Wishing that you could get more done in a given day? I feel that way every single day. I’m not just a lawyer; I’m also a business owner. So in any given day, I deal with clients, opposing counsel, court clerks, software issues, marketing, accounting, employees and management, vendors, etc. on top of writing my briefs and appearing in court.
I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get more done with less effort. (I gave up trying to invent slowing down time.) I’ve read a lot of articles and tried a lot of things. Here is the summary of the best advice out there. I’ll be honest, though, I don’t always follow all of these (specifically, I don’t exercise enough and I could eat better, too). But I have found all of them to be effective.
Here are ten tips that will help you dramatically boost your productivity.
Productivity Booster Number One-Sleep
Somehow people started believing that sleep, one of the most basic of all body functions, is optional. Sleep is one thing in your life that truly is mandatory. When you skip sleeping, stress hormones are released and you not only feel worse, but also weaken your immune system. Studies also show that sleep-deprived people perform worse than drunk people on cognitive tasks.
Productivity Booster Number Two-Hire a Virtual Assistant
Tired of trying to handle it all yourself? Think carefully about the tasks that you need to handle in a given day, and then decide which of those tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant. Even if you have an assistant at work, hiring a “virtual personal assistant” can be valuable. This person can take care of the tasks that are not important enough to merit your time or attention. I have experimented a lot with services like oDesk and found an outsourcing system that works well for me.
Productivity Booster Number Three-Turn Off Your Phone
This is my favorite one, although I know that it annoys a lot of people who want my attention. But if you want to feel less burnt out, put your phone down and forget about it. Take calls on a schedule so that you aren’t constantly interrupted or tapping on your apps. All of the social media sites and email messages can wait until later. You might even want to consider a social media “fast” where you go a full 30 days without checking in. According to a study done by polling firm Ipsos, if you are between 18-35 years old, you spend 4.2 hours on social media sites each day. Those between 35-49 spend 3.1 hours a day. These numbers quickly reveal that checking Facebook and Twitter is a major “time suck.”
Productivity Booster Number Four-Cancel Cable
I admit it. I’m one of those annoying people who hasn’t had cable TV in years and watches very little Netflix and even fewer movies. But that’s because most of what is on television is worthless or upsetting. Canceling cable will help you dramatically reduce the amount of television you consume and, in the process, boost your overall productivity (and mental health — you do not need that 24 hour news cycle to be an informed person).
Productivity Booster Number Five-Improve Your Diet
Junk food is bad for your body. Sugar has been scientifically proven to damage DNA. Processed foods are usually calorie rich while being nutrient light. If you want to feel better, then reboot your diet so that you are eating food that is fresh and nutritient dense. I feel noticeably better when I cut out the sugar and eat more vegetables.
Productivity Booster Number Six-Get Fresh Air and Water
How you feel links to your productivity. Drinking plenty of fresh, purified water is a savvy step for those looking to feel better and, in the process, boost energy levels. I struggle to get enough water, but when I do, I don’t need any coffee. Likewise, indoor air can be stale, germ or dust ridden or more polluted than outdoor air. So open a window or get outside.
Productivity Booster Number Seven-Exercise
Exercise helps to reduce stress hormones and calm the mind. Getting more exercise will boost your energy levels and do so quickly. Combining a healthy diet with more exercise will change how you feel dramatically.
Productivity Booster Number Eight-Reflection
When it comes to being more productive, you should always invest the time to reflect on your habits. Taking the time to access your performance and look for ways to improve your day-to-day life will result in a new perspective and an increase in productivity. Also, a quiet and calm mind is better able to focus and therefore get more done.
Productivity Booster Number Nine-Be Accountable
When it comes to boosting productivity, it is necessary to be accountable. Who holds you accountable? If the answer is no one, then you have a problem. In order to achieve your goals, it is wise to reveal them to someone you trust who if possible is accomplishing something in his or her life. Knowing that you have to explain your actions, or lack of actions, can make a tremendous difference.
Productivity Booster Number Ten-Find a Mentor
A good mentor can be nothing short of invaluable. A mentor will help find mistakes that you yourself will never catch and give you great advice at the same time!
By following these ten productivity boosters, you will see in change. Dramatic shifts in productivity might not happen overnight, but if you do implement these ten changes, you will certainly have more time and more energy.