22 Swift Tips to Increase Productivity

Increase Your Productivity

An increase in productivity saves time, the most valuable constituent of life.  Take heed to these swift tips and the victory dance shall be yours.

If you want to catch fish, and really enjoy the sport, you
will maintain your lures and line in some organized fashion.
The best at it will always have their tackle ready.
– David Allen

  1. Clutter hinders productivity.  Clear clutter.  – “Trash what you don’t need.  Get rid of the duplicates of the duplicates.  And quickly delete those e-mails or attachments from your mother or your best friend that you “just have to forward.”  Yeah, they’re funny, cute, and heartwarming, but they are cluttering up your life and your inbox!” – via Frugal Dad
  2. Create a dedicated workspace for yourself. – “Do not share your workspace with wives, girlfriends, work associates (you may not have any say in this one). People need a sense of ownership in their tools. They need to know that the tool that they need that minute is available and not being used by someone else.” – via Black Belt Productivity
  3. The first step is the most important step.  Take it. – “The most difficult part of investing is taking that first step. Writing that first check and sending it off to open an account is where many people falter in the process. It’s always easier to procrastinate and “give it some thought,” but you will have no success until you begin.” – via The Wisdom Journal
  4. Create separate to-do lists for the home, office, grocery store, etc. – “Basically, you need to ask yourself: What can I accomplish right now, based on where I am and what tools are in front of me? and then focus only on those tasks. GTD simplifies that process by breaking down your lists into separate contexts, so you only need to worry about the context you’re in right now, and not about any other contexts” – via Zen Habits
  5. Ask yourself: Why am I really doing this? – “We fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing something because we want to accomplish an audacious goal, but in reality we may be doing it for someone else.  You have to do some soul searching and make sure that you really want to accomplish this goal.” – via Work Happy Now
  6. Concentrate on the most important tasks. – “I for one have never accomplished everything I’ve ever needed to do in one day.  But that’s the very reason why trying to do too much will set us up for failure.  To put it bluntly, if we think we’ll successfully check off a 20-item to-do list within 24 hours, we’re kidding ourselves.” – Simple Mom
  7. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. – “The most strategic time to think about the actions you need to take is not when you need to perform them, but beforehand, when you have perspective. When you execute from an inventory of predefined tasks, you can act rather than react, and your menu of options is much easier to prioritize.” – via Tools For Thought
  8. Focus.  Focus.  Focus. – “I am suggesting from personal experience that having one primary focus and diving into it completely with all your being will give you a higher chance at success.  Having said that, you are free to work on multiple goals at the same time, some people can pull it off without stress, most cannot.” – via Think Simple Now
  9. Do it right the first time. – “Why do a job if you aren’t going to do it right?  We need to develop the habit of giving every task our best effort.  Excellence should be the standard we strive for in all we do.  We can’t start letting ourselves or our children do the least possible to get by.  If we do, then they are going to receive less than the best results from their work.” – via My Super-Charged Life
  10. Batch small tasks together and knock them off at once. – “Group up all of your small tasks (taking out the garbage, fixing a door hinge, organizing binders, etc.) and do them all at once.  This can help speed things along since there will be fewer interruptions in your regular workflow.” – via Pick The Brain
  11. Only spend time on the things you CAN control. – “Our impulsive thoughts always tend to waste our life-energy by focusing on things that we cannot control… Dwell more on what you can do rather than what you cannot.  It’s not the circumstances that cause us to react in a certain way, it’s rather a certain way we choose to react to the circumstances that matters most to win against the odds.” – via Success Soul
  12. Set time limits for yourself. – “One of the simplest things I do to increase my productivity is to use a timer throughout the day. I don’t always need it, but on days when I need the boost, it is the first thing I turn to.  For 30 minutes, I work like this, racing the clock and challenging myself to have it all done before the buzzer goes off.  By the end, I am exhilarated, accomplished, and feel relaxed because I am no longer looking at what was an overwhelming mess 30 minutes earlier.” – via Remodeling This Life
  13. Use your talents to your advantage. – “If you’ve got good people skills, then it means taking the time to engage as many folks as you can in conversation.  Whatever your best talents are, use them as often as possible.  It’s always good to stretch yourself, but there’s no reason not to use your natural talents to your advantage.” – via On Simplicity
  14. Take one bite of the elephant at a time. – “It’s important to know how long to run a race before you start. Starting off a marathon by sprinting isn’t going to get you to the finish line. Similarly, taking on every possible GTD, lifehack or to-do list upgrade at the same time isn’t a winning strategy.” – via The Change Blog
  15. Don’t get blindsided.  Always read the fine print. – “Why are they calling this a tax credit?  Have you heard about the new $7,500 first-time home buyer tax credit?  It’s not a credit at all, it’s a loan!  Granted it’s a 0% interest loan, but it’s still a loan.  Let’s call it what it is!” – via My Dollar Plan
  16. Use tricks to keep the momentum going. – “Probably the best way to counteract fatigue is to keep your toes tapping.  Find music that is upbeat, energetic and conducive to the environment you’re trying to create.” – via The Cranking Widgets Blog
  17. Reduce your stress by reducing your commitments. – “Given that we have these tensions in our lives, and that they cause some level of mental stress, how do we resolve them? There are two possibilities: Eliminate the source, or structure them so as to feel as if they’re eliminated.” – Matt’s Idea Blog
  18. Always be ready to capture your ideas. – “As a serial entrepreneur, I’m addicted to ideas.  I feed off of ‘em.  And nothing makes me more upset than having a great idea… and losing it.  Ideas never happen at opportune times, and having the proper idea capture tools can make sure that you’ll capture all your ideas for later processing.” – via LifeDev
  19. Communicate clearly.  Get straight to the point. – “Too Wordy: If you are overly verbose in your blog post, you’ll lose not only the point of what you’re trying to say, but you’ll lose your readers as well.  Keep it simple; get to the point and you can’t go wrong.” – via Create Business Growth
  20. Motivate others.  Inject energy into your environment. – “When a dance floor is empty at a party, most people simply won’t be the first people to start dancing, even if they want to.  It often takes somebody who is confident and who is acting through their intentions (doing what they want to do) to dance before others.  This is then a trigger to others that allows them to start dancing as it seems normal.” – via PluginID
  21. Do more work when you’re motivated. – “Why I do this?  Because there will be times when I’m just super lazy and nothing can change it.  By doing extra work when I’m motivated, I will feel less guilty about being lazy sometime later… and I’ll get more done.” – via LessonInLife
  22. Keep yourself healthy so you can actually get things done. – “With winter on its way, its time to start keeping our immune systems in top shape. Boosting immunity can come from a variety of different factors including how you handle stress, exercise and eating.” – via Zen to Fitness
  23. Bonus:  How To Get Things Done in 1 Minute – “A crystal clear, 1 minute read on increasing your productivity by using the slightly modified GTD-based methods that have worked for me.” – via Marc and Angel Hack Life  😉

