6 Unconventional Tactics to Increase Productivity

increase productivity

Some years ago, I thought I could increase productivity by just working harder and longer hours. This proved to be a very flawed tactic, as it led me to a complete physical and mental collapse.

So for me, learning to increase productivity wasn’t a nice thing to have, it was a key driver for health and well-being. My doctor had made it very clear. If I kept living a life of high stress and overwork, I would probably be dead within five to ten years. This type of warning seems harsh, but in fact has been the catalyst to explore the world of personal development, stress reduction, high performance and overall well-being.

As part of this journey I have found wonderful ways to work smarter without increasing stress. In fact, I can now produce more in four hours a day that used to take up ten hours or more. That’s why I want to share my ten favorite tactics I use to increase productivity while reducing my stress and increasing my personal performance. So, here are my six unconventional tactics to increase productivity…

increase productivity -environment

Increase Productivity – Tactic #1 – Physical Environment

In the past, the more stressed I became the more mess and clutter I built up around me. For me, a cluttered work environment was a symptom of scattered thoughts and stress. One of the best ways to increase productivity is to control your work environment. So, for the habit of keeping your work area tidy and clear of clutter.

Also, make sure you create powerful visual queues that inspire and uplift you when you see them. This might be photographs of family or loved ones or perhaps pictures that inspire you towards your life goals.

When you set up your work environment, make sure you consider the impact of poor posture. Withe the wide use of laptops, it’s so easy to work with your head looking down at the screen. This can leave you with very tense and damaged muscles, but also will impact your productivity. Therefore, set up your laptop or desktop so that you screen and eyes are at the same height. This means you can maintain a good posture, reduce tension and increase productivity. You may want to consider investing in a chair with height adjustment and a laptop stand that allows you to control the screen height.

increase productivity -big rocks

Increase Productivity – Tactic #2 – The Big Rocks

I proved some years ago that busy people are not productive. I really thought I could be more productive by just working harder and by increasing my hours of work. This was actually a recipe for disaster.

After a lot of research I found out it’s really important to get very clear about the important things you want to achieve. These are the ‘Big Rocks’. Top achievers spend most of their time taking action each day to achieve movement on these big ticket items.

Steven Covey calls this ‘putting first things first’. Here is a fantastic video that demonstrates the idea. The video looks quite dated, but the concept is still very relevant… Stephen Covey – Put First Things First (Big Rocks)

Increase Productivity – Tactic #3 – Get Help

When you learn to ‘put first things first’ as outlined above, it means you have to fit all the everyday tasks in around the really important tasks. Chances are you a probably a ‘doer’ and prefer to get everything done yourself. However, to increase productivity it’s important to find ways to get help with everyday tasks. If you have team around you learn the art of supported delegation. If you don’t have a team to delegate too, tap into the power of online freelancing. There are millions of people around the world using online platforms to offer freelance support services for many regular business tasks.

increase productivity -morning ritual

Increase Productivity – Tactic #4 – The Daily Set Up

Just as we need to prepare what activities we are working on each day, we also need to prepare our mind. Get your mindset right each day and you really can unleash your personal power.

One of the most powerful yet unconventional productivity tools I have found is meditation. Hundreds of university research studies have shown that meditation has a powerful impact on how well our brain functions. It is proven to reduce stress, increase cross-brain functioning, reduces blood pressure and decreases feelings of anxiety.

For me, meditation has also been a great way of developing high levels of stress free concentration. Over time, meditation also helps you to avoid distraction and maintain effortless focus on achieving the important projects in your life. One of my favorite ways to combine meditation and activity is by doing Qigong which is a powerful energy meditation practice. Qigong is a great way to start the day feeling vital and energized.

For years, top athletes have use the power of visualization and affirmations to improve their performance. So, try combining a short meditation session with a short visualization and affirmation session. I spend thirty minutes each morning meditating then visualizing and affirming my positive intent for the day.  Also, integrate some attitude of gratitude into your morning set up and you will start your day on a mental high that will help you stay on track each day.

increase productivity -distraction

Increase Productivity – Tactic #5 – Distraction

Here is  a tough and confronting topic for many. One of this biggest challenges to productivity today is that of distraction and in particular, digital distraction. We live in an age where it’s now so easy to get hooked on digital overload. The reality is that most of our time on computers and smart devices is not productive. In fact, much of the time is wasted on mindless activity rather than mindful and productive activity. Ouch. I can here the sharp intake of breath from here.

So, it’s time the ask yourself some really challenging questions.  Is your use of digital devices moving you forward to achieve your life purpose?

Or like me, are you a digital junkie who needs to constantly check social medial and email?

Highly productive people are able to tune out all distraction to focus on the critical tasks that move them towards their major goals for the day, week, month or year.

So if you are serious about increasing productivity, you have to be able to unplug your life for periods of time. This is critical if you want to stay focused on achieving the ‘big rocks’ in your life.

The best way to overcome digital distraction is to treat it like any other activity and give it a specific time period each day. Block out thirty minutes in the morning and afternoon to check email and social feeds. Also, treat phone calls the same. Put your smart phone on Airplane mode when you are in productivity mode. Also, tell your friends and colleagues that you are only available at specific times of the day. Trust me, people will get used to this. Be brave and start small, and realize that the world will not stop because you unplug for a few hours each day.

increase productivity -mindset

Increase Productivity – Tactic #6 – Mind Shift

To increase productivity we need to be able to stay mentally fresh and free of fatigue. So, the key is to understand how to keep your mind working at it’s optimal performance. One key to keeping your mind fresh is to give it regular breaks called state shifts. When you get highly focused, you will find you concentration can reduce over time. To stay at peak performance, your brain needs to be given a short rest or state change every sixty to ninety minutes.

The best way to achieve this is to block out periods of work in your planner. As you feel you mind losing focus, simply stop and give it a rest by changing its state. This is achieved by focusing on something completely different. Get up and walk around and take some deep breaths. One of my favorites is to complete a simple mindfulness exercise.

The key is to make the activity different to the one that required high levels of concentration and focus. In fact, a short period of physical activity is the best way to complete your mental state change.  So, take a short walk or do some stretches  or other activity that increases your blood flow. Then, after five or ten minutes of activity, you can get back to your planned work schedule with your mind re-set for peak performance.

What Next?

You don’t have to make massive change to increase your own productivity. Just pick one of these tactics and make a small change to your routine.

Spend a little time every morning setting up a new routine that includes getting a focused mindset with a clear intent and you will find your personal productivity explode.

Here are some related posts you may also find useful.

How to Stop Procrastinating

17 Daily Affirmations for Self-Empowerment

Productivity- 7 Powerful Improvement Tips

 

 

 

 

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