In today’s connected, virtual, high intensity reality we live in, it is harder and harder to be really productive. In this article I’ll discuss 3 simple steps to increase productivity and particularly the productivity that leads you to make money.
Most of us are already working at our maximum, hardly having any time to even enjoy the small pleasures of life. So you may ask, how can you become more productive when you feel that it is impossible for you to add even an extra minute to your busy schedule and work even harder than you are working now.
The answer , as you will find out in this article, is that to increase productivity is not a question of working harder, but it is to find a way to work smarter and become more productive where it matters the most.
Many productivity “experts” will suggest that you create a “to-do” list and address the inconsequential tasks first because that is going to give you a good feeling and a sense of accomplishment. And according to them this “sense of accomplishment” will propel you to address the more serious tasks with a greater enthusiasm and desire to accomplish them.
But this does not seem to work. At the end of the day you find yourself with an unfinished list of tasks despite working hard all day long. And most of the unfinished tasks are the ones that actually matter and ones that could potentially lead to income.
So why is this method not working. It is simple. By starting your day with trivial and less important activities, later on you may not have time, the stamina and willpower to accomplish things and take actions that really matter.
Steve Covey, the author of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (Amazon affiliate link) taught the importance of prioritizing the important things in order to increase productivity and be able to do more than you ever thought was possible. He came up with a visual presentation which shows precisely why starting with small unessential tasks lead to ineffectiveness and reduced productivity.
If you lack focus and you want to increase productivity and do more more things that matter for your business and your earning potential you need to check this video. It is truly life changing.
How to Increase Productivity – Big Rocks Video
In the video:
- the jar represents your time
- the sand represents the distractions such as emails, texts, phone calls, social media,etc
- the small pebbles represent tasks that may have consequence if we don’t do them but these consequences are small and manageable
- the big rocks are the important tasks we have to do in order to succeed in our business. And, if don’t take care of the big rocks, the consequences can be very serious and the difference between failing and succeeding
So if you follow the common “expert suggestion” of doing the inconsequential and urgent but less important things (sand and the pebbles) first “to feel energized and to achieve a sense of accomplishment”, and do the important things (big rocks) later, you will find that your energy, willpower and time were spent before you have had a chance to address all the “big rocks”.
However, when you address the big rocks (our important tasks) first and fill the crevices with pebbles and sand later, you will accomplish your tasks more efficiently, increase productivity and you may even have some time left over, to play.
Taking The Steps To Increase Productivity & The Bottom Line
To watch the video and to re-prioritize the tasks you are doing, will not necessarily mean that you will become more productive, particularly when it come to making more money. You need to scrutinize the “big rocks”, and make sure they are the ones that are heavily contributing to your bottom line.
1. Identify The Big Rocks That Matter
You need to identify the most productive things, namely the key money making areas of your business. So let’s, for example, take blogging as your source of online income. The big rocks that matter the most are as follows:
- Publishing quality content articles regularly
- Monetizing your blog
- Marketing your blog by publicizing your blog articles on social media and anywhere else where people have the opportunity to click a link to your blog and read your articles
- Driving traffic to your blog. This step goes hand in hand with marketing your blog
- Creating an optin box on your blog to capture subscribers to whom you can promote your blog and additionally promote products which they can buy
- Creating a decent email follow up series to nurture your subscriber list
When you identify the most important tasks, in other words, the big rocks that matter the most, and address these tasks regularly, a significant portion of your battle for success is won.
2. Setting Up Most Productive Work Schedule
By simply identifying your “big rocks” you are not going to automatically increase productivity and profitability.
Your next step is to prioritize your tasks and work on them in a most productive fashion. So let’s have a look at that and I’ll share with you what works for me the best.
After many trials trying to improve my productivity I found one method that works the best for me and below is the schedule I follow:
- Create a list of tasks I have to do on weekly basis
- From the list of tasks I select my daily list of tasks
- I follow 60-60-30 routine. In other words, I set up 3 block of time. The first two are 60 minute blocks of time. During that time I work on one of my “Big Rocks”, in an uninterrupted fashion for 55 minutes. I’ll get off the computer for 5 minutes to stretch and have a drink of water. After 5 minutes I go back to the computer and continue to work on the task.
After the 2nd 60 minute period I take 30 minutes to “re-juvenate”. I take my mind off the work, may have lunch or just relax or meditate. I don’t get distracted by email, texting or social media. I simply take the time to regroup.
This 30 minute period is very important for me and by the time it is up I am full of energy again and ready to attack the important tasks at hand.
What I found was that with theses “chunks of activity” not only I narrowed my focus on the most important activities, I was also able to increase my productivity and accomplish more.
3. Eating Healthy & Nurturing Your Body
Most busy people skip this step and so did I for the longest time. I’d have my coffee first thing in the morning and then jumped right into my work. But within a few hours I felt tired, lacked energy and I found myself getting easily distracted and unfocused.
The other effect was that by the afternoon I was starving and after I finally ate, I felt completely drained ready for a siesta. There are so many magazines and books on healthy nutrition and the effect healthy nutrition has on one’s life, that it was hard for me not to know that my poor nutrition and working style were affecting my productivity. Ijust did not take the time to change my way of doing things.
I’ve finally addressed that silliness and now I do things differently.
- First thing in the morning I drink a bottle of water (500ml) to rehydrate myself
- I do a short spurt of stretching exercises (this is not my main exercise, it is just done stretch my body and get the energy flowing)
- I have a full breakfast that consists of all food groups (protein, carbs and fats). I really feel that a body needs to re-fuel before its long journey of the day, much like a car needs to fuel-up before its long journey on the road.
- Do stretching exercises after 55 minutes at the computer
- Drink a lot of water throughout the day
- Have a high energy, protein rich lunch and protein rich snacks during the day
I honestly feel that this last step, nurturing and feeding your body, is extremely important. Having a good breakfast with all the food groups energizes me and stops me from craving energy draining junk food in the mid afternoon. I never experience the “foggy” and “out-of-focus” periods that I used to experience before I started this regimen.
This is not a frequently talked about step to increase productivity. It should be! This step was crucial to helping me be more productive and efficient. I strongly suggest, that if you are not nurturing your body now, you implement it as an essential step to increase productivity.
Summary Of The 3 Steps To Increase Productivity
- Identify the Big Rocks, the most important tasks that are going to produce the most earnings for you
- Set up the most productive work schedule. What I do is what works for me and I highly recommend that you try it too
- Nurture your body and mind
As I come to the end of this article, you are probably asking: “What about the other tasks, the urgent ones albeit less important than the big rocks? What about all the emails and texts related to my business?”
Well, they also have to be taken care of, but you need to take care of them after the important tasks have been taken care of or during times you specifically assign for these tasks. Make sure that these tasks are scheduled during the day and not the first thing in the morning before you start working on your important project. Scheduling “pebbles and sand” for later ensures that you preserve your willpower, your stamina and creative energy for the most important tasks.
If you follow these 3 steps to increase productivity as I described, I am confident that you will improve your productivity and and earning potential many-fold. If you are a blogger, I am confident that your blog directly (through monetization of your blog) and indirectly (via your subscriber list) will earn you a lot more income than you were used to until now.