Ever feel as though you could be more productive? After graduating with a business degree, Chris Bailey interviewed productive people, read about and conducted countless productivity experiments. Through the year’s research, Bailey came up with 10 lessons that can help us all to lead more productive lives.
1) Begin with your highest leverage tasks in each area of your life. These will give you the greatest return for your time, energy and attention. For example, think about what tasks you do at work that contribute the most value – for you and your coworkers and boss. It is likely that these select few activities that contribute 80-90% of your value.
2) Nothing will make you more productive than eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising.
3) It’s okay to buck the conventional wisdom about productivity if something else works better for you. Find you get more done when you don’t wake up at 5:30 every morning? Then sleep in! Some people get more done in the early hours of the day, while others are real night owls. Which one are you?
4) Forming good habits makes you more productive automatically. Want to improve your productivity? Take a look at your habits. If you need to develop some new habits, just keep in mind that it can take as long as a few months for a habit to take hold.
5) Time, energy and attention are the three ingredients of productivity. Some people are good at one or the other, but to be productive, you need to be able to effectively manage all three.
6) Bailey found so many tips and tactics he compiled a top-100 list at the end of his year’s research. Here are just a few of them: Watch less television; track your time spent on the computer; always work with a specific purpose in mind.
7) Working too much or too hard decreases your productivity. When you limit how much time spent on a task, you force yourself to exert more energy over less time. That gets your task done in less time.
8) Determine WHY you want to get something done. When your tasks fit your values, you stay motivated to accomplish them.
9) Be kind to yourself or your productivity becomes pointless. Constantly be mindful of how you’re treating yourself when you’re pushing to get more done.
10) Productivity isn’t about how much you produce, it’s about how much you accomplish. It’s important to do tasks that are meaningful and valuable. That’s what productivity is all about.
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