10 Kick-Ass Productivity Tricks

jumpYou want to get that essay written, that business plan finished or even start up that dream business you’ve always wanted. But you need to find all the productivity you can to get as much done as possible.

Staying productive means you’ll hit your goals more regularly. Achieving goals is a great way to stay motivated which means you’ll keep on achieving more and more.

But going back a few steps – how do you remain productive? What are the best ways to achieve as much as you can in one day?

I subscribe to the philosophy of being as productive as I can be. That way I get more done, have more time to spend on my hobbies and interests and I feel much better about myself.

So I’d like to share with you the 10 kick-ass productivity tricks I use on a daily basis to ensure I achieve maximum success.

1: Exercise

Exercise every morning. You could jog, cycle, swim, walk. It doesn’t take long (maybe 30 mins) but it gets your heart working and your blood pumping. I like to get out of bed and go straight on a jog. That way, when I get back, I’m ready for the day.

I also find it much easier to concentrate, learn and be productive when I’ve exercised in the morning. It’s like having a natural caffeine high all day (I’m not a fan of caffeine. I’d rather have natural, drug free ways to stay alert).

The other benefit about exercising every day is the win-win situation: you stay productive all day and you stay healthy. Try waking up and exercising first thing in the morning for a week – even if your not a morning person (I never used to be).

2: Be bright

I live in the United Kingdom where the weather’s pretty lousy. We don’t get a great deal of sunshine here and it’s easy to get the Winter blues. So there’s one thing I really notice when the sun’s shining; I feel way more productive.

Look at the environment where you spend most of your time working. How bright is it? Is it a dull atmosphere or a bright and vibrant atmosphere?

One way to improve your lighting is to get brighter light bulbs. Look for lighbulbs which produce near 6500K light spectrum (matches natural daylight).  The Ecozone Biobulb is a 25W energy saving bulb that’s equivalent to 100W and produces around 6400K. Perfect for making a dull room feel like it’s a midsummer’s day.

3: Goals

I’m a big fan of goals. Whether it be fitness goals (e.g. run 5k in under 20 mins) or business goals (e.g. start-up a new business venture before Christmas). Goals help your mind stay on track and guide your motivation.

Setting goals is one thing but it’s even more important to actually achieve your goals. When setting goals, I use the SMART technique. All my goals are:

  • Specific – no wishy washy nonsense. Tell yourself exactly what you’re going to do (e.g. loose 12 lbs, earn an extra $2k per month etc)
  • Measurable – I can track my progress daily or weekly so I know I’m making progress
  • Achievable - make sure your goals are in your reach. Don’t aim to run 25k if you’ve never jogged before. Start small and progress
  • Realistic – set goals which are realistic. Yes, you probably could start-up a business overnight, but how realistic are you being?
  • Time related – when are you going to achieve your goal by? Next week? Next year? Set a specific (realistic) date and commit to it

By writing SMART goals you’ll be able to achieve your goals and track your progress. There’s no better way to boost productivity when you know you’re achieving your ambitions.

4: Pomodoro

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-boxing productivity technique I came across recently. It’s a very effective technique (I even bought a Pomodoro timer off Amazon) at improving your productivity.

The concept is very simple: you work in blocks of 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. Then it’s straight back into 25 minutes again. It might sound like a silly or over simplistic way of working – but it does work.

The technique isn’t suited to everyone and all styles of working. However, it’s boosted my productivity massively – especially on boring tasks where I’d usually procrastinate.

I highly recommend the Pomodoro Technique (it’s completely free, doesn’t require any sign-ups – it’s just a time-slicing technique). The technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980′s whilst he was studying at university. Checkout the PDF version of the Pomodoro Technique here.

5: Chill

Take regular breaks from work to stay focused. This might seem like a counter-productive way to stay productive – but it works. There’s no point spending hours at a time working without a break. You’ll burn out of energy.

The Pomodoro Technique suggests taking a break every 25 minutes. Take plenty of time out for lunch and allow your body time to refuel. Also take regular days off from work as well as holidays throughout the year.

I personally find when I’m away from my computer, relaxing somewhere, I’m more creative and come up with ideas more easily. That way, when I return to work, I’m a lot more productive.

6: Think independently

Don’t get caught up with the crowd – set your own goals, control your own moods and achieve what you want to achieve. Look at who you hang out with. What goals are your peers aiming for?

It’s a harsh truth; but you become who you hang out with. It you associate with lazy, unproductive people, than you’ll struggle to be productive. As human we’re programmed to be social – we need to be around people.

Why not make the group of people you socialise with a productive, motivated, driven, goal setting group.

7: Do what you love

Ok, it’s a bit of a cliché – but it’s still very relevant. I’ve found myself working jobs in the past which I didn’t love. Tasks which really didn’t inspire me. As a result; I was very unproductive and lazy at times.

You need to be inspired by what you do. Have a desire and an urge to produce the finest, highest quality work. Never settle for any less. By doing what you love; the motivation and productivity will flow naturally.

8: Get social

Working on your own all day long can be a massive drain on productivity. Maybe you’re avoiding the lazy crowd of sheet followers – but that’s no reason to go at it completely alone.

Find people that share your passion and desire. If you want to start-up a business; find other people that want to start-up a business too. Start-up your business together, mentor each other.

Join an internet forum and join in the conversations. Use social media such as Facebook, Twiter, Google+. Surround yourself with the type of people you want to become. That way you’ll their motivation will run off onto you.

9: Sleep

After all that hard work and productivity you’ll want to sleep. However, be disciplined with your sleep schedule. Set a time for waking up, but just as importantly; set a time for going to bed.

I am for just over 8 hours of sleep per night. I’ve found it to be the optimum time for me to be most productive during the day. One key thing here is to make sure you relax and calm down at night. I have a rule of no technology one hour before bed. I like to read a book and write in my journal for an hour. Then I’m ready to fall into a nice, sothing deep sleep. My routine means I I always wake up feeling wike-awake and refreshed.

10: Stand up

My final kick-ass productivity trick is to work standing up. I’ve been doing it since about 2011 and it makes a big difference to my productivity.

I used to get easily lethargic and comfortable in my chair when I worked. So I researched the concept of working standing up and tried it. I’ve never looked back.

It takes a bit of getting used to and I have to wear something on my feet (trainers work well) to prevent sore feet! But it’s probably my favourite productivity-boosting technique which has the biggest effect. I personally like to play music and have a dance while I’m working. Yeah sure, I might look odd, but I’m getting a lot of work done and I’m enjoying it.

Final points

I wanted to keep this list to just 10 main points since I feel it’s a good number and wraps’s all the productivity tricks together. However there are two more productivity tricks which I use which are sort of ingrained into all 10 points above. Discipline and focus.

There is no magical formula for productivity. If you’re really struggling to be productive – consider why that is. Do you enjoy what you’re trying to do? Do you have a clear aim? Could you get someone to help you if you’re stuck or don’t know where to start?

But the two things which I personally think you need in order to stay productive are discipline and focus. Both of these are fairly intertwined; you need the discipline to stay focused, and staying focused helps increase discipline.

I hope that by sharing these techniques, you too can stay productive and achieve your goals.

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