Could you use new strategies to increase your productivity during this age of unprecedented distraction that we all contend with?
Does your productivity ever get hampered by searching for the best possible solutions to get stuff done?
Maybe, as you seek the easiest or fastest route to your goal, you may find yourself stopped entirely. You may even do this subconsciously, at times, to keep from having to make a final decision.
Hold tight because there is actually a work-around.
Have you ever heard of the term, “heuristic?” I just recently stumbled upon this word.
Heuristics are rules that allow a solution to be found more quickly. With a heuristic, a resolution can be found even when the entire path isn’t clear from the onset.
For example, say if there were no roads, you lived in New York City and neede to get to California, a heuristic might be:
Walk west as far as you can.
Walk around any obstacle, if possible.
If faced with a mountain range, walk toward the space between 2 small peaks.
Repeat until reaching California.
Does this heuristic give you the most efficient solution? No; however, it will get you where you want to go, and you won’t waste a lot of time trying to make up your mind in the process.
Likewise, behavioral heuristics can work the same way and can increase your productivity in the process.
Try these 12 behavioral heuristics to increase your productivity:
- Choose the right time. Nearly everyone has times of the day when they are most effective and times when they tend to drag. It’s smart to schedule the most critical tasks for your most effective time of the day. As simple as this seems, many people don’t instinctively do this. Instead, we tend to do whatever our favorite guru suggests. Everybody is wired differently. Being self aware can actually increase your productivity.
2. Toss it. If a task doesn’t really need to be done, just get rid of it altogether. Some tasks don’t even require the brain power required for delegating.
3. Get the bad stuff out of the way. Do the unpleasant items quickly and as early in the day as possible.
4. Plan your work the night before: Set 3 goals for the next day Then decide which are highest in priority. Of the 3 which ONE is the most important. Start the next day working on that ONE thing. This strategy can be even more effective when planned the night before. It may even allow for a better night’s rest because you have a sense of direction. Now, you can wake up and spend your precious time getting things done!
5. Eliminate all (non-urgent) communication. While you’re working, turn off the phone / cell phone, and don’t check your email. Hang a sign that says, “Do not disturb,” if necessary. You don’t have to do this for all your tasks, but at least do it during the more difficult items.
I emphasize “non-urgent” because there are times when you’ll need to pick up the phone. When you prioritize curating your life, you’ll know when to pick up the phone.
6. Batch similar tasks together. This is a huge strategy and it works wonders towards increasing your productivity. Here are a few examples: Handle all of your business email at one or two designated times. Make all your business or personal phone calls at a set time. Open your snail mail during a set block of time. You’ll waste less time by doing your work in this fashion. If you want to increase your productivity at work, you can designate only one or two days a week to schedule meetings. Or create a “no meetings” work day, etc.
7. Set a timer. Even if a task might take hours, starting will seem easier if you simply give yourself 30 minutes to get as much done as you can. A time limit seems to help many people concentrate and work better, too. I love the Pomodoro method of setting time blocks. It’s a really cool way to increase your productivity.
8. Set targets. For example, if you have to make cold-calls for your sales job, tell yourself that you’re not getting up for any reason until you’ve made at least 100 calls. Regardless of what happens, refuse to stop until you hit your target. If you are inspired by vision, you can even use the tick mark approach to track your results.
9. Incorporate the Pareto Principle. This principle states that only 20% of the actions you could take will provide you with 80% of the benefits. So focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most. Unfortunately, these are usually the tasks that are not much fun. You might be surprised how little you really have to do if you focus on the critical 20%. This leads right in to the next way to increase your productivity.
10. Delegate some of your work. Is there anyone else who can help you? The people around you are resources. When appropriate, use their time and talents wisely to get things done more quickly. Even consider the possibility of outsourcing some of those 80% tsks mentioned above.
11. Set a firm deadline. Having a specific endpoint will really help to focus your time and energy. If a task doesn’t feel necessary, chances are that it won’t get done.
12. Increase your speed. It sounds silly, but this can really help. Try doing everything a little faster. Walk faster, talk faster, type faster, and read faster. Sometimes it’s those small, silly little tweaks that go a long way in increasing your productivity.
Start incorporating these heuristics into your life and work and you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time. The ultimate secret is to stay on task and not waste any time. These rules will help you do just tha, thereby increasing your productivity now!
What methods or strategies do you use to increase your productivity?
All the best,