We all know people who always seem to be on top of things. They never leave anything to the last minute and they seem to be able to effortlessly juggle through a never-ending task list without breaking a sweat. For most of us though, we end our day unsatisfied, wishing we had more time, so we could finish everything that was on our to-do list.
The truth is that a single day has the same 24 hours for you, as for the most successful person in the world. So, getting things done shouldn’t be a struggle. Successful people work smarter and not always harder.
Here are a few ways your brain and body can stay productive.
1. Eat Good Fats
No, I’m not kidding. You heard me right. Good fats can help you be more productive because the brain uses these fats for fuel. You can find healthy fats in avocados, eggs, salmon, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and olive oil. If you nourish your brain with the right food, you will improve your clarity and the vital cognitive skills that keep you highly productive.
2. Stop Multitasking
You may think that you’re being super productive by trying to do several things at once, but multitasking is not the key to productivity. That is a myth. People cannot successfully split their full focus on two tasks. You will make mistakes and the quality of your work will suffer. To be super productive, put your complete focus on one task at a time.
3. Take More Breaks
This might seem counterintuitive. Why would you take a break when you should spend every minute doing your tasks? Because our brain gets tired and distracted. After every 30-45 minutes, take a five-minute break to recalibrate your brain. Do this throughout the day and you will have a laser focus on your tasks during those working periods. Undoubtedly, this is one of the “smarter” ways of working. Without real breaks, our brain gets tired.
4. Being Lazy Isn’t Always Bad
A lot of people procrastinate. Are you one of those people? Some people prolong their procrastination, but then figure out a way to get their task or project done at the very last minute. Some people naturally work extra fast and extra hard under the pressure of a ticking clock. You can also give yourself an artificial deadline so that your brain has some motivation to meet it.
5. Reduce Your To-Do List
A small list of things to do is less intimidating to your brain. There is nothing wrong with having a small to-do list with the most important tasks written in them. Start with your most necessary tasks and limit the list to 2-3 items. You could also make a few of these mini-to-do lists, so you can put your full attention on conquering them one at a time.
6. Process Your Tasks in Batches
It may seem weird, but doing tasks in batches of “like tasks”, will actually help you be more efficient. “Like tasks” means grouping tasks based on their similarity. Batches of eight work best, because once you finish a batch, it can shorten the size of your overall task list significantly. This also gives you an extra boost of motivation.
7. Track Your Time and Check Your Productivity
You may not even realize how unproductive you are per hour, simply because you aren’t utilizing your time properly. Watching a YouTube video here and there, answering texts, taking phone calls, and browsing social media, are all tasks that eat away at your time. You don’t realize it because it seems like only two minutes have passed when in reality you were browsing the internet for the last 30 minutes. Track everything you do by the hour and at the end of the day, reflect back on your findings and figure out what you can do to utilize your time better.
8. Take a Nap
Naps can do wonders for your memory and can help consolidate the new information that entered your brain while awake. A nap is a perfect way to increase your energy levels when they are low. Also, if you have a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea right after your nap, you will experience a significant energy boost.
Often, we start our day and go right into work mode without thinking or planning our tasks well. Structure your day, so you plan on achieving your most important tasks first, followed by the semi-important and finally, least important, if you get to them. By putting your whole concentration on one task at a time, you will be able to power through your to-do list and join that exclusive group of successful people, known for their ability to be super productive in the toughest of days.