5 Small Habits to Increase Your Productivity to 5X in 2021

A study suggests that a regular 9 to 5 employee stays only productive for around 3 hours which is 35% of total work time.

8 hour productivity

The common unproductive activities among employees are as below –

Unproductive ActivityTime Wasted
Reading news portals65 minutes
Social media44 minutes
Gossips with co-workers40 minutes
New job search26 minutes
Smoke breaks23 minutes
Personal calls18 minutes
Tea and Food breaksUp to 35 minutes
Texting14 minutes

If you are also struggling with losing focus, getting distracted and are unable to complete your work within the allotted time, then this article is for you. 

You’ll learn 5 simple habits to increase your productivity and get things done faster.

5 Productivity Tips to Increase Your Productivity

#1. Plan Each Day the Night Before

Make a habit to write your to-do list the night before. Even preparing the to-do list before you go to bed helps you relax and sleep better, as you don’t need to think about what you need to do the next day.

In the morning, you save your most productive time as you can directly jump to your most important items from the to-do list. 

Highlight – Most people just pick random work for the whole day without preparing any to-do list. Making a to-do list can increase productivity to 2x to 3x.   

You just need 15 minutes to create your to-do list and prioritize the tasks. You can put a star next to the most important tasks that should be completed in the day. 

One technique is to pick a maximum of one to three most important & big tasks for your day that you really need to get done. Fill up your rest of the to-do list with minor tasks that you will pick only after completing your most important tasks. 

You should do your most important tasks first thing in the morning. Get them out of the way, and you feel relaxed and satisfied for the rest of the day.

Second technique is to “Focus only on today”.

Prepare 2 to-do list 

  • Master list – having everything that you need to get done 
  • Today list – for items you will work on today. 

You should keep the “master list” separated from the “today list”. Write down the things that you need to do at some point of time but not today. 

Then, every night, you can move a few items from the “master list” to “today list” for the next day. 

#2. Prioritize Your To-Do List Tasks

List down all the work items and rank of them based on the priority. You can divide the work items into 4 different categories

  • Urgent & important (most critical) – Certain emails or tax deadline 
  • Urgent but not important (time critical) – phone calls
  • Not urgent but important (work critical) – preparing monthly plan
  • Neither urgent nor important (least critical) – surfing over web 
Productivity quadrant new

You need to understand the difference between urgent and important tasks to assign the right category to the work tasks. 

First you should finish the tasks that are the urgent and important tasks so you’re getting under pressure against deadlines. 

Second you should focus on the most productive quadrant: not urgent and important. These are the tasks that are easy to put off but provide higher value when get done like long term planning, monthly goal setup. 

Urgent but not important tasks require your attention now (urgent), but don’t help you achieve your goals (not important). Mostly these tasks are interruptions from other people like, wife ‘s phone call, picking the children from their friend’s house. 

Not urgent and not important tasks are time wasters and you should avoid them as much as possible. 

You can get upto 5X results by prioritizing the tasks as you start putting more energy to the most valuable tasks. 

#3. Creating Process & Automation

You can reduce the number of micro-decisions by creating process & automation that otherwise you need to take. And you can focus on more important decisions that would help in growth & productivity. 

You can create processes for every little task & then automating the possible tasks with the help of tools, technology, AI and human involvement. 

Once there is a process in a place, you can assign the work to another person and free up your energy and bandwidth for the things that only you can do. 

You can become 10X to 100X productive as you can involve other people to do work on your behalf as per the specified process. 

For example, you have created a content writing process that you follow to write a blog post . Now you can hire 10 or 100 writers to work following the same process. Now you can create 10X or 100X content with the help of your team of the same quality. 

This would be possible only if your process is strong enough.  

#4. Track Your Time Spillage 

Are you struggling to be productive even after spending the whole day working? 

Yes!

You need to find where your time gets wasted in your daily routine. 

You can start by tracking every activity from the morning like what you do every morning to get ready for work. You might find you are spending a lot of time on things such as choosing your clothes or socks. 

Maybe you’ll find you’re checking your facebook account too often Or a two-minute work conversation regularly turns into a 10-minute chat session.

In the office, note down the actual time you spend to complete each task like how much time you took to complete the article. Then compare the time with the time within which you are supposed to complete the work.   

Once you know what takes up your time, you need to start making specific changes around those habits.

You can increase your productivity by 3X using this technique. 

#5. Minimize Distractions

Distractions can be a drain on your productivity in the form of emails, texts, whatsapp, social media notification or phone calls; game craving, or a work colleague popping over for a chat. 

Constant interruption impacts your attention span, and you need more time to carry out necessary tasks.

According to an OfficeGenie.co.uk survey, the average UK worker wastes 48 minutes a day on online distractions alone. 

You can use the following ways to avoid or reduce distractions

  • Work in the morning when others sleep 
  • Switch off your phone while working
  • Delete social media app like facebook, twitter or youtube  from your mobile
  • Don’t keep games, shopping apps or social media on the 
  • Avoid multitasking

Closing Thoughts 

Motivation plays a vital role in enhancing productivity. Reward yourself often to stay motivated on your small wins, milestones or completing a big task. 

You can reward yourself by going out for dinner, watching one or two episodes of a show guilt-free or having a drink. 

What reward are you going to yourself on increasing your productivity? Let me know in the comments. 

Also share your favorite productivity increasing habit. 

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