3 Simple But Proven Ways to Become More Productive

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There is absolutely no shortage of time-management practices and experts out there promising to increase your productivity levels. And, certainly, we all aspire to be more productive, feel more accomplished and ultimately achieve greater success than ever before.

Unfortunately, though, simply wanting these things or reading a time-management book by a favorite author is a small part of the equation and will get you only so far.

In order to truly become a more productive individual and accomplish more of what matters most, you must minimize distractions, instill new habits and have a great deal of self-discipline.

I believe that many of the problems we run into when it comes to maximizing our productivity stem from overcomplicating things — and those complications usually end up decreasing our productivity. I want to share with you three things that have worked exceptionally well for me when it comes to minimizing distractions and drastically elevating my productivity levels.

These three things are simple and straightforward but pack an incredible punch. As Stephen Covey once said, “What is common sense isn’t common practice.”

1. Cut out phone and email first thing in the morning.

At first, this daily practice, which has since blessed my life with an enormous amount of peace, happiness and focus, was hard for me to implement into my life. For the longest time, my morning ritual had consisted merely of turning over and grabbing my phone in order to open my email and check social media.

When you pick up your phone first thing in the morning, however, and dive deep into your inbox and check social media, you end up neglecting the most important thing: yourself. For the first two hours of each day, I make it a priority to leave my phone in a separate room. I go to work on myself first and foremost by getting in a great workout, reading for 20 minutes, meditating and then beginning to tackle my biggest task for the day. Only after all of those things are complete do I allow myself to check my phone.

2. Work in time blocks. 

This one may seem extraordinarily simple, but the profound difference it has made in my life is incredible. We live in a world that is full of constant distraction. Each and every one of us is getting pulled in a million different directions, all vying for our energy and attention. When you work in time blocks, though, you are forcing yourself for the next 20, 30, or 50 minutes to work on whatever project or task that is in front of you and not doing anything else.

No phone, no Facebook-checking: just you and your highly valuable project or task that must get finished. I personally work in 50-minute time blocks throughout the day, but you should feel free to implement whatever works best for you and your schedule. I personally haven’t found a more efficient way to eliminate distractions and get big things done than working in time blocks.

3. Utilize the power of breaks throughout your day.

The way I used to conduct myself was to work hard for long hours while never stopping to take a break. By the time I got home and went to bed, however, I would wake up the next morning not even knowing what had happened the previous day. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you’ll find that working hard and putting in long hours is mandatory at some point in your career, to get to where you want to go.

But this shouldn’t come at the expense of completely burning yourself out. When my 50-minute timer goes off, and I am working on an important project or task, I stand up and do one of three things.

I either take a walk outside for 10 minutes, practice deep breathing for 10 minutes or perform some type of stretching routine before I return back to work. Just a 10- or 15-minute break doing one of these three things helps me to release whatever tension has been built up and develop a new focus for when it’s time to work again.

Whether you take a walk, practice deep breathing or perform stretches is entirely up to you. The most important thing is that multiple times throughout the day, you should take a break from your work and find different ways to recharge and come back even stronger.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

5 Ways to Drastically Increase Your Productivity

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Regardless of how successful they already are, most entrepreneurs and business leaders would like to become more productive and efficient. Of course, the busy-ness of running a company and managing others can create a great amount of stress, which leads to exactly what we don’t want: decreasing productivity levels.

Here are 5 proven ideas and strategies for increasing your productivity that have tremendously benefited my life as well as the hundreds of thousands of people that I speak to each and every year.

1. Use your calendar to your advantage.

Most people use their calendar as a tool to simply remember birthdays and special events, but this is greatly undermining the true power that your calendar can serve to increase your productivity. A simple strategy that can work absolute wonders is to schedule your major tasks for the day. That’s right, don’t just create a to-do list of all the things you have to do the next day, but time block all of your most important tasks and projects that need to get done. The saying, “What gets scheduled gets done” holds an incredible amount of truth to it. Give it a try.

2. Plan your day in advance.

Sounds like such a simple thing to do and a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people who wake up in the morning without a plan of action for the day ahead. Planning your day in advance helps you to get a good nights rest as you no longer have to stay up all night trying to remember all of the things that you have to get done the next day. It also helps you to wake up passionate and excited to attack your day as you already know exactly what you have to do instead of pondering and wasting precious time trying to make a plan.

3. Perfect your morning routine.

Perfecting your morning routine is crucial for you to take your productivity to the next level and set yourself up for a massively successful day. How we start our day is a great indicator on how the rest of our day is going to go. Most of the successful people I’ve met have, at some point, brought up their morning routine and how much it meant to them. Find something that works for you and start scheduling it in your calendar. An example of what mine looks like is getting a great workout in first thing in the morning, then reading an inspirational/uplifting book for 15-20 minutes, meditating, taking a look at my daily and yearly goals, and then writing in my gratitude journal. Get serious about your morning routine!

4. Develop a sense of urgency.

A lack of urgency hinders so many people from not only increasing their productivity levels, but also from reaching their full potential and achieving their biggest goals and dreams. I have written down on a notecard, “DO IT NOW!” that I take with me everywhere I go and I look at this notecard anytime I notice that I’m second guessing myself or procrastinating on a certain task or project. When I glance down at this notecard, it instantly reminds me the power of taking action and moving forward with a sense of urgency. Create a trigger for yourself that works for you. Whether it’s writing a reminder on a notecard or in your notes section on your smartphone, try to constantly remind yourself to get moving.

5. Become obsessed about limiting distractions.

We live in such a noisy and distracting world that if you don’t make an intentional effort to limit the amount of distractions when it’s time to work, it’s a guarantee that your productivity will take a hit. A typical day for a huge majority of the population consists of logging onto their computer first thing in the morning, checking their Facebook, sending out a few emails, taking a coffee break, chatting with coworkers, and then getting some tedious work done for the rest of the day. Keep breaks to a minimum, limit the chatter with co-workers, and stop searching the internet when it’s actually time to get some meaningful work done.

Originally Posted on Fortune.com