There are literally hundreds of ways to improve your productivity. But if you are looking for a quantum difference where you can virtually triple your productivity, then it is necessary to use a 3-step approach. Using all 3 steps and using these simultaneously is what can produce the remarkable difference.
First of all, it is useful to remember that productivity is not about doing more work although this is sometimes necessary.
Productivity is about getting better outcomes in a shorter period of time.
Here are the 3 steps necessary to really get on a different productivity trajectory:
Step 1 – One hour for the most important task
Every day, identify the one task that just has to be done before the day ends. Start working on this and do not worry about anything else that is not an emergency. At the end of the day, if you haven’t done anything else, you have at least finished the most important task for that day.
Of course, the trick is to know what is that one task that has to be completed. Only you know that. The good news however is that once you have gotten over this one task, there is a surge in energy and focus as you decide that you might as well stay ahead of the curve on that day.
Step 2 – Avoid one distraction type every day
For many people these days, this is stuff like email, Whatsapp messages, text messages, phone calls, etc. Identify one distraction type – perhaps this is email – and on that day, treat email very differently compared to usual. You might not check your email for 2 hours at a stretch in the office – or reply to email only during certain hours. Whatever strategy you choose, it must reinforce your ability to complete Step 1 above.
Step 3 – Get away from your desk for a while
Go for a walk or just go to another room in the office to chat with a colleague for a few minutes (but do not distract them for too long!). Just distance yourself away from your computer and your smart phone. It feels good to be un-wired once in a while.