Productivity Tips for the Busy Person

Are you busy or productive? Read these top productivity tips.

Why is productivity important? How do you increase productivity in the workplace? This is a personal productivity blog that will give you a brief glimpse into the personal routines that I have established to stay on top of running the training facility at ACLAÍ, presenting the Rebel Matters Podcast, coaching, and my own training, as well as having some time aside for rest and recreation!

If you would like to work more effectively and improve personal productivity with the time that you have, here are my top 5 recommendations.

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1. Set a time limit for a task

I have started writing this blog directly after throwing a chicken in the oven, so in a way I am against the clock! Of course, I could technically go down and eat the chicken before resuming the writing session, but I feel that putting a time limit on each task means that I am focused on getting the job done in the allocated block rather than letting it drag out indefinitely.

2. Have your ‘To-do List’

Every day, I start with a list of tasks that need to be done. There is a certain satisfaction in checking tasks off a list as they get done, and I schedule my breaks in between completing 1 or more of the tasks. I have noticed that on days that I do not have a list to work from, I become distracted more easily and tend to get less done. That said, there are days when I do not want to work from a list and go with the flow a bit more, and trying to be uber productive all the time can wear you down! Lists are great, but not the be-all and end-all!

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3. Do the important things first

Once you have a list to work from, the next step is to establish what the most important thing on the list is. This is the thing that is going to progress your project forward the most. Generally it isn't paying a bill online or checking your emails. For me, the important tasks are mostly creating content like blogs or podcasts, meeting new members at ACLAÍ for their initial consultations to help get them started on the right foot with their training, and completing jobs that need to be done to allow other members of the ACLAÍ team to follow on with the next steps. Of course there are always ‘emergencies’ that pop up from time to time that need to be dealt with on the spot, but that’s a part of life I guess! I mostly try to get the creative work done first thing in the day and leave the jobs that require less brain power until later.  

4. Take time-out breaks

Taking refresher breaks in between bouts of concentrated work are really important for me to be able to stay productive for a prolonged period of time. This generally involved getting off my chair, going some a drop of water and a gulp of fresh air and maybe a stretch before getting stuck into the next job. A couple of minutes break at regular intervals might seem like waste of time, but I personally find that I get a lot more work done with better quality at the end of the day when I implement the mini breaks, and after all quality is more important than quantity!

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5. Have a go-to place for work

I have a little work station set up in the corner of my bedroom, and a comfy chair to sit in that makes it easy for me to get into a nice workflow. I work well in cafés as well. There is something about the background noise of people chatting and the chilled music of a hipster coffee shop that really helps me go deep into the work. The main thing is to have at least one place that you can easily get to for concentrated efforts of high quality work.

If you would like a few good resources for working productively, check out Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week, and Cal Newport’s Deep Work. Two very good books!

This Article is by Managing Director Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS