Have you ever struggled to stay productive when you are working long hours? Have you ever struggled to stay motivated when you feel overworked and exhausted? Do you want to work less and maximise productivity? In this blog post, I will share eight simple strategies that help me stay productive and motivated.
Strategy 1. Prioritise the most important tasks (the 80/20 rule)
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g. “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients”. Spend 20% of your day (which is approximately 4hours) doing the most important tasks. Work smarter and not harder.
Strategy 2: Work from different locations
How do professional pianists learn so many piano pieces within a month or two? They do something called ‘concentrated practise.’ Concentrated practise is when you work on a small section of a piece until you get it under control. Let’s say that there are 20 pages in a piano piece, pianists will focus on a few pages of each piece they are working on in each 2 hour practise session. Students who participate in piano competitions and regular public performances are expected to practise 2 hours daily. Why do I say all of this? If I use this strategy in our work life, then we can break up a large project we are working on into smaller projects that we can manage in a few hours. A change of location can do wonders for your productivity and creativity.
I like taking photos of my work set up at each new location. Below are some of my photos I have taken over the last two weeks.
Strategy 3: Take a break
When your body starts running low on energy, your concentration is the first thing to go. I love sipping on tea as I work and teach because it is the only ‘healthy way’ I found to keep me calm and relaxed all day. Your body is made up of 60% water so remember to keep hydrated throughout the day. I usually take a 5 minute break every hour and try to eat a small meal every three hours to keep my energy levels up.
Strategy 4. Enjoy some good food
I love rewarding myself with good food after working long hours. I try to go to a nice café once a week and have a nice fancy dinner once every few months. I like trying new things and don’t usually order the same dish or drink twice. Life is short, so try a different dish every time you are at the same restaurant and try a new restaurant more often. Good food is my form of motivation and it can be your motivation too.
Strategy 5. Audio books
Listen to Audio books while you are on the go. A friend of mine introduced me to motivational and self-development audio books two years ago and that changed my life completely. I had a thirst for knowledge but was time poor to feed my brain with the knowledge I wanted. If you are always on the go then definitely give audio books a try.
Strategy 6. Plan your week ahead on Sunday evening
Plan out your week before you go to bed every Sunday evening. I try to get in eight to nine hours sleep on Sunday night to help get my mind and body well rested to tackle the busy week ahead. Always schedule in one sleep in day a week where you don’t need to set the alarm. Your body will thank you for it !
Strategy 7. Stock up your fridge every two weeks.
There’s nothing more distracting than having nothing to eat in the fridge when trying to get stuck into the day’s tasks. Check to make sure that you have food to last a week or two and make a list of the missing items that you can buy on the way home from work. I don’t usually have a designated grocery shopping day. I only do grocery shopping during on my way home from work or during my teaching breaks. Sounds simple but this will save you a lot of time, and will give you more time to be productive.
Strategy 8. Smiling is a great way to help increase productivity
Smile to improve your health, your stress level, and your attractiveness. We are attracted to people who smile. We want to know and associate with happy people. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away, but a smile draws them in. Smiling people appear more approachable, confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to develop strong networks and powerful business relationships. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently. Your productivity increases when you attract more people to help you achieve your goal.
“Smiling irritates those who wish to destroy you. Use your smile to change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile. “- Anonymous