Thursday, September 4, 2014

Simple Strategies to Improve Your Productivity

Day 2 of the "28 Gifts for Resume Writers" series featured a special report, "Simple Strategies to Increase Your Productivity." (Want to get ALL the gifts? Log into your Free or Bronze account on and access it here.)

To complement that report, here are some additional productivity boosters:

  • Creating a daily to-do list can increase productivity your by 100%. 
  •  If you want to increase your productivity, establish a performance goal that inspires you to take action.
  • One habit that many highly productive people confess to is getting up earlier than others. How could you use an extra hour or two? (Sorry, I can't do this one!)
  • Find the right tools to help you achieve your daily goals. Finding ways to simplify tasks will boost productivity and improve your mindset. 
  • It’s not enough to plan to reach a goal: For maximum productivity, plan how you can maintain your success once you reach it. 
  • Make a list of the “time waster” habits in your everyday life. How can you take steps to reduce these? 
  • Important tasks are worth doing well. (“Hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur” --Evelyn Underhill) 
  • It’s important to keep up with business learning. Listen to podcasts while doing other things, if you don’t have time or to read books. 
  • Combine your personal life action list with your work action list for maximum effectiveness!
  • If you really want to be more productive, learn to say “no”. (What are three things you can start saying “no” to?) 
  • Identify distractions and replace them with new, productive habits. (What is one distraction you can eliminate right now?) 
  • Review your “to do” list at the end of the day. If you consistently don’t achieve your daily action goals, reduce the number of tasks.
  • “You can prepare all you want, but if you never roll the dice you'll never be successful” -- Shia LaBeouf 
  • To eliminate time wasted on meetings, plan them, send everyone an agenda, appoint a chairperson, and stick to your agenda. 
  • To increase productivity, eliminate reactivity. Plan at least a week ahead, using a system that you find easy and pleasant to use. 
  • When it comes to productivity, find out if it works best for you to tackle your hardest task first – or last. (Everyone is different!) 
  • To increase productivity, set time limits on meetings, phone calls, and tasks. Make note of what works and doesn’t and refine these. 
  • If you want to increase productivity, resist the urge to multi-task. Focus on one task at a time – and get each one done. 
  • Get rid of clutter to increase productivity – and this includes ruthlessly dumping negative, energy-sapping people. 
  • Take a leaf from your high school days and work on different tasks in “periods.” This technique can actually increase your productivity. 
  • Recognize that “emails aren’t letters, they’re tasks.” Respond, delete, or file accordingly.
  • If you want to motivate yourself to be more productive,  figure out what you want to "reward" yourself with -- and use it as an incentive to reach your goal!
  • Which apps do you use to boost your productivity? What’s the common denominator in why you like each one? (E.g. easy to use, visuals, etc.) 
  • Create an “Action List” – not a “chore” or “to do” list – and learn to think of it that way. The positive wording can work miracles. 
  • “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus” -- Alexander Graham Bell 
  • To increase productivity, take the initial time to learn programs or apps you use completely. E.g. explore your email capabilities. 
  • Eliminate distractions. Don’t run desktop apps that give alerts about non-productive stuff, such as the latest tweet or email. 
  • Use the power of systems and software you already have: For example, use Excel to create a time-tracking spreadsheet. 
  • If you really want to increase productivity, do small or unpleasant tasks “right now” instead of assigning them to your To-Do list. 
  • To increase productivity, identify your best money-making activities and focus more time and priority to each one. 
  • To increase productivity, work smarter by delegating, discarding, and outsourcing more tasks. 
  • Don’t just identify money-making activities to increase productivity: Pay attention to each one’s ROI. 
  • Ruthlessly eliminate procrastination habits and activities if you want to create more productivity. Do it one habit at a time. 
  • “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work” -- Stephen King, on writing productivity. 
  • “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all” -- Peter Drucker, originator of “outsourcing.”
  • Follow through and follow up are as important in increasing productivity as planning. Have you found this to be true?
  • Keep a notebook or record your ideas via your smartphone and Evernote as they occur, to make the most of creative bursts. 
  • To increase productivity, cross half the things off your To-Do list every day and highlight no more than three remaining ones as top priority. 
  • “Taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure” -- Peter Drucker, originator of the business “community” concept. 
  • Adopt taking a “power period” every day — a chunk of time in which you work on something, allowing absolutely no distraction. 
  • Schedule your “power period” for the daily time slot you notice you’re usually the most productive within (early morning, mid-morning, mid-day, early afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, late evening, late night!)
  • If "getting started" is your nemesis, schedule your “power period” for first thing in the morning (when you would usually be on Facebook!) 
  • If typing slows you down, either outsource written content or learn/brush up on your touch typing using this free resource:
  • To increase productivity, look for external distractions and remove them. Face your desk away from the window, turn off the radio, etc. 
  • Try playing classical or meditation music softly in the background. Are you one of those whose productivity increases when you do this? (This is a strategy I also recommend when you are STUCK writing a resume in "Write Great Resumes Faster")
  • When trying to streamline family life, create an Action Station in a central place where family can check schedules, post notes, etc. 
  • Answer emails you look at either straight away – or not at all. Don’t promise yourself you’ll do it “later.”
  • Track your time at least twice a year. Seeing where you waste it can help you be more productive. (Try 
  • Create routines – but make sure they work for all family members. If one isn’t working, change it (or change the time). 
  • “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before” -- Franz Kafka 

What are YOUR productivity strategies?

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