Free up more time by working more effectively.
We live in an age of distraction.
If you can master your focus and optimize your productivity, you can get done in 2–3 hours what most people take a whole day to do. Optimizing your productivity is one of the best ways to improve your life, because you will free up so much time. The challenge is staying productive when so many things are vying for your attention.
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Here are 7 strategies you can use to optimize your focus and skyrocket your productivity.
1. Keep your to-do list between 3–5 tasks
Most people have to-do lists that are miles long.
And so they never actually get to the end of them. In fact, they often just keep growing.
If you have more things on your daily to-do list than you can complete in a day, it’s too long.
You need to keep a short and doable list of high-priority, high-leverage tasks each day.
Look at your current to-do list and identify which items you actually need to do, and then get rid of (or delegate) the rest.
Stay focused on your high-impact items.
2. Plan your week each Sunday
You need to get into the habit of planning out your week before the week starts if you want to lead a productive life.
This doesn’t need to take long — it can simply be 5–10 minutes planning what needs to get done the next week and on what days you’re going to do each of these tasks.
Bonus tip: Plan out your workouts and meals too. Determine where in your week you’ll have time to hit the gym and when you’ll be able to cook.
You’ll be significantly more productive starting the week with a clear and specific game plan.
3. Plan each day the night before
Similar to planning your week before it starts, you should also plan your day before it starts.
Again, this only takes a few minutes. But it will make you significantly more productive when you sit down to work in the morning.
Write out your 3–5 to-dos and any other important tasks, meetings, or events. Block time out on your calendar for each of these so you know when and for how long you’ll be working on them.
4. Prioritize sleep
You can’t be productive if you’re not sleeping properly.
You need to ensure you’re getting adequate rest on a nightly basis so that when you wake up in the morning, you’re ready to tackle the day.
You need to allow an absolute minimum of 8 hours of sleep opportunity per night (i.e., from when you get into bed to when you get out of bed), but ideally closer to 9.
In the morning, you need to:
Get daylight exposure
Move your body
In the evening you need to:
Avoid screens and overhead lights after sunset
Avoid food, drinks, and alcohol 2 hours before sleeping
You Don’t Need to Sleep More. Focus on Sleeping Better
5. Walk more
Walking is a great tool for productivity.
So many of the best thinkers in history walked for hours on a daily basis. There are many ways in which a walk will improve your productivity levels:
Increased blood flow to the brain for better thinking
Time outside and away from screens for the default mode network to work — allowing you to think bigger picture and allowing your brain to make novel connections
Effective rest periods (if you don’t rest often enough, your productivity will suffer — you need breaks)
6. Dedicate specific times for checking emails and social media
If you don’t place boundaries on your email and social media use, they will easily flood into your entire day.
You need short and specific times to check your email and use social media.
DO NOT have your email open all day long. You’ll get distracted by every single email that comes in, which will take your mind off the task at hand and will significantly impair your productivity.
Schedule email and social media in 10–15 minute blocks throughout the day. Use the minimum number needed to get your job done.
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7. Put all devices on ‘Do not disturb’ mode
Similar to the point above, you don’t want notifications distracting you all day long.
You need to either put your phone in another room, turn it off, or at a very minimum, turn off all notifications.
You must also turn off all notifications on your laptop or computer. You might think you’re not getting distracted, but as soon as you see that you have a notification, it’ll open a loop in your mind and you’re going to be much less efficient.
Contributed by Ashley Richmond
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