13 Ways To be More Productive.


We live in an age of distraction.

There’s not much we can do about that.

But we can choose how we spend our hours.

Sure, we spend most of our time working, socialising, studying, exercising, cooking, eating, commuting, reading and sleeping. But we also spend our fair share watching TV and staring at our devices.

And no matter how much we love scrolling through Facebook, watching cat videos and binge-watching Netflix documentaries… our biggest complaint is not having enough time. So something’s gotta give.

Productivity means taking a long, honest look at how we’re spending our days and identifying the time- wasters (i.e. the activities that aren’t contributing to our systems).Then cutting those bad boys out.

Although there’s no magic formula for getting more hours in the day, **Zdravko Cvijetic **has a few ideas on how to eliminate procrastination and become more productive. And we should probably listen, seeing as he’s the highly respected entrepreneur behind Zero To Skill.

So here’s our take on his principles.

1. Use your time more effectively.

Work towards something.

We’ve already talked about the importance of systems, but let’s break that down a bit more. ’Cause if you’re not working towards something, it’s easy to waste time.

When it comes to putting systems in place, there are tons of guidelines (and opinions). So let’s keep things simple.

Focus on the year ahead and the main areas of your life (work, health, relationships, personal growth, travel, etc). Which areas could benefit from a system? Write them down and choose one skill that you would like to improve in each area.

Now, choose the one that’s most important to you. Then re-write the remaining in order of importance. This sets up your priorities for the entire year.

2. Define high leverage activities = improved skills.

List all of the activities that you think will help.

There is no limit. This list can be as long as you like. Then ask yourself the following question: ‘If I could only do one thing on that list all day long, which item would add the most value for my time?’

Once you’ve chosen, select a second and third task. Again, this sets your priorities.

3. Create a morning ritual.

Know how you’re going to start your day.

Your rituals should come from the activities you’ve defined above, and should also allow you some ‘you time’.

Example: If you want to improve your writing, a high leverage activity could be to write an article every week, while your daily ritual could be to write 30–60 minutes each morning.

  • Drink water (500ml) : Your body just went 6–8 hours without it.
  • Get a small win : Do something that will make you feel proud (even something as simple as making the bed).
  • Exercise : Hit the gym, do some yoga, go for a walk/jog, swim a few laps. Anything.
  • Delegate, eliminate and automate : We usually think that we need to do everything on our own. We might be able to, but we don’t have to. Out of all the activities you have to do, look at the ones that aren’t high leverage. Of those items, decide what can be delegated to someone else.

4. Block time.

Schedule a meeting with yourself. Focus on your top priority and practice your high leverage activities.You can even schedule 2–3 of these each day. Stay focused on the most important tasks.

5. Work in bursts.

Your time is best utilised when it’s broken up into bursts. The Pomodoro Technique uses this approach. Try it out. It’s a time-management tool that structures your schedule into 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of break. This will keep you relaxed, but also highly focused in those 25 minutes.

6. Get in the zone.

Everybody has their own flow. Know what gets you in the zone.

Tip: Find music that works for you, even if that means listening to the same song or playlist on repeat.

7. Bulk-up on tasks.

Dedicate one day a week to do the following:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Apartment cleaning
  • De-cluttering

8. Say no to meetings without a defined outcome.

We have way too many meetings. Each lasting 30–60 minutes. Instead of entering the pointless ones, ask what the desired outcome is.And if there isn’t one, ask to be excused until they need you to discuss your area of expertise.

9. Morning ritual first. Emails second.

Say no to email until you finish your morning ritual. This is pretty self explanatory. Also, don’t check your email more than 2 times a day.

10. Say no to things that aren’t supporting your goals.

Keep your life as simple as possible. Learn to say no. In return, you are saying yes to yourself.

11. Reward yourself.

Not every minute of your life should be planned out. After a productive week of work, reward yourself with a lazy couple of hours. Consider it a cheat day.

12. Develop a night ritual.

If you’re brave enough, try ‘Amish hour’. For the hour before you go to sleep, turn off your laptop, phone and other electronic devices.Take the time to read, write or talk.

13. Evaluate your results.

Sit down for 30 minutes at the end of each week and reflect. What was productive? Focus more on that. What wasn’t productive? Eliminate, delegate or automate.

100 oridinary people. No word limit. No specific requirements. No scripted answers.

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Sophie BradshawCreativity

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