Productivity Tips to Unleash Your Potential
Learning how to maximize your productivity is a critical life skill. It determines how well you perform your job. It allows you to consistently check off the most intimidating items on your to-do list. And most importantly, productivity is one of the most essential skills for success—no matter what your goals may be.
Productivity isn’t about how much you get done. If you’re productive, it means that you consistently get important things done each day. So, productivity is actually a measure of efficiency.
Of course, being productive is easier said than done. Unless you use the right strategies that is. That being said, here’s a list of the best strategies you can use to maximize your productivity.
Follow Pareto’s Law
Vilfredo Pareto was a famous Italian economist who was popularized by the 80/20 principle, or Pareto’s Law (1). It’s also known as the “law of the vital few” as it shows that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This applies to nearly all aspects of life, including:
- 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
- 80% of a company’s growth come from 20% of their marketing efforts.
- 80% of your fitness progress comes from 20% of your exercises.
While the ratio may change slightly, the concept always holds true: most of your results come from a small portion of your efforts.
To apply this to your productivity, breakdown your daily tasks. Identify which of these tasks are producing the most results and which tasks provide the fewest results. Once you figure this out, this is where the magic happens.
Shift your focus to the tasks that matter most and eliminate (or reduce) those that just burn time. This, in turn, can skyrocket your productivity and success.
If you’re having trouble with this one, ask yourself this: If I only had 2 hours a day to work, what would I do?
Eat Your Frog
A French writer by the name of Nicolas Chamfort famously said that if you eat a live frog first thing each morning, you can go through the day knowing that you have already faced the worst thing that will probably happen (2).
Of course, you don’t need to eat a frog to maximize your productivity. Rather, the “frog” represents your biggest and most important task for the day.
This is the task that can have the greatest impact on your day. It’s often the goal that triggers procrastination.
When you “eat your frog” first thing in the morning, it sets your day up for productivity. Everything you do following your most daunting task will naturally seem easier, giving your day momentum.
The Ivy Lee Method
The Ivy Lee method expands upon the practice of “eating your frog” but the key distinction is that it sets the stage for success the day before.
Although it’s quite simple, the Ivy Lee Method can be an incredible tool for productivity (3). Here’s how it’s done:
- At the end of your work day, spend 15 minutes identifying 5 or 6 important tasks you must get done the next day.
- Write down your 5 or 6 items, from most important to least important.
- When you start your day, concentrate on only the first task (this is your frog).
- Work until the first task is completed, then move on to the next task.
- If you have any uncompleted tasks at the end of your day, add them to the next day’s list.
- Rinse and repeat.
This strategy works in a couple of ways. It forces you to prioritize the tasks that matter most and it also calls for intense focus to see the task through. This allows you to avoid multitasking, a surefire killer of productivity.
Meditate to Manage Stress
Anyone can work hard when they are motivated. But what about when you’re facing a huge challenge, boredom or crushing stress?
Meditation is the secret to bringing your productivity to new heights.
A daily meditation practice helps improve your willpower, reduce stress levels and train you to live in the moment. This is important for your productivity for several reasons.
With improved willpower, you can resist procrastination and maintain consistency. Living in the moment will also help you enjoy even the boring tasks that often get in the way of your goals.
Meditation also helps you connect to your emotions and manage your response to stressful situations. This helps you persevere even when things aren’t easy.
To get these kind of results, however, experts suggest that you meditate at least 10, ideally 20 minutes a day (4). And much like productivity, consistency is paramount.
As you can imagine, your level of productivity can have a huge impact on your life. Master it, and you can be unstoppable in your career and life goals. Pass it off as unimportant, and you may look back in a few years with some regrets.