As I get older, I realize how important it is to redeem my time. Time is one of those things that once it is gone, it can’t come back. In my journey of attaining a simplistic lifestyle, my goal is not to do more and do it carelessly but to do less and do it well. To do less still requires planning though. Here is what I mean. If I plan on doing a simple project, I take the time to see what materials I have and what I need to purchase. I do my research and make sure I have an idea on how to construct the item before I proceed. Doing this allows the final product to come out well. Below are some helpful tips that have helped me increase my productivity.
Know your productivity style
There are 3 types of productivity styles or shall I say personalities. Focus master, chaos master, and nomad. A focus master is a person that understands organization and productivity. They usually don’t have issues with time management. Chaos masters struggle with organization and time management. They usually have a pile of paper around them, but they know where items are. It doesn’t mean that they cannot be successful or change their habits, they just struggle with organization. Nomads are what most people fall into. Nomads are very focused but struggle a bit with organization due to life in general. If you are a focus master, see how you can help others with what you’ve learned. If you are a chaos master, simplify things in your life to help you to become more productive, and if you are a nomad, develop new habits that will help you stay focused and organized. Keep in mind that most of us have been all these styles in different seasons of our lives. But as of today, what is your productivity style?
Refrain from multitasking which is switchtasking
I used to be so proud of myself for letting people know that I am a great multitasker. Now I cringe at the idea. Multitasking is the same as switchtasking. Switchtasking is performing many tasks that require your full attention at the same time. Now tell me, is that really productive? No one can fully devote themselves to multiple things. I thought I was getting more done faster, but in actuality, I got bad results slowly. I learned I have to be intentional about not switchtasking. If I am cooking, I now devote myself to that task until I am finished, then I do laundry. I used to try to do both and end up burning the food or forgetting to dry the wet clothes. If you are performing a task and don’t have time to start another, it’s ok, leave it for another day.
Clean up your space
Take a look at areas in your house or work that is cluttered and start removing items that are no longer needed. Throw away old receipts or manuals you no longer need. Have a specific place or area designated for items in your home or desk. Perhaps donate old items that have been sitting in your garage for years that are still functional. At work, I like to clean up my desktop and put documents into folders. Research tells how clutter affects your ability to focus and process information. Taking the time out of your schedule to declutter is well worth it.
Create Gathering Points
Create a physical inbox to put away non-urgent paperwork and then schedule time go through them at the end of the week. It can be a container of any kind as long as it is big enough to fit documents of any kind. Don’t let the stack get too big. You can arrange multiple boxes in your space. For instance, place a one-week “inbox” near your desk and a monthly “inbox” on the ground and where it is visible.
You can also create a portable inbox which consists of digital notepad, lists, digital pictures that goes everywhere with you so you can find what you need. Some people place notepads or notebooks in their purse or use smartphone apps. Apply the same method of going through your items weekly.
Instead of logging into each of your email accounts, set up all your accounts into one application. It’s easy to do this on your phone. With my retirement accounts, I log into one system and I can see all my accounts from there. I also set automatic payments for most of my bills so I don’t have to manually pay it.
Clear mental clutter
Practice clearing your mind from unresolved unfinished projects. Stop thinking too much so you can focus on the tasks at hand. Clear out the clutter in your head as you would your home and empty it out like your physical or portable inbox. If you’re thinking about that project you were supposed to do last month, ask yourself was it really necessary. If not, let it go. If it was necessary, take the time to do the task so your mind can be cleared from it. You’ll feel a sense of calm immediately.
Be realistic about your time
Think of your time in terms of a budget. Do you want to go over budget with your time or under budget? I’d rather go under budget so I can use my remaining time with the family. This is where a calendar comes in. You can use both digital (portable) or physical calendar. If you use a physical calendar, have an easy access location so you can view it from time to time. For me, it’s in the office.
Don’t make an appointment without checking your calendar and don’t double-book yourself. Schedule buffers in your calendar from one event to another. No back to back scheduling. If you schedule a task, discipline yourself to complete it by giving yourself an allotment of time. Managing my time is still a learning process for me.
Say no to others and sometimes to yourself
When it comes to tasks, do not say yes to anyone until you’ve checked your calendar. Remember that you must create buffers in between tasks. Part of creating buffers is saying no. If your personality type is amiable, then instead of saying no you can say perhaps later. Some people battle with saying no to themselves. If you’re always on the move or trying to get too many things done in a day, you can truly exhaust yourself. That was me in my home life. I tried to get laundry, cleaning, cooking, and shopping done in one day. I had to say no to this method and spread tasks out throughout the week that only took a couple of hours instead of a whole day.
I hope this article was helpful. How are you finding ways to improve your productivity?