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What successful people do to increase productivity

It’s no surprise that many of us struggle with productivity. In Australia, the last five years have seen a modest 1.8% increase in productivity per year. Whilst we know the productivity challenge is a global problem, what could we do to improve it for ourselves?

From Tim Ferris’s Tools of Titans, to the various Forbes lists – we love to pick the brains of the highly successful. How did they get so much done in their lives? Are they immune to procrastination? Possibly not. They could have had a handy list of productivity hacks up their sleeves.

We’re betting it looked a little bit like this:

Timeline your ‘to-do’ lists

Don’t just write out a ‘to-do’ list – write out how long each task should take you. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get done in a day when you don’t leave wiggle room and only allow yourself certain timeframes.

Batch tasks

Amanda Boleyn, of the entrepreneurial podcast She Did It Her Way, is a massive fan of ‘batching’. Take a look at the to-do list you just wrote and ‘batch’ together similar tasks. For instance, all accounting tasks, all writing tasks, all email tasks. This makes life a bit easier on your brain as it doesn’t have to keep switching between roles.

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Schedule blocking

Combine the above two tips, and write tasks in your diary in hourly slots. To maximise this hack, you’ll need a diary with hour breakdowns – like a Passion Planner. Schedule blocking psychologically concentrates your mind on the task at hand, for the hours you’ve assigned to it. As humans we quite like parameters – and we certainly like giving ourselves a pat on the back when we’ve achieved something.

Look after yourself

Simply having a great breakfast can supercharge your day. Hit the slow release carbs, protein and fruit at breakfast time. Have an oily fish salad for lunch and keep dinners light. Don’t just eat right, move right. Exercise is proven to have a positive impact on brain health, and healthy grey matter means hyper-productivity.

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Airplane mode for the win

Our phones are one of the biggest distractions when it comes to staying focused and avoiding procrastination. If you’ve got a meaty task ahead of you, stick your phone in a drawer, on silent or (better yet) on airplane mode. You can set regular breaks to check it, if you need to – but out of sight needs to be out of mind.

Keep it neat

A messy, dark or smelly work environment isn’t going to do anything for your productivity. Whether you’re at home or in an office, get the windows open, allow natural light in and ditch all the clutter.

Tools to utilise

Want to know the best tools to kick-butt your productivity?

Xero – automate your accounts, send invoices, track expenses and keep an eye on cash-flow – all from your phone.

Evernote– popular the world over, Evernote syncs up your to-do lists, project management and helps you manage teams. It’s desktop and smartphone compatible, meaning you’re always in the loop.

Planoly– no time for your own social marketing? Planoly allows you to schedule your Instagram posts ahead of time. Utilize your new schedule blocking skills and set aside an hour to week to plan.

Boomerang– take control of your emails and decide when you want to reply and receive messages. Remember those distractions we talked about? Boomerang makes them a thing of the past.

Ready to make a change? Try one of our tips per week and see how much difference it makes to your productivity.