How to Be More Productive In Less Time

I know title has two similar words meaning the same thing in one line –i.e. being productive & less time.  The main idea of being productive is to get same routine work done faster. You can think of title as more of clickbait, to get your attention to this blog post. In today’s distracted world it is necessary to use repetitive words of same context to seek attention – in this case to my blog post. Now that’s settled let me move on to this article which I hope will help you in same way or the other to be more productive.

I have read few books and listened to few audiobooks as well on this topic in last few months and have tried to implement few techniques and tricks put forward by the authors in my daily life to help me get most out of my day. I don’t claim to be most productive person in the world, but in last few weeks, I have definitely improved my work flow to accomplish many tasks which otherwise would not have been possible.

TL: DR:

  • Create Routine : Complete Daily Recurring Tasks Via Your Routine
  • Make Habit Out of This Routine & Log Your Habits To Review & Get Instant Gratification
  • Keep Daily Time Log : For Weekly Review & Fine Tune Your Routine
  • 80/20 Principle: Use 80/20 Pareto Principal To Your Advantage
  • Try doing Work Tasks Using Pomodoro Technique

A. Create Routine: Complete Daily Recurring Tasks Via Your Routine

If you had to take most important point of this blog post, it would be following – Create a Routine.  I have tried making my own personal routines. They are as follows

  • Routine: When I wake up between 5-5.30am
  • Routine: When I wake up between 7-7.30am
  • Routine: When I wake up around 9am
  • & so on and so forth.

Each routine has timeboxing implemented wherein each time slot is dedicated for each activity I plan to do in that time slot.  

Earlier most of my time was wasted as I had not properly planned my day activity beforehand. Now my personally defined routine guide me through the day by giving rough idea on which tasks need to be handled at a particular timeslot.

I have created routines based on the time I wake up, as more than often earlier my routines used to get disrupted if I woke up late than usual time. If I have attended a party of function day before and slept late, I make it a point to get enough sleep of 7hrs to be productive during the course of entire day.

With routine already created and in hand, more tasks are accomplished

I have started using app TimeTune ( Android ) for above to create my routine and give me clear indication on what I am supposed to do at particular timeslot.

B. Make Habit Out of Your Routine & Log Your Habits To Review & Get Instant Gratification

The only way to work in an automated/faster way is to create a Habit, especially if the tasks are of recurring nature. You need not spend much time/energy on the task once it becomes a part of your habit – which in turn helps you to focus / devote more time to other tasks you have left pending.

Experts believe it takes 21 days of repetitiveness to form a new habit. While some believe its more than 66 days.  Personally, I feel it takes 21 days to grow the “seed” of your new task to a small plant. While it takes more than 45+ days to make it a firm strong plant, which cannot be easily uprooted. However this number differs from person to person. I will leave it upto you to personally find number of days it takes you to form a new habit.

Creating New Habits is a difficult task. Author of James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits” has suggested 4 main principals wherein you can create your habit.  They are

  • Make it Obvious
  • Make It Attractive
  • Make it Easy
  • Make It Satisfying

Reverse is also true, in case you want to get rid of bad habit.

Using above principals and Habit Stacking ( adding new habit you wish to develop ) to your existing habit so that is becomes easy to implement it is quite possible to do your tasks quickly.

Make sure to track your habits so that it becomes easier to review them later. Apps like Habitica, Loop, Habitbull etc. can help you track your habit. Daily logging of such habits gives you some instant gratification if you start completing them regularly and in timely fashion e.g. Yay! I have woke up at 5.a.m. since last 20 days and counting etc.

C. Keep Daily Time Log : For Weekly Review & Fine Tune Your Routine

Earlier more than often, my entire day passed without me doing anything substantial. By keeping daily time log – timesheet, I keep myself accountable now on how I spent my entire day.  Weekly/Daily Review helps me to understand how much time I spent on work vs sleep vs family vs other things.  It has also helped me find activities that unnecessarily wasted my time and try to reduce such activities.  While reviewing my routines, I  use this new data to make my routine much more productive.

Using aTimelogger currently

D. 80/20 Principle: Use 80/20 Pareto Principal To Your Advantage

No productive article is complete without mentioning the 80/20 Principal. More than 20% of work accounts for 80% of revenue etc. Using the above principal I have now started compressing my daily “To-Do” list to maximum of 5-6 Main Tasks a day & Additional 3-4 Mini Tasks. This has helped me to complete the “To-Do” tasks quickly with more favourable outcomes.

E. Try doing Work Tasks Using Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique is a technique wherein you work for particular X amount of time and then take a Y amount of break before continuing your work again. In a typical setting, you should ideally work for 25 mins followed by 5 mins. Each 25 min slot is called as “pomodoro”. After 4 “pomodoro” you should take a long break of 15 mins. Individuals can fine tune this setting as per their needs. Main idea behind the technique is to take small break a regular intervals of time so that your body/brain activity gets some time to rest and get revitalized to continue the work again with same enthusiasm and energy.

I try to divide each of my earlier main tasks into individual pomodoros . For e.g.

Task 1 – 3 pomodoro

Task 2 – 1 pomodoro

Task 3 – 2 pomodoro

So on and so forth.

Using Focus To-Do currently

The above techniques have helped me in last few weeks to be more productive.

Needless to say, I am still experimenting to achieve more in my life. Any techniques , ideas that you have to be more productive, I am eager to listen and hopefully incorporate them as well in my life.