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Simple Ways to Improve Productivity

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Business Advice

Having trouble checking things off your unending to-do list? Here are 10 simple ways to improve productivity.

1. Put it on paper

Writing things down is not only a great way to remember to do important tasks, but it’s the best way to turn vague mental thoughts into doable actions. The great thing about writing things down is that it serves as a visual reminder. When we write, we are visually reminded of the work that needs to be done and are also more motivated to actually complete the task because then we can physically check it off our to-do list. When you force yourself to sit down with a piece of paper and pen in hand, you are forcing yourself to confront the brainstorming process head-on and often that’s the hardest part of the battle!

2. Prioritize your tasks

While putting things down on paper is a great way to visualize the tasks that need to be done, it can also be overwhelming. Many of us have a million and one things we want to accomplish in one day, and the site of those things on paper can be more stressful than if they are stored somewhere in the back of our minds. Nonetheless, writing tasks down is a surefire way to complete them and the trick to negating the stress of the endless to-do list is prioritizing your tasks. After you’ve taken the time to write down what you’d like to accomplish, prioritize your list from most to least important. The best way to prioritize your tasks is to think about deadlines first and then benefits second. Ask yourself if the task is pressing? After the most pressing tasks are accomplished, ask yourself which tasks are most beneficial to you in the long run.

3. Zero in on each task

To further reduce the stress of tackling an endless to-do list, consider compartmentalizing each job that needs to be done. Zero in on each one and put all your attention into completing that one task. Tell yourself that you are going to set those things aside for now and will get to them at another time. Doing so will make the process much more enjoyable and manageable.  

4. Dedicate a time and date

Procrastination is what happens when we don’t set aside a concrete time to do something. If you do set a time and a date to work on a task and you stick to it, you are much more likely to be productive and accomplish the task.

5. Break each task down

Take the task at hand and break it down into easy, tangible steps that can be spread across a few days, a month or even a few hours, depending on the complexity of the task. One of the reasons we spend so much time dreading the idea of tackling a to-do list is because we feel we don’t have enough time to dedicate to accomplishing it. But some work is better than none. The longer you put it off, the more likely you’ll have to complete the task in one sitting. If you break the task down, dedicate smaller increments of time to it, and follow your set schedule, you’ll be much more successful at both completing the task – and doing it well.

6. Track ongoing tasks

Whether it’s in a planner, agenda, on your phone or on the computer, track the status of each ongoing task/assignment/job.

7. Make the process enjoyable

While many of the tasks we need to do may seem more like chores than fun, surely there are some tasks or maybe even a part of a task that can be enjoyable if we allow it to be. If you’re having a hard time enjoying the task at-hand, consider looking at it from a different angle or perspective. If being organized and writing lists is something that pleases your inner “perfectionist,” than use that to your advantage.

8. Rest

A key part of improving productivity is getting adequate rest. Without it, we may check things off our to-do list, but it’s a grueling process that often leaves us with a less than stellar end result. Have a set work cut-off time in the early evening and when that time hits, turn off the computer and the phone and decompress.

9. Set a deadline

While it’s fine to stretch assignments and tasks over longer periods of times, you do need to set actual deadlines to be productive.

10. Picture the end result

Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing a task. It’s a combination of relief, satisfaction and exhilaration alltogether. Keep these feelings in mind as you set out to complete your to-do list. It’ll certainly motivate you to keep at it, no matter how daunting the task may be.

Landscape Management Network is a collection of systems, tools, and training to help great contractors build and manage great businesses. Visit the LMN website.

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