Stop Wasting Time: Tips to Raise Productivity and Reduce Procrastination

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

If you're trying to find quick tips to help you raise your productivity to get you out of your funk, look no further.

It’s been said that “knowledge is power.” However, an argument can be made that it’s more accurate to say, “applied knowledge is power.” Let’s be honest, you might know what you’re talking about, but if you’re inefficient or procrastinating doing your job, you’ll be in the unemployment line.  

Ergo the market for self-help books and motivational seminars.

There’s never been a shortage of insightful gurus vying for your attention to learn their “secret formula” to success; and there are a lot of great concepts out there worthy of your time and money. But the reality is, if you’re looking to shift out of some negative patterns, or to even build on some positive ones, success isn’t a secret. It’s not even hard. It can be simple, fast and best of all, free.

Exercise can help to increase productivity and focus

1. Exercise  

If you only have five minutes for a quick pick-me-up, then exercise is a great solution. Consider high-intensity interval training like the Tabata protocol. This exercise plan only takes four minutes and consists of alternating 20 seconds of jumping jacks and 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 sets. It’s amazing how you can shift your energy by getting your heart rate up and blood pumping to the brain.

If you’re not looking for something that intensive, even a simple exercise like walking the stairs will increase your heart rate, giving you a natural burst of energy. Be sure to hydrate after even this brief workout. Drink water or a natural drink like organic green tea, giving you a natural boost without the crash of coffee. You'll be a bit sharper and more productive as you go into meetings or tackle other business matters.

Related Article: 12 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

2. Small Successes

At the end of each day, write down a large goal for the following day along with the smaller steps to developing that goal. This frees up the mind from taking work home, and subconsciously prepares you to focus on attainable goals. The next day you can focus on hitting the smaller objectives, creating success and momentum. Before you know it you’ve accomplished your goals.

changing your surroundings can help you better focus

3. Change of Scenery

If it’s conducive to your workplace, try moving to different parts of the office to accomplish different tasks. For instance, for light duties such as checking emails you can go to a sunlit room with plants and quiet music playing. For more detail-oriented work you should have a private space where you can sit or stand, and concentrate without being disturbed.

Being able to get up and move around will give you a brief mental and physical rest that helps you get back to business with renewed clarity. However, never attempt to do work in the break room; there’s always someone who wants to talk.

4. Deep Breathing

When you can't leave your desk and the work is piling up along with the stress, look to deep breathing. This is a proven way to lower stress levels and improve productivity. Simply sit back, clear the mind and take in a deep breath through your nose, feeling your chest and lower belly fill as you take in air. Slowly expel your breath through your mouth. Repeat this several times before you get back to work. 

When you need to boost your productivity and it's not possible or practical to take a long walk or take a day off, try some of these tips and see which ones work for you. They may prove so energizing that you'll want to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Related Article: Ban These Productivity Killers from Your Business

5. Perspective

Why can some people easily conquer a given task, whether personal or professional, while others dread it? It’s all about how we look at things and what we associate with a given task that determines our success. The mind much prefers pleasure and wants to avoid pain. Behavior is learned, so training our brains to view the task at hand as something that rewards us rather than punishes us, makes a positive difference.

Simply changing our word patterns helps shift us into this new direction. By saying things like “I get to do” verses “I have to do” trains the inner conscious mind to associate tasks as a choice of free will for our reward, rather than a punishment handed down upon us by outside influences.

6. Mobile Apps

The first five techniques here are relative to the condition of our minds and bodies. But better or worse, we’re a society conditioned to constantly be a swipe or a tap away from everyone else via our mobile devices. They have apps that keep us connected socially, or defeat boredom by playing games and even more constructively, read news and conduct business.

However, there’s mounting evidence that the right mobile apps in your place of business will increase your productivity. It takes seconds, or even just a few minutes to install these apps on your mobile device and there really is something for everybody. Whatever your business is, you can find helpful apps for tracking inventory, marketing, sales and many other aspects of office work that can speed up productivity and maximize efficiency. A Google search can point you to plenty of information and reviews for the best apps available.

By implementing all or even some of these six techniques, you’ll quickly find yourself better applying your career based knowledge in a much more powerful way.

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