How would you rate your productivity? This can be a difficult thing to gage. If you’re like me, your attention is given freely to many different things. There always seems to be a distraction that pulls me away from what I should be focusing on.
In fact, as I type this blog, I am fighting the deep urge to click on my email or check my Facebook.
Productivity is one of the most essential elements in our work life. It can make or break careers; launch or destroy businesses. Here are 4 things I do in order to regain focus and boost my efficiency.
1. Write Your Goals Down
The best way to be productive is have something you’re working toward. However, simply stating that you want to boost your productivity isn’t going to cut it. You have to be detailed and put it in writing.
Writing your goals down requires you to focus both mentally and physically on the goal. The act of writing will increase your chances of remembering your goal. Have you ever tried to wing it at the grocery store without a list? Trust me, I’ve been there. Even though I was only picking up a few things, I would still end up aimlessly wandering the aisles trying to remember what I was supposed to buy.
Come up with a 90-day goal and write it down. It can be something you’re trying to complete at work or in your personal life. Be as specific as possible when writing this goal. For example, my current 90-day goal is to create an online course over my 5 keys to winning with money.
Once you have your 90-goal, it’s time to create small weekly goals. These goals should somehow take you closer to your 90-day goal. My short-term goals this week are to create the course outline and begin putting together lesson 1. Choose 2-3 attainable things you could do to take those small steps closer to achieving your big goal.
2. Schedule your Priorities Instead of Prioritizing your Schedule
You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference?” While these two things may look the same, they are actually very different.
Prioritizing your schedule comes in the form of to-do lists or checklists. While these aren’t a bad thing (I use them from time to time), they can often leave the important tasks incomplete. Whenever I use a to-do list, I tend to start with the easier tasks and avoid the bigger ones. This means if I don’t finish my list, those bigger tasks get neglected.
Scheduling your priorities looks different. Take those short term goals you created and schedule them into your week. Set aside enough time as specific points in your day to focus solely on that. If one of your goals is to write a blog post, block off an hour or two on Monday morning to only work on that. Scheduling these items prevents them from being left behind.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
This is a common saying that I had heard for years before I truly knew what it meant. However, once I figured it out, it completely changed how I manage my time.
In education, it is so easy to get distracted with the never ending list of tasks in front of you. There are always papers to be graded, lessons to plan, and paper to cut. Work smarter, not harder basically means to focus your attention on the quality of the hours you’re working instead of the quantity.
I quickly learned I could accomplish a lot and still do my job well (if not better) without spending hours in my classroom after school. The content that I was teaching was my priority. Once I realized this, I could ask myself, “Is what I’m working on now essential to the content?” If it wasn’t, then I pushed it aside to focus on something that was.
This works in any career field. Are those emails pertinent to the task at hand? Is the claim your handling as time sensitive as another one? Will the task you’re focused on help your team reach their goals? If the answer to these is no, find a smarter way to spend your time.
4. How Does This Connect to Finances?
I know, I know; this is a personal finance blog. So what does this have to do with money? The answer is simple:
Increased Productivity = Increased Income
The more productive you are the more money you’ll make. Once you start setting goals and scheduling your priorities, you will start achieving more. This makes you more valuable to your company. When your value increases, your pay increases with it.
For my self-employed friends, you already know that your earning potential is up to you. When you are more purposeful with your time, you can generate more opportunities for income. Whether you’re improving your product to make it more desirable, or enhancing your marketing in order to sell more, your time is directly linked to your income.
Boosting your productivity does have a side effect; it gives you more time to do the things you love. Once your work hours become more focused, you will naturally start working less hours. This means you have more time to enjoy that money you work so hard for.
Challenge: How can you implement these ideas into your work day?
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