3 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Productivity TODAY

One of first things I realized on my journey with productivity is that there’s no silver bullet for it (aw, man!). It’s more like a silver shotgun shell: you combine a lot of effective little tweaks, efficiencies, processes, and other tricks to improve productivity. Some of them work well and hit on target, others don’t make the cut and get removed.

There are a ton of productivity tips and lists out there. The last one I read was a hundred strong! Instead of inundating you with an impressive list of productive tips, I want to give you three things to try to help you be a little more productive today.


1. Mind Map Your Day
I talked in great detail about mind mapping here. This technique is great for creative processes, but also works very well in planning out your day. By brainstorming everything you want to do today, you can see and group priorities, similar tasks, and context much more clearly. Having it all down in this way allows you to form a much better plan of attack, as well as minimize the amount of time you spend transitioning between tasks.


2. Set Time Limits for Tasks
This might seem a little counter-intuitive, but giving yourself less time to do something actually improves the amount you’re able to do on it. If you give yourself only 25 minutes to work on a report, for example, you’re going to use those 25 minutes to its fullest potential, squeezing every second you can out of those minutes. Because you’re focussing only on one task, you’ll be surprised at how much headway you can make in a very short amount of time.


3. Take Frequent, Short, Breaks
One of my favorite tricks for managing my energy is the pomodoro technique. This technique invovles selecting a task to do, setting a timer (usually 25 minutes) and working only on that task until the timer goes off. Then you take a 5 minute break and either continue working on the task or moving on to another. After 4 “shifts” you take a longer break, 15 to 30 minutes. What’s great about this technique is that it keeps your mind and energy levels really fresh as you focus 100% of your attention on one thing. I usually take a quick lap around my office building, which gets me some sunshine, fresh air, and the blood flowing a little more and that really invirogorates me.


The Takeaway
 If you try each one of these out, you should have a clearer understanding of your day, where your priorities lie, and can group like tasks together. You’ll be able to better focus on one task at a time and will use that time more efficiently when you set a limit to how much you can spend on a certain task. You should also have a more stable level of mental energy by taking well-timed breaks during and between tasks to prevent burn-out.

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