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Running late on meetings, grabbing lunch on the go (if at all), starting work early and finishing late with more work still left to do tomorrow. Does that sound familiar?

To ensure a healthy work life balance, productivity is everything.

However, the people that are most productive and efficient are not necessarily the busiest people. Productive people own their day versus letting their day own them, maximizing their time to be as productive as possible instead of just busy.

Here are seven powerful steps to help improve your productivity, stress levels, and life.

1. Perfection Is the Enemy of Productivity

Trying for perfection is a tiring action; there will always be more things to organize and more tasks to accomplish. Unlike busy people who spend time doing research, trying to learn all the possibilities, creating long to-do lists, and trying to make things perfect before they start – productive people start right away.

2. Avoid the Parkinson’s Law Effect:

Busy people tend to be overthinkers and have an incredible ability to expand their tasks to fill in the time they have available. According to Parkinson’s Law, the perception of importance and complexity of any task will always escalate with the more time allotted to the task. Determining the tasks that are most important and then scheduling less time for them actually improves productivity. This counterintuitive concept forces to shift the focus on important tasks with much more intent.

3. Focus on One Thing at a Time and Prioritize It

Distractions are the enemy of productivity. Not giving full attention to a task will sacrifice the quality of thoughts and work. Multitasking is for busy people, whereas productive people determine the one thing that will deliver the greatest results and do it right away. This goes hand-in-hand with another tip high-achievers swear by: time blocking. Block the time based on the goals and tasks that need to get done first. This allows the productive person to stay focused on one topic instead of bouncing around from one thing to another all day.

4.  Think Smaller

Learn to set smaller, accomplishable goals. Keep the big long-term goals but then set smaller daily goals to get there. People often overestimate how much they can accomplish in one day. Setting daily goals that are attainable helps to stay on track getting the most important things done even when getting side tracked with “busy work”. It is also more encouraging and builds confidence to have a list of three things that can be accomplished during a successful day instead of a long list of ten that cannot.

5. Follow the 2 Minute Rule

This tip is both easy to remember and easy to do. The 2-minute rule by David Allen states that if something can be done within 2 minutes, it is best to do it right away and not add it to the task/to-do/procrastination list. By doing this, far less energy and time is spent by getting it out of the way immediately.

6. Master the Calendar

Productive people are a wizard of their calendar. Scheduling properly can help keeping on track. If it is in the calendar, one is more likely to stick to the plan. A good start is to notate every minute of the current schedule for a few days including meetings, phone calls, meals, even bathroom breaks and random conversations. Logging the activity for a baseline can help to determine where time is being wasted – and help to fix it.

7. Take Regular Breaks

It may seem counterintuitive, but regular breaks increase productivity, if they are not too frequent or too long. Breaks give the mind and body a chance to rest and recover to be more efficient and productive after the break. Conversely, people who almost never take breaks when they work to become more productive, only succeed in exhausting themselves. They may work more, but at a much lower efficiency, which is bad for them and bad for the quality of the work they do.

Following these simple effective steps will support you in becoming a more productive person and you can start applying them immediately.  As soon as you begin, you’ll see your productivity improve. You will get more done, and the quality of your work will improve.

Have you had success applying any of the tools above? Let us know using the form below!