Start the year more productively
During the Christmas season, after a stressful year, most people finally get some rest to recharge their batteries and motivation for the coming year. If you then manage to steer them in the right direction, they can mean a real “push” for your productivity. The following simple measures will help you to make your resolution to be (even) more productive in a reality:
More productivity – that’s not enough as a goal to actually become more productive. Instead, it is important to set concrete and comprehensible goals for you. So define for yourself what more productivity really means and how you can measure it in every day (work) life. You can then set individual but specific goals, for example for every day, every week, or every month of the new year. In this way, you can better check whether you have actually become more productive and this sense of achievement increases your motivation to achieve further goals.
After answering the question of which goals you would like to achieve in terms of increased productivity, the question of “how” arises. The classic to-do lists are a simple and effective method. With their help, you can develop a concrete plan of how you will achieve each of the (intermediate) goals. It is important not only to list the to-dos but to assign them a specific time and space when they will be done.
You must remain realistic with this timing. The time periods for completing individual tasks should be ambitious but realistic. But buffer times are also important so that you don’t get under stress. This ensures that you are still on schedule – and productive (more) – even if a task is delayed. Therefore, add around half of the scheduled time to each task as buffer time.
Whenever you don’t need this buffer, you can use this space for a short break. At first glance, breaks may be a hindrance to productivity, but at second glance the opposite is the case. Because after a break you have new energy and are more motivated and concentrated on the matter. As a result, you will more than make up the “lost” time and the bottom line will be more motivated. It is therefore important to plan sufficient breaks outside the buffer times and to use them properly.
Movement is an important keyword here. During the breaks, you shouldn’t check your emails, think about work or stay at your desk to write messages with your smartphone. Instead, it is beneficial for your productivity if you switch off briefly, get up and move a little. A little stretching, a quick walk in the fresh air, a walk into the coffee kitchen – but using the stairs instead of the elevator – these are just a few of the many examples of what a real break can look like. Sufficient sport and exercise are also important in your free time. They make you healthier and more productive, which not only benefits your productivity.
Back at the desk, it is often one’s own perfectionism that becomes the greatest enemy of productivity. The Pareto principle can help. It is also known as the 80-20 rule and states that you need 20 percent of the time to do 80 percent of the work – but 80 percent of the time is spent on the remaining 20 percent of the work. Whenever possible, you should therefore limit yourself to 80 percent of the performance, because these are often completely sufficient. As soon as you have shed your perfectionism and thus one of the biggest time wasters, your productivity will increase noticeably.
Another common mistake is assuming that multitasking will make you more productive. If you do several things at the same time, you are faster overall, right? Not correct! Multitasking makes you unproductive and creates unnecessary stress. It makes more sense to concentrate on one task at a time, get it done, and then tackle the next item on your to-do list. Together with the Pareto principle, you actually do everything in less time – guaranteed!
The last important point for more productivity is routines because people love routines. They enable the brain to run on the back burner, so to speak. It is therefore keen to stick to such habits. As soon as you have made your new productivity and all of the above measures routine, they will be easy for you to do. In this way, you not only stay more productive in the short term until the good resolutions for the new year are slowly forgotten, but you can increase your productivity in the long term. According to science, you need 66 days for this. If you apply all of the tips and repeat them until 66 productive days have passed, you have established a new, more productive routine.