Photo by: Divwerf

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the list and also a few new blogs to explore, I like # 23, “How to get things done in one minute”. I would like to add #24 “Get 22 Useful Productivity Tips in One Minute”, you simply have to read the tips on this post, pick one, two, three or 22 and start doing it now.

    I love your site, always leaves a little more joyous.

    Cheers,

    -Tabs

  2. says

    There’s an obvious need to focus on the most important tasks and set a realistic schedule of what you want to accomplish in a day.

    But a lot of times I think we sabotage ourselves. We’re more productive and then what do we do with the free time we have left over? We try to get more things done. This is a serious betrayal. You told yourself the reason for getting things done is to have more free time, and then you sell yourself out to get more things done. This just creates a vicious cycle where you end up resenting productivity.

    Anyway, that’s my productivity tip for the day. After you finish the things on your list for the day. Stop. You’ll be more motivated the next day to finish what you want to do.

  3. says

    @Jonathan: Well stated. This is exactly why we must set a realistic number of goals for ourselves each day. Too few goals, and not enough gets done. Too many goals, and we stress ourselves out. Happiness and success always rests inbetween the extremes.

  4. says

    I’m really glad I’m reading this list first thing in the morning. It’ll refocus my day. I always have so many things I’d like to do. You know the drill… so many things, so little time.
    Thanks.
    Beth

  5. says

    Clutter is the worst for me. I have piles of stuff everywhere now. That’s a tough thing to deal with. If I had handled each item as it came in then I would be better off.

  6. says

    Doing things that you can control is the best advice for me. Focusing on a task whose end you can influence will certainly get you closer to attaining your goals versus concentration on something that will not tick off a task in your to-do list. The first thing I do when I get to work is write down my to-do list for the day. That way, I can keep track of my progress as I go along.

    Your advice is very helpful. Thanks for this post!

  7. says

    Thanks for the list, and for including me on it. Re: “Get straight to the point,” I’ve been thinking of this one lately. One tip I found is to say (kindly) “I got it.” Use this when someone is spiraling deep into a topic that won’t help the conversation. It’s coming increasingly in handy…

    Cheers!

  8. says

    This is a great example of how we can give ourselves more time, and make ourselves more efficient. Actually a lot of people don’t really know what efficiency means – to me it means self-respect.

    I’ve heard of a book written about the subject – it’s called – Eliminating Uselessness. It’s written by a Danish author, Rune Jensen. It looks really promising – though it hasn’t been published yet.

  9. says

    Hi,
    These have been very good tips. I liked them because they are simple and concrete.

    I also would like to share the Time Management Master blog with you. It is a collection of about 200 concrete time saving tips on how to gain an extra hour every day. Tips can be applied at home, at work or on the road.

    http://memytime.wordpress.com/

    Every person is different and so are my tips. Please let me know if some work for you – this keeps me motivated.

    Thanks

    Nicolas

  10. says

    Thanks for the nice collection! A lot of useful thoughts.
    However, I always found it difficult to apply these principles in real life. There is a free version of DAISHO available, an integrated goal and time management software which helps on planning and keeping the focus on the important things.

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