I want to talk about the three secrets to productivity. I’m going to share three strategies that I’ve learned from other people, but I’ve implemented in my life to see great gains in my focus and my level of productivity and output.
Productivity Tip #1: Eliminate Distractions
How easy is it to get distracted in this day and age, by any and everything out there? From notifications on social media, email, text message, etc. These come from the people we work with, family members, the news, weather, you name it. We have never been in a time when we’ve had any more distractions readily available throughout our day. So what I found is in order to be proactive, focused and singular in our focus, we really need to eliminate the distractions, both digital and non-digital from our life.
It’s hard to do initially because it requires a detachment from what we’ve been used to. And, you know, studies have shown that endorphins and dopamine are released when we get a notification. We check our social media to see if somebody liked a recent post, or if someone replied to a text message. We have to learn to live without that though, because until we do, we’ll continue to be beholden to other people’s demands. Other people’s actions. We will be in reactionary mode. So here’s a couple of tactics. I’ve done this recently and it’s opened up a whole lot of head space and helped me be more productive and focused on my actual work at hand.
Turn off all notifications on your phone. All of them.
Go into each app where it says “allow notifications” you say no, that means you don’t get anything on the lock screen. You don’t get a vibration, text message or a notification that somebody likes your Facebook posts or Instagram, no texts, email nothing. Then time block certain times in your day to check email and text messages and get back to people. Maybe you have to ease into that. Maybe you can’t totally reduce all your notifications and maybe you can’t with texts, make them totally silent. Cause you have kids or there might be an emergency. But you can ease into this and wean yourself off of the social media and the other mail apps and other things. Time block the times when you’ll respond, go in and start, conduct and end your day proactively not reactively and remove notifications.
Studies have also shown every time we get a distraction and a notification, we take our attention away from what we’re doing. It takes us up to 20 minutes to restore that focus, 20 minutes! And the average person gets dozens of notifications an hour. So think about it. We’re never truly focused on the work at hand. So we’re not the most productive we could be. We’re not focused on output. We’re not really getting things done to the level that we could. So first strategy is remove all of those notifications and distractions.
Productivity Tip #2: Pomodoro Technique
The second is embrace and implement a technique called the Pomodoro technique. Now what this states is, we work in blocks. We work for 20 focus minutes and then take a 5 minute break. Then 20 focused minutes, 5 minute break, 20 focused minutes, 5 minute break. Then we take a final 20 minute break.
So essentially we get 60 minutes of focus work with 15 minute breaks before we take a 20 minute break. And that’s how we organize our morning and our afternoon workday. Another pro tip is turn on some yoga music, native American flute, or binaural beats that can help you focus. Have that going on in the background while your phone’s got zero notifications on. You can be so deeply focused in the deep work that’s at hand that you can produce better work in less time and you’ll feel better about it. That’s the second technique. Try the Pomodoro technique.
Productivity Tip #3: Safeguard your personal time
And the third strategy here or secret to increasing your productivity is safeguarding your personal time. By that I mean, take time off, make sure that you safeguard time in your morning routine, as well as at the end of the day for you, for things that are important to you, hobbies, reading, working out, affirmations, journaling, gratitudes. Those things are important that help you actually be more centered, more focused and more productive at work and in life. So protect this time also protect more extended personal time, meaning vacations and schedule these ideally in advance.
I’m a huge promoter of scheduling 4 of these a year, once a quarter for a least a long weekend 3 to 4 days at a minimum. Ideally you’re taking 1 week off every 3 months and a couple in between here and there scheduled vacation time. First personal time with you, your loved ones, your friends and family, and then schedule work and projects around that that will increase productivity.
So hopefully these are of value to increase your overall productivity. Try these, you know, implement them. Not maybe to the fullest extent, like I did turning off all notifications, but try them and let me know how it works. Try it for a few days. Try it for a week. Are you more productive? Do you feel more focused? Are you more creative? Is your work better? Remember first technique, eliminate distractions and notifications digitally, and non-digital remove them from your life. Two, try and implement the Pomodoro technique. Three, safeguard your personal time.