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This article originally was published on Jan. 1, 2015.
“How can I become more productive?” is a question that will continue to always come up.
Everyone wants to get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment as each day comes to an end. There are a million different productivity tips out there, but here a five ways to increase your productivity levels that have worked wonders in my own life.
1. Arrive early, stay later
Living in a congested city such as Chicago, I have found that if I start my workday before everyone else, I can save time by beating traffic and getting to my most important tasks right away. Sitting in traffic will do nothing but frustrate you and set a negative tone for the rest of your day. The same goes for when the end of the work day rolls around.
Your ability to save these extra hours can not only increase your productivity levels drastically, but help you become one of the highest paid and most productive people in your field. Arriving early and staying a little bit later could make all the difference in the world.
2. Plan each day the night before
This is a total game changer. If you spend just 15 minutes before you go to bed the night before creating your to-do list and prioritizing it, you will have a head start on your day when the morning rolls around. After I create my to-do list, I pick the most important tasks and put a little star next to them reminding me that these are the tasks that need to be done to push me forward with achieving big goals.
3. Leave the office for lunch
This is something so small that can have such a powerful effect on how you work for the remainder of your day. Getting out of your work environment for lunch can ease stress levels, refresh your creativity and help you to re-focus for when it’s time to go back to work. I often take a short walk to clear my head and think about how I want the rest of my day to go.
4. Minimize distractions
This seems self-explanatory, but in this day and age, distractions are everywhere. If you work from a computer, as most do, there is the temptation to check social media and surf the Internet, among many other things. When it’s time to work, work! If possible, close your door and have a “do not disturb” sign hanging on the door so your co-workers know not to bother you.
Every company has those employees that love to talk about what was on TV the night before instead of actually getting important things done. Don’t let these average achievers hold you back. Set boundaries and try your very best to abide by them daily. Your ability to minimize distractions as much as possible can single handedly increase productivity.
5. Keep your goals in sight at all times
After setting extremely big and exciting goals that you want to accomplish, keep them in sight at all times. I keep a list of my goals in my phone, a note card that I carry in my pocket and in a spiral notebook. The main objective is to keep your goals in a place where you will end up seeing them many times throughout your day. When I glance down at my goals, my motivation levels to get things done goes through the roof.
Start to picture yourself as the most productive person in your field. How does it feel? What tasks are you spending the majority of your time on? What is your philosophy on personal performance? Be in competition with yourself to see how much you can get done. Have fun with it. Make it a game.
Always try to beat the person you were the day before. Keep track of your results and work every single day to be a highly productive individual and watch the small daily victories begin to transform your life.