How To Be Highly Productive
We all have multiple things we need to get done each day. It’s hard to stay productive when there is so much to do and so many different distractions with barely enough time in the day.
Keep a distraction list
Often when I’m working, ideas and thoughts will pop into my head for a blog post or a bill I need to pay. While these ideas are important and require attention, they just don’t require attention right now. In order to be productive, you need to have a one-track mind most of the time and having a distraction list whether it be a piece of paper or a Google Doc, to jot down distractions has proven to be helpful.
Follow the 80/20 rule
Another way to prioritize tasks comes from the 80/20 principle.
Discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 rule states that in any pursuit 80 percent of the results will come from 20 percent of the efforts.
To maximize efficiency, highly productive people identify the most important 20 percent of their work. Then, they look at ways to cut down the other 80 percent of their schedule, to find more time for the things that make the biggest impact.
Begin working no matter how you feel
People wanting to become more productive often talk about needing to get inspired or motivated. Highly productive people instead focus on getting started — whether they are motivated or not.
In her classic book Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott gives this advice to aspiring writers: look through a one-inch picture frame.
What does that mean?
It means that you don’t need to tackle everything at once. When you are having trouble getting motivated, it’s often because you are looking at the massive scope of a project.
That’s intimidating. It’s hard to get started when faced with the enormity of a task.
Lamott tells writers not to worry about inspiration or motivation. Just start writing in the smallest possible way. Even if you need to start by describing your own shoes, getting words — any words — on the page is the first step.
The same applies to your work — even if you’re not a writer.
If you feel overwhelmed or find yourself procrastinating, look through a one-inch picture frame. Start doing something — like breaking the task into smaller chunks — and you’ll find it easier to keep going.
Taking action is what leads to motivation, which in turn leads to more action. Highly productive people don’t wait for motivation — they start working and the motivation follows.
The most efficient people aren’t necessarily brilliant — they’ve just found strategies to beat procrastination