Increase Your Productivity With These 5 Strategies

If you want to get more done in less time, focus on these 5 strategies and you’ll see your productivity dramatically improve.

1. Focus Your Efforts on Your Most Important Activities

Your time is fixed: you get 24 hours in a day, nothing more. Thus, there’s a limit to tasks you can cram in a day. However, you can choose which activities you invest your efforts on. Although you can’t add more hours in your day, you can invest your efforts on activities that yield a greater return in your life. Neglecting trivial activities and focusing your efforts on your most important activities will help you boost your productivity.

2. Focus on a Few Targets

To raise your productivity, you must finish what you start. And to do that, you can’t afford to spread yourself too thin. When you have too many targets, it dissipates your efforts and thus makes it harder to reach your targets (at least it takes longer). Scatteredness decreases productivity.

The number of targets you pursue at the same time is up to you; it’s personal. Thus, you must establish that for yourself; you know your capacity. However, if you must err in one direction, err on the side of less; less is more. Focus.

When it comes to productivity, it’s better to be serial (i.e. tackling one task after another) than to be parallel (i.e. multi-tasking). In fact, it’s preferable to focus on one task (one activity or one project) at a time and get it done than to multi-task and get little done. It matters less what you start; it matters what you finish.

3. Plan Your Work

You wouldn’t build a house without first taking the time to plan your work. Planning is important to your productivity. It allows you to strategize before you get on the field and execute. Taking the time to plan saves you time in execution.

Before you start working on a task or project willy-nilly, take the time to plan it. As part of your planning, make sure you assess and then gather the material you’ll need to do the work. When you build a house, you have a blueprint. But you won’t build anything until you gather the wood and the other materials.

Also, prepare contingency plans for potential roadblocks. For example, if you’re working on a term paper, make sure that you have backup copies of your work, in case the computer you’re working on crashes.

4. Set Deadlines

This is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to raise your productivity. Deadlines push you to the finish line. There’s so much power in deadlines. You simply need to observe how people act when there’s impending deadline. They waste no time. They show great focus and determination to get the job done.

There’s so much power in deadlines. You simply need to observe how people act when there’s impending deadline. They waste no time. They show great focus and determination to get the job done. Think about the students who have term papers to hand in or exams to pass. When the deadline is close, they do more work than they did during all the weeks before that.

To improve your productivity, give yourself deadlines and abide by them.

5. Do the Work—Now

This is where the rubber meets the road. You must do the work. You’ve spent time planning. Now, it’s time to work your plan. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. It’s time to put your hand to the plow. No work, no productivity.

Being productive means getting the right things done. And to get the right things done, you must do the work—and do it now. No procrastination.

Procrastination is a great enemy of productivity. It’s a thief, and you must overcome it. This alone can dramatically increase your productivity. Every time you delay taking action on an important task, you decrease your productivity. The sooner you get a task done, the sooner you can move to the next one (and reach the finish line).