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5 Ways to Increase Productivity

We always hear about those impressive professionals who juggle so many projects at once that than what would seem humanly possible. But you can be superhuman too – and without the burnout!

We’ve assembled 5 of the most creative productivity and project management hacks, so that you can increase productivity and manage projects and deadlines like a boss, too.

1 – Reinvent How You Make Lists to Increase Productivity

There is plenty of evidence supporting the use of lists. Even the physical activity of checking items off a list can help us to feel like we’ve been more productive and therefore drives us to be actually be more productive for the remainder of the day!  

But Author, Ben Schott, suggests reinventing the way you make lists. Rather than making a list in the linear fashion that you’re accustomed to, make lists that resemble your thought process.

Start in the center of a page and write items in spatial relation to one another, so that you create clouds of related tasks.

How many times have you begun adding items to your to-do list, only to realize you forgot to add related tasks to the corresponding items? Immediately, your list becomes unorganized and not so ideal.

Imagine if you got into the habit of making cloud lists? You could group your thoughts and add related to-do tasks to the bigger item.

For example, in the production of this article, I used a cloud list to help me stay on track.

Here is what it looked like:

cloud lists to help productivity

2 – Exercise in the Workplace to Increase Productivity

There’s a reason Japanese companies are encouraging group stretch and exercise mid-work-day. Exercise forces employees to break out from the monotony of the day’s tasks and stimulates energy and thus, increased productivity.

Test out this midday exercise theory by doing squats, recommends author Graham Rand.

Do enough of them that you’ve really energized your whole body. Following your bathroom workout, your added blood flow and energy levels will propel you forward into your most productive afternoon ever.

3 – Start at the Finish Line and Work Your Way Back

Sometimes, establishing an end-goal and outlining the steps in reverse of how to best achieve it, is the perfect approach to leading your team to success.

This is exactly what Creative Director, Dalton Crosthwait, does at Monstro Creative Agency:

In developing a detailed action plan for a project, I always work backwards by typing out milestones in an outlined form. So, I start with the successful delivery of [whatever the project entails], with [supplemental success indicators like client understanding, campaign strategy, etc.], and build out the steps it will take to get there.

When taking this ‘backwards’ approach in the early stages of planning, it draws out conversation and questions that would likely not have been encountered until much later on in the process. Dalton explains:

This often helps uncover a myriad of questions that are helpful to ask early on, as well as strategy points. It also creates a vision in my mind, as the project manager, of the entire path to success – often sparking inspiration and immediate momentum.

Think of all the projects you’ve been involved it. Surely, everyone has experienced the “I wish we would have thought of that earlier,” moment when an unforeseen circumstance impacts the project.

Leave those homer simpson "doh" moments moments in the past by employing this planning method!

4 – Protect Your ‘Work’ Mode by Grouping Your Meetings Together to Increase Productivity

Grouping your meetings together so that they’re back-to-back helps to protect that precious time when you’re really in the groove and feeling productive.

The easiest way to do this is to identify the time of day you feel the most productive, and then block that time off in your calendar. Your calendar tells others meeting organizers that you’re unavailable during that time, which forces meetings to all be scheduled in the same block of the day.

If you’re a morning person and plan to make your afternoon the ‘available for meetings’ time of day, consider blocking off your work calendar from the time you leave work. That way, meeting organizers can’t book meetings beyond your ‘home time’ hour. In this day and age of ‘always-work-because-who-needs-rest,’ it’s critical to protect your downtime and attempt to leave the office at a decent hour.

5 – Make a Case for Improving the Office Climate Control System to Increase Productivity

We’re serious. Research shows that employee productivity, among other things, are drastically impacted when office temperatures are set below 68 degrees.

How drastically? Well, employee errors increase by 44%, and overall, people were 10% less productive every hour of the work day. That’s why this is being included on a list of productivity tips!

If your office feels more like a meat locker, present articles such as this to your leadership team to help quantify the impact of the icy temps – which according to the research, is anything above 68 degrees.

How Do You Increase Productivity?

Discovering your productivity groove is about finding what works for you. But, if we all shared how we best manage our time, we could inspire each other to experiment with more productivity tricks than what we discover on our own.

Inspire us – let us know how you stay on track in your day to day juggling of responsibilities!

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  • Karen DeBoer
    June 14, 2014, 9:25 am

    Great reminder, Lin! I know so many of these principles, but a
    healthy reminder from time to time is very necessary! It’s time for me to get back on the bandwagon!

  • Nicole Bandes
    June 14, 2014, 1:15 pm

    I teach my clients that the most important step is to get a good night’s sleep. Without adequate sleep, no amount of coffee will keep your head clear enough to be at your peak productivity. The next step is to always have a game plan. Plan out your week in advance and always review the night before.

  • Piotr Smętek
    September 11, 2018, 3:32 pm

    Very interesting