My 3-Step Plan to Boost Productivity This Year

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

We all want to improve our productivity, increase our time, and have more energy for the important things — I know I do. So this year I’m particularly focusing on how I can boost my productivity. I’ve found that it’s not so much about trying to work more,but about how to work more effectively.

As I’ve worked on my productivity over the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that I can do more in three or four hours than I used to be able to do in six or seven. How?

The key is understanding my own tendencies, and applying principles of productivity to my everyday life and my business.

As I look at the New Year, I recognize there are still some areas that I can improve upon (can’t we all?). So here are some of the ways I plan to further boost my productivity:

1. Work During My “Best” Hours

One of the more interesting items I came across when I was researching productivity was the idea that you can do more in less time when you focus more intensely. According to research, expert performers can boost their abilities with deliberate practice, and the same can be applies to work.

If you focus intensely for a shorter period of time, and work deliberately, you can do more with less time. The study found that violinists who practiced deliberately for four hours made more progress than those that went for seven hours, but weren’t as focused, and didn’t take breaks in between times of intense focus.

I plan to combine this intense focus idea with working during my best hours (before lunch) to get more done. This means shifting some of my interviews with people (talking on the phone) to the afternoon when possible, and doing whatever I can to ensure that I have a three to four hour block of time available for intense focus on work. When I do this during my hours of peak productivity and performance, I’m far more likely to get more done.

2. Prioritize My Health Needs

When I get busy, I tend to neglect my health, as I’m sure many of you do as well. It seems that health takes a back seat to everything else because, well, we just don’t have time to exercise, sleep, or meditation. There are other important things that need to happen, right?

Well, neglecting these things leaves me somewhat listless. It’s more difficult to focus, and I’m not nearly as energized or creative.

So, in order to boost my productivity, I’m making my health a priority this year. I’ve already started carving out time for exercise each day, and I’m forcing myself to go to bed at a reasonable time.

I’m also getting back to the habit of meditation to help contain my thoughts. This focus exercise comes from feeling healthy and well-rested can’t be replicated.

3. Batch Tasks and To-Do’s

In the past, I’ve tried to prioritize my tasks with little success. There are times it’s worked, but other times when I’ve just ignored the priorities list. I’m working more toward setting the right priorities by grouping similar tasks together.

This batch-processing method aims at spending less time task-switching, and promotes more focus so I can just move from one similar task to another. This means better planning on a weekly basis, as well as prioritizing for the day.

I’m excited to see how things pan out in the coming weeks and months, and hoping to see a good boost in productivity.

What’s another way I can boost my productivity this year? How are you planning to up your productivity this year?

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  • Emily Guy Birken says:

    Great tips, Miranda (I say as I take a break from writing!) For me, I struggle with knowing how much work is appropriate to expect of myself. So in 2015, I’m identifying the 3 most important tasks for myself each day–although I still have my mile-long to do list to keep myself organized. This helps because I’m better able to prioritize and recognize my own limitations.

  • Dewald says:

    After a long holiday of rest and sleeping late this post give you some must needed advice. I struggled the first week to get into my working routine.

  • Kristin says:

    I am definitely working smarter, not harder. I recently started #1 and I am amazed how many items I can check off my list during this time.

    I’m also saying No more. I used to say yes to everyone and everything and was just exhausted!

  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says:

    I’m going to try to time my work when I’m most productive too. I know that I work best in spurts, it’s just trying to time when those are and figuring out what work it is that I want to make a priority that will be tough!

  • Gretchen says:

    I downloaded a time clock app for my phone. There is something about “clocking in” that makes me use my time more efficiently than if I hadn’t.

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