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Eight Ways to increase productivity

8 Ways to Increase Productivity

With so much going on these days, it’s become important to optimize productivity when we want to get things done. Luckily there are a few simple tweaks that most of us can make to our days to massively increase our productivity.

Outsource when possible

No article on increasing productivity would be complete without mentioning the Pareto Principle. You’ve probably heard of it before, but if you haven’t, it states that 20% of our, effort will get us 80% of the results for any task.

This has been found to be true across just about every field of human endeavor.

And it doesn’t take much thought to see why: There are millions of skills that it’s possible to have. For each of us, there are a few skills we excel at, and many skills we’re good enough to get by.

As you might imagine, with millions of skills that we could learn, it’s simply not possible to pick up all of them. And since it typically takes at least 5 years to become an expert at a skill, we can only become experts at a handful of things.

On top of that, even when we’re good at something, we don’t necessarily enjoy it. Lack of enjoyment can lead to us putting things off. When we do this, we tend to find other tasks to distract us. And that leads to one of the biggest killers of productivity: Procrastination.

On the other hand, when it’s a task that we enjoy and excel at, part of that skill is that we can do that task more efficiently than most other people.

For each of those tasks that we don’t excel at, one of three things will be true.

First, there are always new things that we’re learning to do. There are so many things that we could learn that it’s important to check in with ourselves to make sure it’s of benefit to us. So with these tasks, take a few moments to ask yourself why. And then make a decision: Keep on learning, or outsource it now.

Second, there are tasks that we enjoy doing. A lot of people love cooking or cleaning. At the same time, a lot of people cook and clean because it never occurred to them to hire someone else to do it.

Let me give you an example.

Suppose your house requires 4 hours of cleaning a week. Depending on where you live, it might cost as much as $100 to have someone do it for you. It’s probably a lot less. Compare that to how much you could have made had you simply worked for those hours. By hiring someone else to do tasks like this, you free up time, which in turn increases your productivity.

Take some time and assess those tasks that you do on a regular basis. Not just the home tasks, but business ones as well.

Unless you’re doing them for enjoyment or to unwind, there’s a good chance that your time would be better spent doing something else.

Finally, there are some tasks that we just don’t enjoy. Or that we have no interest in. In these cases, your time is almost certainly better spent elsewhere. So outsource them.

When we take the time to identify those tasks where we’re getting 80% of our results, and focus our efforts on them, our productivity soars.

Avoid multitasking

Our human brains are only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. It feels like we can focus on more because we can place our attention on between 5 and 9 things at once.

Virtually all tasks require us to track more than 9 things.

This means that the only way we can multitask is by constantly moving our attention. And the cost of moving our attention between different tasks is not small. Even for simple tasks, attempting to multitask significantly decreases our productivity.

Not convinced?

Studies have shown that the people who are worst at multitasking are precisely those people who think they’re good at it.

To maximize your productivity, focus on just one task at a time.

Bring plants into your workplace

Plants have an almost magical effect on our well-being. For thousands of years, people have enjoyed getting out in nature and have filled their homes and workplaces with plants.

More recently, studies have shown that the benefits of being around plants include a reduction in stress, improved mood, better memory, better concentration, more creativity, increased intelligence, and higher productivity.

You read that right.

Plants make us feel better while simultaneously making us smarter and more productive.

Minimize interruptions

When we’re working optimally, we tend to move into the flow or the zone. It can take us a while to get into the flow, so if we want to maximize our productivity, it’s important to take steps to minimize the risk of us being knocked out of it.