Photographee.euWith the Holidays around the corner, we thought some ideas for increasing productivity would be just the ticket for a lot of us.  We scoured lists for the best tips and found our answers in an article by Todd Van Luling in The Huffington Post and Sujan Patel in Inc. Magazine.  The list below is what we think are the Top 12 tips.

1. Multitasking is actually impossible and you should probably stop trying to do it.  "Humans don't really multitask," concluded Eyal Ophir, the primary researcher on a groundbreaking Stanford Multitasking study released back in 2009. True multitasking -- that is, doing more than one thing simultaneously -- is a myth, as our brains are actually switching between tasks extremely quickly.

2. Shorter, more focused bursts of work will make sure you aren't diluting your energy.  The most effective workers are ones who attempt tasks in short bursts of concentration, rather than long bouts of meandering, according to a study published in Psychology Review.

3. Writing a realistic to-do list of goals and deadlines in the morning can keep you focused.  The "to-do" list is a staple of many, many "how to be productive" lists, but it isn't quite as simple as just writing down every lofty goal that comes to mind. It is absolutely essential that the tasks written down in the list will actually be completed or at the very least serve as ongoing notes to complete over a short time period.

4. Get rid of it.  If it's not absolutely necessary, take it off of your to-do list.

5. Peak levels.  Figure out your peak times for getting things done. Schedule your high-priority tasks for those times. Schedule less important tasks before and after.

6. The worst is over.  Knock your worst task out first thing, and clear it from your stack of work. This will create momentum and set a "victory tone" for the rest of your day.

Completing similar tasks together in batches helps you free up time that would otherwise be lost to the admin work associated with task switching. Use this process to handle things like phone calls, emails, or errands.

7. Relax your workspace.  We all work better in stress free environments. This includes your workspace. Read up on how to relax your workspace so that you'll be more comfortable each day.

8. Get out of your head.  Present your ideas and projects to others. They'll have a different angle to bring to the table, and you can use them to brainstorm ideas for improvements that will ultimately save you time.

9. Triage your projects.  Think  of your work schedule in the same way an emergency room nurse evaluates incoming patients. Let dying projects bite the dust and spend the saved time on ones that still matter.

10. Enough is enough.  Evaluate any clubs, subscriptions, and groups of which you're a member. If the time spent on them can't be justified, drop out. 

11. No trolls allowed.  Only associate with positive, successful people who encourage you to stay productive. Banish the negative influences from your life.

12. Batching.  Completing similar tasks together in batches helps you free up time that would otherwise be lost to the admin work associated with task switching. Use this process to handle things like phone calls, emails, or errands.


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