This is the Productivity Magic Part 2! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to get MORE done in LESS time, this week I am going to share with you my top tips on how to do LESS but achieve MORE.
Mind twisting? Not really. if you keep reading! 🙂
In Productivity Magic part 1, I focused on the logistics, the “how-to”s and good habits for increasing productivity. This week I want to focus on how to keep your body & mind as one unit to stay fresh and sharp as well as get the priorities right to maximise your results.
FIGURE OUT WHAT REALLY MATTERS
I don’t like this analogy because it talks about war, which I am totally against. However, it really speaks to the point.
“Pick the battles to win the war.”
I know, you probably think it is a bit strange to say this here, but it’s just so true to many situations for me.
My 2-year-old can be an angel SOME DAYS but she can be very challenging other times. To keep my sanity and effectively handle an unreasonable toddler, I’ve learned to accept that she will ONLY agree to a couple of things we ask of her in the same day. So we have to pick the important ones, like “don’t jump from the table” over “don’t put your rings into mummy’s teapot“.
Same goes with work or business, you simply CANNOT do or fit everything in, you need to prioritise. I am of course actually talking about the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule. For example, you tend to get 80% of your income from 20% of your best-selling products, or 80% of your headache comes from 20% of your most challenging customers. I think you get the picture.
Figure out what really matters to your business or health or relationship or finances, or whichever area you need to improve on, then divert 80% of all your effort to accomplish the most important activities.
Tackle the “MUST HAVE”, not the “NICE TO HAVE”
GIVE YOURSELF SOME BREAKS
It is obvious that our concentration doesn’t last, and if you really need to focus and put your mind to work, you need to take breaks. Different studies may suggest a different time for you to pulse and take a mental break. One popular study says 25 minutes, others suggest 52 or 90 minutes and some more varieties in between. You need to try and find out what works for you best.
For me, I set a timer for 45 minutes when I work on something that requires a strong mental focus. Then, I will get up to take a short break. Pace around the room, make a cup of tea or fill up my water bottle. If you have been working for more than a couple of hours, you may need a longer mental and physical break.
Many experienced creative writers reported that they can do on average about 4-5 hours of solid writing a day, but that’s about all they can do creatively and effectively in a day. They can still do some work, but probably tasks that don’t require the same mental capacity. I tend to do those tasks that require my highest concentration and creativity first in the morning, then I will move on to the more administrative or less demanding tasks later in the day.
This is probably one of the most important habits of productivity. When you exercise, you are also increasing the blood flow to the brain, which can help to sharpen your alertness. Sitting all day and being stagnate is not only bad for your health, it literally stops your energy or ideas from flowing!
If you can workout daily, fantastic! Prefer to go for a walk in the morning or afternoon? Great. Only have time to get up from your desk and walk around the house? Good, I’d take that! It’s better than nothing! Get moving, no matter how little time you have. You got to start!
Since almost 73% of our brain is water, it is not a surprise that dehydration will affect our cognitive performance. When we are dehydrated, we also feel physically tired too. A study from the University of East London found hydration can increase our productivity by 14%. Consider incorporating drinking water in your morning routine as it will also fire up your metabolism. I’d say keep a bottle or big glass of water nearby. No excuses!
Again, this is a no-brainer, everyone knows that sleep is important for our health. We just need to be reminded of how important this is. According to a research study from the Harvard Medical School, inadequate sleep will impact not only our mental function, performance but also judgement. If you can, aim to have 7 or more hours of sleep. Your body and brain need to rest and reset!
Tell me about your favourite productivity tips and tools! Share with me in the comments below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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