It’s a new year, a time for looking back at your previous year, and looking ahead to the next. Here are three very simple resolutions that will keep productivity high in 2014.
1. Focus on the few vital tasks
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle (a.k.a. the 80/20 rule)? It states that 80% of results come from 20% of the causes. This means that of all of your daily tasks, you will get 80% of your total daily results from those 20% of tasks.
There are tasks that bring different effects. There are high-impact tasks which, when completed, bring a substantial result, and a whole bunch that are smaller and don’t make much of a difference.
By focusing on your few vital tasks, you’re able to get more bang for your time-buck. Even better, get these vital tasks out of the way at the beginning of the day. That way you’ve hit the ground running, and have the rest of the day for whatever else you want it.
2. Fuel your body for ultimate productivity
Your body is the vehicle that takes you through your day. That’s why it’s important to keep it fueled right. By fueling your body for maximum productivity, you’re making sure that you’re ready to go, and can take on the challenges of the day. Here are some tips to fuel yourself to the max;
- Have breakfast – it’s not called the “most important meal of the day” for nothing. Breakfast will help spring your metabolism into action, and will start you out with a healthy dose of energy. This is the meal that will be carrying you through the day.
- Drink water – our bodies are made up of about 60% water. You need water to think straight, to rehydrate, avoid headaches. Tip: when you’re feeling a dip in your daily energy, grab a glass of water in stead of coffee!
- Don’t skip lunch – often people will think they’re being more productivity if they “work through lunch”. But really people who skip lunch are x% more likely to suffer from stress and cardiac arrest, which certainly isn’t productive. Do everyone a favor and make sure to make time for lunch.
3. Identify and minimize time-sucks
We all have our vices. There’s always something that sucks the time out of your day. It could be constant chatter from your colleagues that pulls you away from your work, or that itch to check your Facebook for updates. For me, by taking a quick glance at my DeskTime profile, I can see that the majority of my time is taken by email. Unnecessarily.
Sound familiar? There are solutions to everything. If your work time is constantly interrupted by co-workers, throw some head phones on. It’s the universal sign for “I’m in the zone, don’t bother me”. If it’s checking your social media accounts, then schedule social browsing time during the day and block it with this app called SelfControl for the rest of the time (remember, breaks are important to have!).
The solution to the over-zealous email checking could be to limit yourself to, say, checking once per hour. That’s absolutely enough, and no one is going to die if their email isn’t responded to within minutes.
Why is it so important to cut out your major time-suck of the day? Because it will free up time to focus on the vital tasks (remember resolution nr. 1?), giving you the opportunity to become an exponentially more productive person.
Give it a try, kick off the new year with a fresh productivity start, and let us know what your productivity resolutions are in the comments!