While some people might argue otherwise, the truth is, there’s no “secret formula” for productivity. When it comes down to it, productivity is a direct result of habits. With the right habits, you set yourself up for success in the productivity game—and with the wrong habits, you set yourself up for a major struggle in getting things done.
But what, exactly, are these “right” habits? What are the habits you can incorporate into your daily life to ramp up productivity—and completely transform your business in the process?
Develop a Morning Routine—and Stick to it
The way you start the day is the way you go through the day—so, if you want your day to be productive, you need to start the day on the most productive note possible.
When you ask productive people the secret to their success, nine times out of ten, the answer? The right morning routine. Everyone from Tim Ferriss to Oprah to Tony Robbins tout the benefits of a solid morning routine—and if you want to get on the same level of productivity, a consistent morning routine is a must.
Luckily, the morning routines of the world’s most successful people have a ton of similarities—and are easy to replicate if you’re willing to commit to saying “sayonara” to the snooze button. In The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Change Your Life Before 8am, author, speaker, and productivity guru Hal Elrod shares seven activities (which he describes using the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S.) that align with the habits of the world’s most productive people and, which he claims, will completely transform your life and business if you practice them every morning:
– Silence (aka meditation)
– Scribing (aka writing or journaling)
You don’t have to spend hours each morning on these activities—a few minutes of each is all you need to reap the benefits. So, your morning routine might start with five minutes of silent meditation, followed by five minutes of jumping jacks, five minutes of reading a book on personal development, five minutes of journaling, five minutes of visualization (which is the practice of envisioning the future life and business you want for yourself), and five minutes of saying positive affirmations in the mirror—30 minutes total.
But taking those 30 minutes to start your day with intention allows you to go through the rest of your day with intention. And, as a result, you can tackle your work with intention—and get a lot more done as a result.
Schedule Your Time in Blocks (and Focus on One Task per Block)
You might feel like you’re getting more done when you’re responding to emails while taking a conference call on your treadmill, but the truth of the matter is, you’re not—studies show that multitasking can reduce productivity by a whopping 40%.
Whenever you move between tasks, your brain has to shift mental gears from the previous task to the new task, which takes time and energy. So, the more you switch between tasks, the more your brain has to shift gears—and the less efficient and productive you become as a result.
If you want to get more done during the day, you need to stop trying to do everything at once—and instead, structure your schedule so you can focus on one task at a time.
Schedule your time in blocks where you can devote your time, energy, and focus to a single task. So, for example, you might want to schedule 30 minutes at the beginning of the day to read and respond to email, followed by one hour to work on a pressing project, followed by a 15-minute break to stretch, followed by an hour of business development, followed by 30 minutes for lunch. However you choose to block out your time is up to you, but if you want to be more productive, the key is to schedule a specific activity for each block—and then focus on that activity (and that activity alone) for the entire block.
When you focus on one activity at a time (instead of switching back and forth between ten tasks at once), your brain doesn’t have to shift mental gears to focus on a new task every ten seconds—and the time and energy you’ll save from that mental gear shifting will allow you to get a TON more done throughout the day.
Put Your Phone in Another Room
We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but that phone you have attached to your hand 24/7? It’s absolutely killing your productivity.
Between text messages, email alerts, and the near-constant urge to “just check” your social media profiles, your phone is always going to find a way to distract you from getting your most important work done throughout the day. And that’s true even when it’s off! A recent study found that having a phone on a desk while they worked had a negative impact on participants’ ability to focus and perform tasks—even if the phone was powered off.
If you want to ramp up your productivity and get more done during the day, do yourself a favor and put your phone in another room (don’t worry—it’ll still be there when you’re finished with work).
Take Control of Your Inbox
When it comes to productivity, email can be such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you need email in order to keep your freelance business up and running. But on the other hand, the constant onslaught of emails (most of which are spam, newsletters, or other non-urgent communications) can make it hard to focus and get things done.
If you want email to bolster your productivity instead of hindering it, you need to take control of your inbox. And the best way to do that? With Spike.
Spike is the world’s first conversational email tool, and we’re making freelancer’s lives easier (and more productive) by combining every tool you need in your inbox—from messaging to media, team collaboration to lightening speed search —and combining it into one unified, easy-to-use platform. Not only does Spike make it so your inbox is the only place you need to go to get things done (instead of switching back and forth between apps all day), but it also simplifies the process of managing your inbox. With features like Priority Inbox (which prioritizes your emails based on level of importance, ensuring you don’t miss any key communications) and bulk deleting (which also allows you to easily unsubscribe from newsletters or block spam with the touch of a button), you don’t have to spend hours every day sorting through a cascade of emails—and instead, you can take those hours back and use them to do the work in your business that really matters.
Taking control of your inbox is key if you want to ramp up productivity and transform your freelance business—and if you want to take control of your inbox, you won’t find a better platform than Spike.
Get Out There and Get Productive
Ramping up productivity isn’t rocket science—all it takes is the right habits. And now that you know what those habits are, all that’s left to do is get out there and start cultivating them.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and form some new habits—and watch your business completely transform in the process.