  • Plan for distractions and get your most important tasks out of the way first thing each day.
  • Get up early and use this time to work on your most important goals and mentally prepare yourself for the day. Try journaling, reading, writing or even meditating.

Creating a productive mindset is all about having an awareness around what you’re doing and how you live your life. With this awareness, you can make better decisions that contribute to increased productivity and accomplishment.

2) A System of Tools And Processes that Supports Your Goals

Picture of Productivity Tools used to increase productivity

Productivity Tools

Now you can work on creating a system that supports the above mindset. By “system” I mean the tools, processes and habits that facilitate productivity. This is where the rubber meets the road and where all that good intention can be turned into practical action.

To create a “system” for success:

  • Use a task management app like Asana or ToDoist to organise your goals and tasks in one place.
  • Break up your goals into projects where you can list all the tasks that need to be completed for you to reach that goal.
  • Use tags like email, home, errands, easy, hard, quick and long so you can filter tasks by useful contexts.
  • Use a calendar like Google Calendar, Fantastical or Sunrise to plan when you’re going to work on these tasks and put your time budget into action.
  • Conduct a “weekly review” every Sunday to plan the upcoming week and review your progress. Add this to your calendar so you never forget.
  • Schedule time for all of your social appointments and anything you want to remember. Getting everything into your calendar helps you to commit to doing things. This is especially useful for workouts.
  • Use apps like Evernote and Dropbox to store important information and reference material. e.g. Receipts, blog posts, journal entries, project plans and documents.

The key is to get everything out of your head and into this system of tools. Don’t count on yourself to remember to do things. Instead, use your calendar and task list to organise your thoughts and plan your work/life.

Want to Learn More? Introducing The Personal Productivity Toolkit!

Picture of what is included in the Productivity Toolkit to give you a simple process to increase productivity

Productivity Toolkit

If you want to learn more about how to create a productive mindset and system, then check out my Personal Productivity Toolkit. In the toolkit, you’ll receive my 120-page ebook, audio book, 9 coaching videos, 7 expert interviews, 6 case studies, 6 worksheets, a calendar template, productivity checklist and other resources.

It’s available at a discounted price for the first 24 hours ending Midnight 27th October 2015:

»  Learn more about the Personal Productivity Toolkit «



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Productivity blogger. Start my free 7-Day Productivity Plan at PaulMinors.com

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