7 Productivity Tips from the Pros for 2014

productivity feature picture
Image by: Sergei Gutnikov
By Dexter Lunde

Productivity is different for everyone. To achieve perfect productivity will differ depending on who you are, what you do, and what your expectations are for yourself. If you’re like most, you put more on your plate than you’re ready for or capable of doing. It is human nature to want to be successful and we often think that doing everything yourself is the only way to achieve true success.

As most successful businessmen and other professionals will tell you, you can’t do everything yourself. Nor can you achieve true “perfect productivity”. Let’s look at some other productivity tips from professionals like Chris Hardwick and Pharrell Williams.

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#1) Multi-Tasking

There are different rules, preferences, and myths about multi-tasking. If you’ve seen your wife take care of the house and kids, you know that multi-tasking can work. However, we are told that multi-tasking takes away our concentration and we end up only giving 50% to tasks that need all of our attention.

Chris Hardwick prefers to work on multiple projects at once. He says that it suits his short attention span. I have to admit that I have a short attention span myself and I also find that having multiple projects makes me feel productive, never bored, and I find that I do actually give my 100% on the task at hand.

Studies have challenged our ability to multi-task. Women have always been the gender who was more apt to be able to do multiple things at once. Well, I’m here to debunk that theory. The key to multi-tasking effectively is to stay organized. Keep an eye on your deadline calendar so that you won’t be late to turn in any projects, reports, or presentations.

If you’ve got an office (whether it’s at work or at home), I suggest tacking up a dry erase board, cork board, or a digital white board. Write down the projects across the top and write their various tasks underneath them. Cross them off as you finish each task. Don’t forget to write down the deadline. There are also virtual boards and apps that you can use instead, but I like being able to see my looming deadlines constantly.

#2) Accountability

Have a friend, colleague, coworker, or family member hold you accountable to your actions and deadlines. Having people hold you accountable to your goals and actions will help keep you honest and dedicated to that goal. You can give each other motivation and support when needed. Yes, this does mean that you don’t need to generally do everything on your own.

#3) Do the Important First

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Image by: John A. Ward

Finish the most important tasks at the beginning of your day. As the day drags on, you will often find yourself procrastinating more and losing focus more often. At the beginning of your work day, you are often more excited to get to work and get things done. The coffee is flowing and the caffeine is kicking in.

#4) Keep Your Desk Organized and Minimalistic

Our desks often mimic our state of mind. If you have a cluttered desk, you will often find that your mind is more frazzled and you are more likely to get flustered easily. A neat and clean desk space will breed productivity and healthy and effective task management.

Personalization is still important though. Keep a picture of what keeps you motivated on your desk. It can be a small vision board or a picture of your family. Otherwise, file papers away as soon as you are done with them. Keep desk organizers inside your desk drawers. Keep your filing cabinet in order.

#5) Block Out Time Wasting Sites

Block Facebook from your work computer or use a program like Leech Block for Firefox in order to block time-wasting sites (like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Cracked, etc.) during work hours.

#6) Fully Focused

Practice fully-focused work and fully-focused rest. When you are at work, don’t think about what you want to do when you get home. Don’t think about posting anything on Facebook. Don’t worry about your home improvement projects. Just keep focused on the task at hand. If you find that your mind is wandering, it may be time for a break.

On the contrary, when you are on a break, don’t think about work. Don’t think about what you need to do when you get back or you will find that you won’t feel rested enough to give work your 100% when it’s time to get back to the task.

#7) Make Work Enjoyable

One of the reasons why productive people like Pharrell Williams and Chris Hardwick get stuff done is that they love what they do. You may not be working your dream job but you can find joy in anything if you look hard enough. Search within your work day for that feeling of success, happiness, and joy. Focus on those moments and recreating those moments.