Simple strategies to get more done.
6 Simple Habits That Will Make You More Productive
Your to-do list isn’t going anywhere (unfortunately). Try these tips to help you build the kind of habits that will help you actually get shit done.
1 | Set the Stage
Your environment has a huge impact on your productivity. By this point in your life, you probably know what kind of environment you work most effectively in. Loud or quiet? Pristinely organized or a little bit cluttered? Set up your space in the way that works the best for you.
Just don’t make the mistake of spending too much time getting your environment just right at the expense of actually getting shit done. Set the scene, then move on to the actual work.
2 | Work Backwards
Think about what you want to accomplish with your current project. What is your desired outcome? Make sure your goal is something concrete and specific. Once you’ve pinned down what you want at the finish line of your project, you can start thinking about the things that need to happen in order to get there.
If you want to increase your monthly Etsy sales from 10 to 100, what needs to happen in between now and then? Well, (1) you need to make a sale 100 times next month. In order to do that, (2) more than 100 people need to visit your Etsy page. To make that happen, (3) those people need to know your store exists. What do you need to do to make that happen? You get it.
Keep heading down the rabbit hole until you’ve outlined each step you need to take to reach your goal.
3| Break Down Big Tasks
You write a novel one page at a time, train for a marathon one step a time, and fall in love one day at a time. Big projects are no different. Once you’ve outlined all the steps involved in a project, break each step down into smaller chunks.
Let’s go back to your Etsy store. Say you decide your first step is to start advertising your store on Instagram. Great! Now you can break that task up into smaller pieces:
- Open an account on Instagram
- Fill out your profile
- Add your profile picture
- Share your first pieces of content
- And so on!
Don’t overcomplicate things. The point is to get more done, not to create unnecessary to-do lists to check off. Use this strategy to the extent that it helps you focus your energy and spend your time more effectively.
4 | Take Breaks
You may feel more productive working ten hours straight without a break, but you’ll be more effective (and less cranky) if you take regular breaks. If you haven’t tried the Pomodoro Technique yet, it’s a great place to start. Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a task to accomplish
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work until the timer goes off
- Take a short 5 minute break
- After 4 cycles, take a longer 15-30 minute break
This is the simple timer I like to use when I’m working, but feel free to use your phone timer if you can resist the temptation to check your Twitter feed.
5 | Stop Multi-Tasking
Multi-tasking isn’t a thing, I don’t care how good you think you are at it. Every time you stop working to check your notifications (or whatever), it takes you an average of 25 minutes to get back on task. Yes, seriously. So, when you try to “multi-task” all day long, the time you waste adds up – fast.
Do whatever you need to do to prevent distractions from getting in your way. Turn your phone off. Hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. And seriously – take breaks. The million little things clawing at you for your attention can wait until your break time rolls around.
6 | Try Task Batching
Think of an assembly line. Each person in an assembly line does one job and one job only. And what happens? They’re super efficient! No distractions or wasted time.
This is how I approach blogging now, and it’s been so helpful. Instead of trying to write, edit, add images, and promote a post all at once, I do one thing at a time. I write an entire post. That’s it. Then I go back to edit. Once the piece is edited, I add images. Once it’s published, I can start promoting the post.
Because it’s so time-consuming to switch back and forth between different types of tasks, this trick will save you so much time. Try it out and see if it improves your productivity!
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