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11 best ways to improve your productivity

By Vijay Rathee
October 04, 2016 10:10 IST
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Turn off mobile/web alerts. Prioritise tasks. Do not multi-task. 

You may or may not agree, but the most important challenge being a start-up founder isn't coming up with compelling ideas, getting new clients, or hiring talented staff.

Instead, it all comes down to one factor -- the lack of time.

The only thing in this world in which everyone is blessed with equality is time.

Entrepreneurs can maximise their productivity by focusing on results-driven actions to get the maximum in a limited period of time.

Here are 11 productivity hacks that can help you squeeze the most out of your time:

1. Wake up and exercise

An entrepreneur's life is not easy, especially in the early days.

They have to work around the clock to get the maximum work done. In this situation, it's really hard to have a healthy lifestyle.

Prioritise your morning exercise to ensure not just a healthy body, but also a healthy mind.

A rigorous workout is not necessary; it could be as simple as half an hour of yoga.

It will not only help you reduce stress, but will also increase your efficiency and productivity during the day.

So, exercise daily and stay fit. Make it a habit to exercise for at least 30 or 40 minutes every day. You will feel a whole new wave of positivity within yourself.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast

The most important meal of the day is also a key issue; in the high octane work life of today, we are so busy that we often forget the most important thing- our health.

It is very critical to fuel our body with the proper nutrition so that it energises our system for the whole day.

That is why breakfast is so pivotal -- it sets the tone for the whole day. Try to have your breakfast before 9 am.

3. Prioritise tasks before you start your day

Before you start with your work, try to make a list of the tasks you need to complete for the day.

Start with an outline of your day; this will help in properly orienting your attention.

Pen and paper still work in this digital age; take a paper and note down tasks, and then prioritise those.

With the help of this, you will have a clear picture of what you need to do during the day, and it will help you keep your focus on the tasks and getting stuff done on time.

Do not create a very lengthy to-do list; the list should just be a bare outline to help keep you focused and informed, not a daunting schedule.

Start with the most boring and difficult tasks; try to finish these while you are at your most productive.

If you leave them for later, they will stay on your mind, affecting your overall productivity.

4. Turn off mobile/web alerts

To be productive, you must learn how to work smart by minimising interruptions. Disable irrelevant alerts like those from Facebook and WhatsApp.

According to research, the typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction.

Try to kill your curiosity about what's happening on social media. These things will only waste your time and reduce productivity.

Checking on such updates on an hourly basis is acceptable, but ensure that such notifications are turned off when you're working. Try to work offline as much as possible.

5. Do not multitask

Research shows that multitasking is not nearly as efficient as we would like to believe, and that it can also be harmful to our health.

If you keep switching between tasks, it can cause a loss in productivity. So do one task at a time, switching to another only upon completion. This will not only help you increase productivity, but also keep the stress level low at work.

6. Work in batches and take breaks

Do not work for long hours; take a break of 15 to 20 minutes after every hour of work.

Also, try to take a break between the completion of one task and the commencement of another. It will help you in regaining your energy and being productive.

Research showed that the most productive employees work for an average of 52 minutes uninterrupted followed by a 17-minute break.10 to 15-minute power naps are also great for reducing stress and arming you with a fresh mind.

Do not forget that productive people work smarter, not harder.

7. Use technology

We must use apps and other tools that can simplify our tasks. There are hundreds of apps available in the market to help you.

Try these apps and you will see how these can improve your productivity. Use efficiency-maximising tools to save more time.

8. Automate processes to save time

Identify the parts of your business that you think are expensive, both in terms of time and resources. Is there any task that is not very important but consumes your time?

If so, try to automate it so that you can focus on your core responsibilities.

ServiceNow surveyed nearly 2,000 managers in five countries to understand the effectiveness of the tools and processes in their corporate environments.

Nine in ten managers, regardless of company size or team function, said that they spent time on administrative tasks outside their core job function. Providing status updates, filling out forms, requesting support and updating spreadsheets consume on average more than 15 hours a week.

As a result, half of those surveyed said they did not have time for more strategic initiatives.

So try to eliminate these types of tasks from your schedule or automate them.

9. Consume water

Sometimes, there are very simple ways to increase productivity. For example, you can increase your productivity simply by drinking more water. That's right. You may find that hard to believe, but there is plenty of science to back it up.

Scientific research has shown that getting more water helps your brain work better. Lack of water actually shrinks brain tissue, making it harder to think.

Being dehydrated saps your energy. Water helps your blood transport oxygen and other nutrients to your cells, giving you an energy boost.

Water also helps you fight stress and makes your mood positive.

Keep a bottle of water on your desk, and try to drink six to eight glasses of water every day.

10. Stay positive

Whatever hurdles or unpleasantness you may face during the day, stay positive and do your best to finish your scheduled tasks.

The completion of your work has a positive effect on you and can boost your mood. Maintaining a positive attitude has echo effects.

11. Sleep well

By now, the benefits of sound sleep are apparently well known. Studies consistently show that more sleep is good for our bodies and brains.

Nevertheless, it never hurts to have another reminder that the magic number of eight hours isn't just ideal.

In several crucial ways, ample sleep is necessary to make us more productive in our workday.

During deep sleep, our brains are actually hard at work.

One of the main things the brain is doing is moving memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, allowing us more short-term memory space for the next day. If we don't get adequate sleep, then this process will break down.

Make sure you have a good night's sleep; trust me, it will surely not be a waste of time.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Reuters

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Vijay Rathee
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