Wondering how to accomplish more in less time? Have you resolved to be more productive in 2020? Here are 7 habits that will make this your best year yet.
In the past we were deemed productive if we spent a lot of time at work. Today, we live in a knowledge economy. We are paid for our results, not hours. To succeed, we must produce more results in less time. How? Here are some expert tips:
Be honest with yourself
Most of us know what we should be doing, but we find it difficult to change. New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi insists that it is futile to keep learning productivity tactics. Instead, he teaches his students to understand and overcome their psychological barriers to productivity.
Manage your energy
The mantra in 2020 is not “time management,” but “energy management.” Your output depends more on your energy levels than on the amount of time you spend. A task can take six hours if you are tired, but 30 minutes if you are alert.
If you are a night owl, don’t force yourself to be a morning person. Instead, capitalise on your natural energy cycles. Schedule your phone calls and emails for the morning. Block out time later in the day for work that requires serious concentration. If you are a morning person, start with the hardest task first while your mind is fresh.
“Willpower fails us, which is why systems are so important,” explains Ramit Sethi. “If it is not on my calendar, it does not exist.” Put a routine in place. Automate regular tasks and organise your environment to ensure productivity even when your motivation runs low.
Counseling psychologist Naomi Mruttu advises the use of mobile phone alarms and reminders to help enforce your systems. Use visual cues such as placing your exercise gear by your bed the night before. Pack your healthy lunch and snacks the night before. Set an alarm to remind you to read your Bible daily or to listen to that productivity podcast. These systems enable us to meet our goals in smaller increments, thus programming our minds for success.
Determine your actual work
Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Work Week, learned how to increase his output tenfold and scale his work week back from 40 to 4 hours. To do this, first you have to figure out what your core work is. Map out your deliverables, audit how you are spending your time, then eliminate time-wasters that masquerade as work. He advocates for a ROWE (Results-Only-Work-Environment) and proclaims: “If you cannot measure or evaluate the work in some way, you should not be doing it.”
Abraham Lincoln said: “Give me six hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Top Performers spend the bulk of their time preparing behind the scenes. Professional chefs call it mise en place. A master chef can prepare for three hours during his time off, to produce a dish in 30 minutes when his shift begins.
Cut out distractions
Business mogul Warren Buffet invited his pilot Michael Flint to write down his 25 personal career goals. He instructed him to circle the top five. Everything else became his ‘Avoid at all Costs’ list. After he mastered the five he could move on to the others. Laser focus, not multitasking, is the key to real productivity. Be it weekly, monthly or yearly goals, say NO to anything other than your top five priorities. Flint went on to launch his own successful airline thanks to applying this advice.
Prime your body for success
Your health is your wealth – We can only be productive if we take care of our bodies. Nairobi Personal trainer Francis Akatu insists, “To succeed in anything, sleep and exercise are vital.”
A University of Bristol survey reveals…Workers are more productive (with better time management, interpersonal performance and effectiveness) on days where they exercise in the morning before work. Just 5 to 10 minutes of movement each morning can positively impact your mental output.
A Harvard Medical School survey reveals, “Adults who regularly get been 7.5 and 9 hours sleep per night can be up to 20% more productive.”
Which of these habits will you incorporate this year? Start small and keep going. With consistency and self awareness you can make it your best year yet.
BIO of Author : Tricia Wanjala is a writer, a mother, a wife and a health-nut. She runs Africa’s largest natural hair, wellness, and beauty community over @triciasnaturals.