8 Habits To Become More Productive | By Ahmed Belaid

How to become more productive? This is the question that we have all asked ourselves at least once, and for good reasons…

Behind the notion of productivity hides a promise. The promise that it is possible to reach our goals faster, to accomplish more, to use our time wisely, to be in control and organized.

For many, being more productive means getting more things done, complete more tasks, chain the hours, get up early and go to bed in a reasonable hour…

This approach indeed can work in the short term and produce good results. However, in the long term, it is a sure recipe for exhaustion and burnout. Because productivity is simply not a sprint.

Being more productive isn’t about moving full throttle on a lot of stuff, it’s about moving consistently on a handful of things that really make a good impact.

In this article, we will identify the key techniques, tips and habits to follow to be more productive on a daily basis.

Break down your big projects into small tasks

We often procrastinate when the work to be done and the efforts to be made are substantial.

Big projects such as writing a book or creating an app that require a good amount of time and effort are daunting when considered as a whole. And since we believe that they are difficult to achieve, we tend to put them off until the next day.

An effective way to avoid procrastinating is to cut our projects into smaller digestible tasks.

To write a book, for example, you can start with a very simple step: Take a sheet, write the subject of the book and summarize what it is about in a paragraph. It is that simple.

Furthermore, we are more likely to get to work when it is written on our todo list: “Write a paragraph that summarizes my book”. Rather than : “Write a book”. The idea here is therefore to pre-chew our work by defining the stages and sub-tasks of our projects to make them more accessible.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking wastes more time than it saves. A study from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research found that people who multitasked made 3 times more errors than people who focused on one thing at a time. This means that a person who multitasks will also waste more time correcting their mistakes.

When you constantly jump from one task to another, you actually waste a lot of time re-focusing. So it’s in our best interest to focus on one thing at a time to avoid mistakes and save time.

Embrace Deep-work

“A work done continuously takes less time and energy than when it is done in several times”.

To save time, it is therefore preferable to work in blocks of uninterrupted working time. The ideal is to adopt the technique of Deep Work of Cal Newport(Professor of computer science at Georgetown University.).

Deep Work involves working without any interruptions or distractions for a set amount of time and being in what is commonly referred to as “the zone”.

This not only reduces the time needed to complete our tasks or projects but also pushes our cognitive abilities to their limit. This way we can produce better work and reduce the marge of errors while improving our focusing skills.

Respect the 2-min-rule

This one is one of my favorite, it is really simple:

If a task takes us less than 2 minutes to accomplish, we must do it immediately to avoid it occupying our mind.

Typically if we open an email in which we are asked for a document, we must send it immediately because the task only takes a few seconds. This way you can quickly move on and forget about it.

Follow the 10-min-rule

The number one enemy of productivity is procrastination. When we do everything except the task we are supposed to do, we waste time and our projects fall behind.

A simple way to avoid procrastinating is to follow the 10 min rule. This rule consists of committing to work at least 10 minutes on the task on which you procrastinate and then to stop if you wish.

The goal is of course not to stop, but by giving yourself permission to do so, you have less difficulty getting to work. Once the work has started, you’ll find it easier to stay focused and continue the work.

Be intentional in your approach

“If you optimize your days, your weeks will optimize themselves” .

To be more productive throughout the year, you have to be extremely intentional about how you allocate your time on a daily basis. The mistake that should not be made is to get up in the morning and choose the tasks on which you will work on during the day.

Productivity requires being more intentional. Being intentional is deciding what you are going to work on moment by moment and focusing every day on the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of the results.

Each week, it is imperative to ask ourselves if what we are accomplishing brings us closer or further from our goal and if not, to bring our attention back to what is most important to accomplish.

Always think SMART

During the past years, I learnt this notion well. Whatever our goals, tasks and projects, we must always make sure to articulate them in a SMART way. That is to say, to ensure that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

This way, there is no room for ambiguity or confusion. We know precisely what we need to accomplish and by when we must accomplish it, which improves the quality of our actions and increases our efficiency in general.

Create an organized and healthy workspace

Our workspace plays an important role in our productivity and satisfaction. It is no coincidence that office setup videos have millions of views on Youtube. We all know how important it is to have a workspace in which we feel good and efficient... and maybe cosy.

To ensure that our office is optimal, we must make it practical and healthy. In other words, everything we need must be in a place that is easy to reach. Like our pens, sheets, notebooks or whatever else we need for work. We must also be able to find any documents in seconds. And by organizing our workspace, we can save several hours of productivity.

We must also get into the habit of staying deep in our chair and adjusting our height so that we can put our feet flat on the floor. Our screen must also be at eye level (our eyes must be at the same level as the top of our screen). And our keyboard must be close to us so that we can type without too much effort.

By following these few instructions, you are less exposed to various health problems and you are in better conditions to remain productive.

Being more productive means working smarter, not longer, and giving your best every day. Although it’s not easy, getting a task done in less time is doable if you don’t sabotage yourself with bad habits.

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