Professionals all over the United States put productivity first on their list of things to do. A recent study by Headway found that 64 percent of people want to be more productive than they are now. But the truth is that we all have trouble with it. Getting things done can be hard, especially if you don’t have a good routine or are easily distracted. If you are in that situation, you may be trying to find answers.
Toby Carrodus, an investor, has learned how to be productive both at work and at home. Early in his career, he could see that things were going to change. The new wave of technology was going to shake the investment world to its core. He had to work faster and do more with his time if he didn’t want to become irrelevant. By changing a certain routine, he was able to get the most out of it. In the next article, a smart investment professional talks about his best ways to get things done, which you can try out.
Make a schedule that works for you
First of all, you need a schedule that works for you. To get the most out of your work day, you need to get up early and plan out all of your tasks well. For Toby Carrodus, that means getting up between 4:30 and 5:15 every morning. When he wakes up, he makes coffee and sits down for 15 minutes to think and relax. So, he has time to get ready for the day. In the early hours that follow, Toby makes a list of his top priorities for the day and then does some of his best work. Toby has learned to make the most of these early hours when no one is sending emails, text messages, or making other noises. This is because he does research, which requires a lot of concentration.
Having a solid routine can be good for your health and your work-life balance in many ways. If you give yourself time to get ready for the day, you will always be ahead of the game, whether you work in a bank or as a manager in an office. It gives you a head start on the day instead of putting you in “reaction mode.” Even though it might take a while to get into a routine, you need to find out what works for you. You might find that you do your best work in the evening. Everyone has their own unique way of looking at things.
Give yourself a little room to think
When do you have the best ideas? For Toby Carrodus, it’s usually when he’s not at work and is in a neutral place. That could mean taking a walk in the woods or going to the gym. When you’re trying to solve hard problems and get more done, changing your environment is sometimes the best thing you can do. When you move to a new place, you have the chance to change how you deal with the problem. You might find that moving gives you a new point of view and gives you more energy as well.
When you are always at work, it can be hard to think of new ideas. Putting yourself in a cubicle for eight hours a day is probably not going to help you get the results you want. Think about how you can change the world around you. It could be a walk during lunch or just getting up and leaving your desk. Think about the choices you have and how you can make the most of them.
Set up a regular exercise schedule
Toby Carrodus goes to the gym five times a week and works out hard. He works out at the same time every day, Monday through Friday. He thinks that sticking to this routine has made him more productive over the past few years. Just as it’s important to change where you are, it’s also important to move around. The way your body feels affects how your mind works and how much energy you have to get through the day at work. Both are important to your work.
Do you have a lot of thoughts going through your head? When you have a lot of work to do, it can be hard to find time to relax. It can be hard to get work done when you are always “on.” You need to take a break every so often. Working out is a great way to do this. Obviously, you need to make a workout plan that works well for you. You might not be able to take a long lunch break and then go for a run. You might also find it hard to work out late at night because it might keep you from going to sleep. You might want to try different things to see which one works best for you.
Avoid Distractions That Aren’t Necessary
Emails, social media, and smartphones are just some of the things that can be a distraction in the modern world. It’s easy to get pulled in the wrong direction when you’re trying to get things done. Because of this, it’s important to try to work with as few distractions as possible. You might find that working in small bits is the best way for you to do things. For instance, you could do something useful for 30 minutes at a time. When you’re losing your focus, you can take a five-minute break to refocus and clear your mind.
If you often have your phone on while you work, you may find that it takes your mind off of what you’re doing. You can solve this problem in a few ways. One is to turn off notifications or use the “Focus” or “Flight” settings. Having things pop up on the screen at any time means that you will always be on edge. Most of the time, it makes it hard to get into a “flow state,” which is often where the magic happens. When you turn these off, the whole process goes more smoothly. Think of things that are easy and small that you can do.
Check your time
Be honest: Are you really making the most of the time you have? Do you sometimes feel like the hours of the day pass you by and you don’t know where they went when the day is over? This is a common problem in our constantly connected, “plugged in” world. Toby Carrodus says that you can be more productive by doing a time audit, which is a smart and easy thing to do. How does that work? Well, for a whole day, or a whole week if you can, keep a detailed and honest log of everything you do during the day. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see how much time you waste that you could spend doing something more useful.
For example, you might be surprised when you add up all the time you spend on social media, surfing the web, watching TV, reading “news” sites, and other similar activities. What if you used those hours to do something useful or productive? If you do a time audit, you’ll see that saying “I don’t have time” is often just an excuse.
Let’s face it: everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. What makes us different is how we use them. Keeping track of your own time is a simple but powerful idea. When you make small changes every day that add up over time, you can get a lot out of it. “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” as the saying goes, and at the end of the day, all we have is time! This doesn’t mean you can’t relax, though, because it’s important to find time to refuel, but you’d be surprised at how much time we waste each week.
Keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing
When you’re a high-performer, you often have a long list of tasks to do, many of which have short deadlines. On top of that, the world is always changing and adapting to new challenges, so we often have to change what we think is most important. This makes it easy, especially if you are a high-performer, to get lost in the day-to-day of your chosen activity. Why? People who do well tend to love what they do and be completely absorbed by it.
This can sometimes make high-performers get too caught up in the little things and lose sight of the big picture. If you only pay attention to your constantly changing list of things to do, it’s easy for your attention span to get jumbled or even worn out. That’s why it’s important to take a break and get some exercise. But sometimes, not even this is enough. Toby Carrodus says that when you feel like giving up, you should remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Do you work hard to build your dream home for your family or take a trip with your kids? You want to get that next promotion, right? Or do you want to build a big business? You can stay focused on the task at hand and how it fits into your big picture by reminding yourself of your “why.” You can use something as simple as a picture on your desk, the wallpaper on your computer screen, or the background on your phone to remind yourself. Or it could be a quote on your desk or wall. Whatever it is, keep it close to help you stay focused and motivated when you might not be as productive.
It doesn’t have to be hard to be more productive at work every day. Toby Carrodus has built a routine and way of life that makes this possible over time. If you are looking for ways to get more done, you can try some of the things listed above. You don’t have to change everything about your life to make it better. Just make small, long-lasting changes every day, and you’ll see what a difference it makes. Why not use some of the tips above in your daily life right now?