Everybody wants to be more productive. Head down to the local bookstore and you will find a ton of books, search online and you will find thousands of YouTube videos that explain various tricks and techniques.
Then you ask yourself, “Why is it that Richard Branson can run a multi-billion dollar company, yet you struggle to get through your emails before lunch?” After all, we all have 24 hours a day to go about our daily tasks.
In this article, I am going to share with you top things I had to let go of to become a productivity ninja:
1. Poor diet
A bad diet can hamper your productivity a lot more than you think. Whilst fast food may feel like the only option when you’re working late into the night with your team, think again. There are a number of foods that are scientifically proven to increase focus and brain power.
Start your day with a smoothie, add in as many superfoods as possible and keep 2 liters of glass bottled water next to your desk. This will ensure that you remain hydrated throughout the day which is scientifically proven to positively affect your decision making. By having the bottle next to you, it is a constant reminder that you should be drinking at least that amount throughout the work day.
2. Bad sleep patterns
A good sleep pattern is crucial if you want to perfect the art of productivity. If you go to bed at 3 am every morning, how do you expect to be at your productive best when 9 am rolls around?
Sleep experts suggest sleeping for at least 7 hours which s crucial for problem-solving, focus and memory recall. If you are a light sleeper, invest in blackout blinds. Use ear plugs if you live in a loud city center apartment. The extra sleep will provide wonders for you and your business.
3. Push notifications
Yes, that’s right, those beloved notifications that we have trained our brain to be on the alert for. Bin them immediately. A recent Gallup poll found that more than 50 percent of Americans keep their smartphone near them during all waking hours.
Over 50 percent said they check their smartphone every few hours and 11 per cent said they check every few minutes. This has a dramatic effect on your productivity. By disabling those pesky notifications, you will be in the right mind frame to tackle the tasks you had originally planned to do.
4. Doing everything yourself
As a startup founder myself, I know how tempting it is to complete tasks yourself, rather than wait for a colleague. After all, you can get the task done in 5 minutes, right? Why wait for someone else?
This is an easy mindset to get into, but you should drop it immediately. Richard Branson attests to the fact that without successfully delegating he would never have got Virgin off the ground.
Whether you can do a better job than your employee or get the file sent over to the client quicker — it is not your job. You need to focus on the bigger picture. Empower your employees, learn to delegate effectively and trust them. After all, how else are they supposed to become better at their jobs?
5. Social networks
The number one time waster of modern society — social networks. The countless days, weeks and months we spend scrolling through news feeds will make you want to cry.
Last year, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the average person spends 50 minutes a day across Facebook’s suite of apps. Let’s not forget that this isn’t 50 minutes solid time, this is multiple interruptions throughout the work day. It takes approximately 25 minutes to return back to the level of focus you had previous to being distracted.
Just think of what else you could have done in that time? Over the course of a year, you could have written that book you’ve always wanted to write or learned that new language you promised yourself you would give a try.
Whilst there is no need to remove social networks altogether, limit your time on them to one session a day. If you lack self-control, no problem. Just download SelfControl — a free Mac app that lets you block specific websites for up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, Offtime (iOS, Android) helps users unplug by blocking apps like Facebook and games and filtering communications.
6. ‘Always on’ mentality
Answering work emails on your personal phone, taking client calls late into the evenings, finishing up a proposal whilst you sit on the beach on holiday, sound familiar? This may help you achieve short-term goals, but in the long run, you’re going to crash and burn out.
Mark Cropley, a professor at Surrey University and author of “The Off Switch: Leave work on time relax your mind but still get more done,” suggests we are most creative when we are unwinding. Stepping away from a work situation helps us become more engaged and energized.
Learn to unplug. Start with one day a week. For example, I break my time up into 2-week sprints (something I picked up in my project management days). At the end of each sprint, I do a sprint review to look back at what went well and not so well. I then take a day to unplug, switch my phone to airplane mode, jog around the park to clear my mind, and go out for a meal with a loved one. This quality time allows your brain to switch off and prevent startup burnout, which can serious hamper all your great progress.
The 6 tips have helped me get more out of my days, but I am by no means perfect. I am still learning new ways to be productive every week, striking a balance between being super productive and staying sane is crucial to success.
What’s your favorite productivity hack that helps you achieve your goals?
This article has been edited.
Erhan Korhaliller is the Founder and CEO of EAK Digital, a Digital Branding agency that successfully positions their clients as thought leaders within their niche. A successful entrepreneur and digital visionary, Erhan stands out from his peers due to his expert knowledge of Digital PR and Advertising. When not working, Erhan can be found snowboarding or playing soccer. Connect with @ekorhaliller on Twitter.
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