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Shorter Version


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So you want to get more done and be a more productive person…. good plan! The ability to focus and increase productivity are two key factors for achievement and success both personally and professionally. They are also giant equalizers in the game of life because they factor into how you use your time, and that is the biggest equalizer of all. Everyone gets 24 hours in a day – not a single minute more, not a single minute less.

But do you think the way Mark Zuckerberg structures his days and spends his time is a little different from you?

Maybe. If so, read on.

Learned habits

Productivity and it’s precursor, focus, are learned habits and skills. Nobody was born an inherently productive person, and it’s such a game-changing skill, yet rarely taught in schools! I’ve found it’s always a culmination of simple things, like learning to ignore your inbox outside of set times, planning your day, and setting time limits on all work-related activities. If you have ever struggled with these vitally important skills, take some tips from the list below and see if you can hone your focus super-powers and become a productivity ninja.

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Longer Version


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The most productive generation yet!

First of all, if you’re a millennial, kudos! Because in spite of all the bad press about millennials being entitled, lazy, and taking selfies all day, more and more big businesses are finding millennials to be the most productive generation yet. There are many things that factor into this; according to Forbes Magazine, millennials are “driven by passion, prioritize meaning over money, and embrace diversity.”

This adds up to not really caring about what someone’s last name is or where they went to school. There is more of a ‘let’s just get this done and make this happen!’ kind of attitude. And then there is the tech advantage; as Business.com states, “Technology has been ever-present for millennials, so they expect it in the workplace too,” and this is a game-changer.

But being driven and motivated isn’t a replacement for learned habits and skills any more than caring deeply about animals makes you an instant veterinarian. If you really want to rock your days, you could most likely use a few tweaks. Since you just can’t use every single productivity habit or tip you read about, pick the ones that work best for you and then stick to them.

Plan your day the night before

This is really my number one productivity hack. In spite of how you may feel before your morning java jolt, our brains are at peak performance in the AM. This precious time gets wasted away if you are wandering around just trying to figure out what to tackle first. Plan your first 3 key activities of the day and then wake up and get to it.

Added bonus: your subconscious actually works on these while you sleep so you’ll get them done easier and faster, and probably sleep better too.

Ignore your inbox as long as you possibly can

Email is a huge time-waster for most of us. It’s easy to wander down that rabbit hole of things you “should do.” Additionally, email puts you in problem mode because 95% of it is dealing with what somebody else wants you to do which could be anything from responding to an information request to buying a pair of shoes. It pulls your focus from important objectives of the day.

Break your day into 20-minute segments

Set a timer and see how much you can get done in just 20 minutes. This will get you laser-focused on one specific task. Avoid the urge to multitask – give your full attention to a particular issue. Also, stay away from your phone at this time and no social media! Repeat this process several times a day.

Any doubts that this time management hack works? You can read more about The Pomodoro Technique here.

Get organized to become a more productive person

Yes, there are some really successful people whose offices resemble a treasure hunt in the paper pile forest, but not often. Most high achieving, highly successful people are laser-focused, inside and out. This doesn’t include being surrounded by takeout food containers and mounting laundry or a precious “To Do” pile. Take some time, get it done, put it away, and clear space for bigger and better things.

Actionable Steps


1

Plan your day the night before

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

Make sure you know what you’re going to start with first in the morning. Things will come up but at least give yourself an outline with key tasks.

2

Detox your inbox

Schedule time for your email in 15 minute segments but try and put it off until later in the morning to avoid being sucked into unnecessary tasks or even drama.

3

Take 20

Set a timer and focus on one single task or project exclusively for 20 minutes, and then move on to the next.

4

One thing at a time

Avoid the urge to multitask – it’s less productive in the long run. I call it the “stand and sit rule.” You can stand or you can sit but you just can’t do them both at the same time.

5

Schedule your social

Watch how much time you spend on social media. Block it off for a few times a day – breaks, meals, and after the work day are ideal.

6

Start a new habit

Pick one or two from this list and stick with it every day for at least one week. See  how it’s working for you before you add another or change anything else.

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About the Author


Hunter Phoenix

Hunter Phoenix

Certified Professional Life Coach

Hunter has an M.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. For more than 10 years, she coached clients to find and follow their passion and live their best lives. Hunter has also done youth coaching work with Covenant House, realizing that this is such a challenging and important time in life.
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