You wouldn’t vacuum your carpet every time someone walks across it. That’s a waste of time and resources. Yet, many of us add equally pointless tasks to our endless to-do lists every day instead of learning to do less and accomplish more.
What if we changed our priorities? In this post, I’ll share five tips to help you get started.
When you create extra work for yourself, you experience burnout, stress, and exhaustion. Businesses have lost $200 to $300 billion in productivity just from stress-related illnesses alone.
Here’s how you can adjust your working style to maximize productivity and avoid burnout.
- Prioritize essential tasks over unnecessary tasks and distractions.
- Find ways to streamline a process through tools and delegation.
- Take time to recharge and relax, so you are more productive during working periods.
Do less and accomplish more with these 5 tips
Let’s explore how to live a more productive and healthier lifestyle by doing less to accomplish more.
1. Minimize distractions
The average employee in an office is distracted about every three minutes. Even your children, pets, phones, and TV may distract you at home.
To accomplish more by doing less, you need to eliminate unnecessary tasks. These are jobs that aren’t directly related to your end goal. So instead, list your most important jobs each day, and set aside any other tasks for another day.
For example, if you’re cleaning the dishes and notice one of your kitchen cabinets is getting out of control, you might be tempted to organize that cabinet. However, by the time you finish, your dishes may have taken two hours instead of one, which puts you an hour behind for the rest of your day.
By prioritizing your most important tasks, you stay focused and accomplish what you need each day without getting buried in extra jobs. Eliminating distractions requires knowing what must get done each day, what can wait, and when you should say no.
2. Focus on what you can control
If you’re trying to bake a cake, you wouldn’t sit in front of the oven and watch the cake heating up. Instead, you would focus on the tasks you can control—like putting in the correct ingredients, preheating the oven to the right temperature, and setting a timer so you know when to remove the cake.
The same mentality applies to your daily repsonsibilities. You can relieve a lot of stress by focusing on the things you can control.
To keep your mind on the end goal, aim for progress, not perfection. This means the situation may not turn out exactly how you planned, but as long as you take steps towards your end goal, you’re still succeeding.
For example, if you’re selling products for your business, you can’t control how people respond. But you can control how you market your business. This can help you accept the outcome, knowing that you are making progress even if just one person buys your product.
3. Address self-defeating thoughts
Negativity bias is a person’s tendency to dwell on negative thoughts, outcomes, and fears more than positive possibilities. Your negative thoughts hold you back from being productive.
Fear is a powerful negative emotion. You may worry that certain actions will cost you your job, friends, or even your family. In the face of fear, your body shuts down and keeps you from doing more with your time and energy.
Many people fear change—even positive change. So instead, we feel more comfortable in our familiar yet possibly negative situations. For example, someone may fear talking on the phone, so they avoid calling leads who might turn into loyal customers.
Negativity bias also causes you to accept a negative assumption as fact without proof. For example, you may tell yourself a new idea will fail before you even try it, or you assume someone doesn’t want to buy your product without even asking first.
Learn to replace “I can’t do this” with “I will try to do this.” Look for the good in everything before discounting it for the bad. While it might feel counterintuitive to productivity, sometimes you need to take a step back first. Go for a walk, read a book, or engage in a hobby that will clear your mind of negativity so you can embrace a more positive perspective.
When you approach tasks with optimism and positive feelings, they become less burdensome and feel more effortless.
4. Take breaks to recharge
Which is easier—running a full marathon in one day or running a mile a day over a month? Sometimes, you need to spread out your tasks and take frequent breaks to be more productive at work.
People who don’t sleep enough cost the U.S. over $411 billion annually. When you’re tired, you are more likely to make mistakes, forget important information, and take longer to do simple jobs.
According to the popular Pomodoro technique, you should take a quick break after 25 minutes of complete focus on a task. Then, after four 25-minute segments, you should take a 30-minute break to recharge your mind and body.
Here are some ways you can spend that time recharging to increase productivity:
- Read a book
- Take a nap
- Eat a healthy snack
- Go for a walk
However, avoid breaktime activities that aren’t relaxing or are too closely related to your job. Some examples include:
- Scrolling through social media
- Answering emails
- Watching TV
- Planning what you are going to do next
To begin your day relaxed, establish a morning ritual conducive to a productive day.
5. Ask for help
Sometimes you won’t be able to do everything you want in the amount of time you have. But instead of hurting your productivity by multitasking or burning out, be strong enough to ask for help. For example, you can ask a family member to help with chores around the house, delegate work tasks to other coworkers, or ask friends to stop by and babysit so you can focus on other tasks.
Unfortunately, you won’t always have a person available to help. But you do have other tools and services that can ease some of your burdens. For example, you can order take-out food, so you don’t have to stress about cooking dinner, or purchase productivity tools to help you organize business tasks. You can even consider hiring outside help so you can accomplish more instead of spreading yourself thin.
Make a positive change in your life
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your current work-life balance, consider a change. You can do less and accomplish more by finding a job that works with your life instead of trying to work your life around your job.
At Vector, we offer a flexible work opportunity while balancing your other obligations.
If you want to make a positive change and become more productive, contact us today to learn more.