The key to becoming more productive with your time is to concentrate your efforts on the task at hand. So how do you begin to concentrate your efforts? The key is to eliminate distractions.
Distractions come from two sources. The first source is outside things, such as phone calls, emails, interruptions from other people and so on. Pick a time when you feel at your peak, and sequester yourself, for a period of time each day, to give yourself a real boost in productivity. Develop your own methods to “hide” from the outside world, for a period of time each day, and you will see your output grow.
The second source of distractions comes from within. Unfortunately, this is the hardest source of distractions to control. It is hard to shut yourself off from yourself. . The key culprit for us is multitasking. Many studies have been done at this point, that show multitasking reduces productivity, instead of increasing it. Our minds can only hold one thought at a time, and switching tasks causes us to lose focus and momentum, and forces our mind to play “catch-up” over and over again. To become more productive, you must master the art of focusing on one thing at a time and give it your best effort and attention, until it is done. If boredom sets in while you are working on your task, give yourself a SHORT break, and remind yourself of what the ultimate objective is for what you are working on and what the payoff is to you.
You need to make sure the task you pick to concentrate on, is in fact your highest priority item. Many of us fall into the trap of staying busy, vs. staying productive. One task may clear mountains of paperwork off your desk ,or you might be better served by moving just one piece of high priority/high payback paper. Use the 80/20 rule to help find the true “gems” in your inbox. The 80/20 rule says that 80% of the gains you receive, come from 20% of your efforts. Find out what that 20% of high payoff project are and make sure you concentrate on accomplishing them first.
And of course don’t forget the basics of time management. Say no to as many projects as you can to help streamline your workload. Try to “cherry pick” projects you know in advance hold high payback potential and try to pass on lower priority projects. Also delegate as much lower payback activity as possible. Calculate the value of your time and try to delegate low value activities, even if you have to pay someone. It is money well spent.
Increased productivity is as close as your next thought. Remember everything counts. Every action you take as well as those actions you don't take can help you move towards your goal of increased productivity. Constantly remind yourself of your need to be more productive and discipline yourself to do the right thing. Don't beat yourself if you have a setback, but be certain to reward yourself in someway, for each action that moves
your productivity up a notch.