Identify one habit, one action that you do daily that is detracting from your productivity, then remove it. Once you do that, you’ll be headed in the right direction. Even better, replace that habit with something that has value. Humor is one such idea: Studies show that humor can actually increase workplace productivity.
Say “no” to distractions.
Mobile apps offer a tempting opportunity to tune out of your mundane work tasks and tune into an exciting game of killing zombies, or an attempt to balance your checking account. Promise yourself a reward of 30 minutes of zombie killing after work, if you get a certain project completed — and save your online banking duties until you can sit down to a nice meal, or you’re headed home.
Live a healthy life.
Small business operators pull long hours. They snack when they should eat a good meal, and they miss an inordinate amount of sleep. A finance director we know says, “I help bad credit customers attain car loans for more than 14 hours every day, sometimes with little more than a snack to keep me energized.” The result? Success, sometimes — but also poor health.
Productivity is all about working steadily at a goal, not about burning out, with a visit to the hospital thrown in. Break your goals into small, bite-sized chunks of work that can be done in less than an hour. And take mini-breaks in between, doing healthy things like deep breathing or snacking on celery and radishes.
Start your day the night before.
Lay out your work clothes, plug in the coffee maker and check tomorrow’s weather and traffic forecasts. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol after 6 pm. Go to bed early. Sound like you’re in training for something? You are in training, for the sport of productivity. You can break training for the weekends and holidays.
As for those longer sleep times, they are what made Benjamin Franklin so productive during his long life: “Early to bed and early to rise.” The early morning hours are the least distracted hours in the day. Set your alarm for just 30 minutes earlier to test out the results for yourself.
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