One: If the task takes less than two minutes, do it now.
This 2-minute rule was created by author and consultant David Allen in his book Getting Things Done.
How many times does an unfinished task run through your mind, followed by your internal response of “Oh crap, I still have to do that”, only for that urgency to be forgotten because, well, the day is filled with things that need to be thought about?
If the task takes less than two minutes, make a habit of doing it right when you think about it. That way, it won’t pop up over and over again, each time bringing with it that extra anxiety of procrastination.
Two: Prioritize doing the thing that you’re dreading.
Energy is the limiting factor of how productive you can be each day. Anxiety and dread suck your emotional energy. Whatever it is that you really don’t like doing, do that thing first. This will benefit you in a few ways:
- You’ll get the task done.
2. You’ll ensure that the minimum amount of your emotional energy has been lost.
3. You’ll show yourself that you can overcome your anxiety, which is in itself an energizing experience.
Three: Minimize your decision-making.
This is an often-repeated piece of advice given by highly productive individuals. Making decisions requires energy, and if we can cut that cost as much as possible, we’ll be saving energy that can be used as fuel for other productive tasks.
For example, separate out your week’s work clothes during the weekend. This way you’ll know exactly what you’ll be wearing without rummaging through your closet for possible combinations of shirts, skirts, pants, and shoes.
We might think we love a plethora of options, but humans are overwhelmed by choices. By designing your environment in such a way that the past version of you has already limited the choices your future self has to make, you’re helping save that critical time and energy you need each day.
Four: Seriously, get some sleep.
Life is a marathon, though it often feels like a sprint. If you don’t prioritize ample rest, burnout is waiting just around the corner. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Even though we don’t know exactly what sleep accomplishes, we do know that sleep deprivation contributes to depression and obesity, among other energy-sapping conditions.
Take sleep seriously. Give yourself a productivity cut-off time, and after that, start to unwind and get ready for rest.
These four methods to increase your productivity are small changes with a high impact. Sometimes, small and consistent changes can lead to huge improvements in your life. It’s worth a try.