5 Proven Practices for Increasing Your Productivity

5 Proven Practices for Increasing Your Productivity

5 Proven Practices for Increasing Your Productivity

Personal productivity is often seen as a key factor in how we measure success. Who doesn’t judge themselves (and others) by how much they accomplish in a given day?

Many professionals feel the pressure to work harder, faster, and smarter than the rest—but productivity and efficiency aren’t cultivated through non-stop work. Nor is it possible to juggle everything without dropping something.

There are some simple tactics anyone can use to keep making those gains and strategizing your work to be as efficient and productive as possible. These five proven practices can help you better organize your day, get more done, and achieve greater goals.

Create Priority Task Lists With Time Limits

Ditch your to-do list in favor of a priority task list, which gives you a more precise look at what you need to get done and the time you’ll need to accomplish it. The goal is to not only prioritize your tasks, but set realistic time limits, so you have an hour-by-hour schedule of your work day and you always know what you need to do next. Sometimes an assignment or project may take longer than you budgeted for – that’s fine, life isn’t always a race. But if you’re aware that you are going over your allotted time for a project, you can make conscious decisions about how to redistribute the rest of your day. This way you’ll know early on if you either need to shave off time devoted to other things, or make adjustments to your schedule.

Take Yourself off the Grid, or Go “Low Grid”

Nothing says “distraction” like internet access and social media alerts. Going completely off the grid sounds great, but if hiding out in a log cabin isn’t your thing, try going “low grid” by restricting your internet access, or at least limiting yourself to only pertinent websites. And if turning off your smart phone sends you into a cold sweat, comprise by putting your mobile devices on “airplane mode” or limit yourself to only receiving phone calls and text messages during work hours. You may find that setting electronic and social media constraints can boost your ability to tackle a grueling job or stay on task for an important.

Realize Multitasking Is a Pipe Dream

True multitasking is not attainable for most of us. Instead of getting more done, we are less efficient and more prone to errors – or at least that’s the case for 98 percent of us. Studies show that if your attention isn’t focused on the task at hand, you’re probably producing mediocre work and missing important details and information. (Unless you’re part that tiny percentage who are “super taskers,” whose performance doesn’t deteriorate as you take on more tasks.) For the rest of us, multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40 percent, because we’re not truly doing more things at once, we’re switching our attention between one task to another. Each time we shift our focus, our brain has to recalibrate to the new task, making mistakes more likely.

Start With the Simplest Solution

We all want our work to be flawless, but putting that kind of pressure on yourself can lead to an “analysis-paralysis” where you keep going over a problem, looking for the perfect solution. Excellence is important, but it may not realistic, especially on the first try. Sometimes you just need to get to the “good enough for now” answer so you can move on to the next thing. Remember that progress is incremental. You have to start somewhere so you can get feedback and keep moving forward. Instead of seeking perfection, start with the simplest solution. Begin with the best you can do and build on that.

Give Your Brain a Boost With Downtime

If you are anything like most corporate Americans, you perpetually devote much of your brainpower to work. And yet, as counterintuitive as it may seem, building in downtime will make you more industrious. Like everything else in your body, your brain works best when you are rested and relaxed. A harried and stressed out mind is unfocused, less creative, and does a poor job of absorbing information. This is why it’s key to build in breaks throughout your day and take time to decompress, take a walk or even meditate. Think of mental downtime as giving your brain the space it needs to compose itself, so you can be on your game when the frenzy hits the fan.

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Accompany (accompany.com) is a relationship intelligence platform for professionals that was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Los Altos, California. Available for mobile, the web, and as a Gmail extension, Accompany’s intelligent, adaptive chief of staff app serves professionals everything they need to know about the important people in their network, anytime they need it. Accompany is funded by CRV, Cowboy Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, and Ignition Partners, and led by Amy Chang, Matthias Ruhl, and Ryan McDonough.