5 simple ways
to increase productivity.

It’s 2020 and we’ve all hit the ground running with a new year, new goals & new energy! We’ve got 5 simple tips to increase your productivity along with an inside look at 818’s “Let’s Do This” notepad that we use for increasing productivity & intention with our time.

First, making lists is great — we make them for chores around the house, packing for vacation, grocery shopping, tasks at work — but completing them is what really matters. The problem I have with making lists at work is two-fold. First, they are really, really long. There are endless tasks that could grab my attention at any point in the day. Second, some of the tasks are huge. A 20-hour project stares at me all day, asking for the strikethrough, and never getting it. Disappointing, right? This is where the magic of three comes in. Make a very specific list of three tasks. Only three. Keep it measurable, keep it simple, nothing huge. Mind-blowing stuff, I know. But the reason this works is that it is reachable. The stress of a long list can be paralyzing. If it is a big project, be sure to break it down into smaller tasks for this list. Pick only what you must get done that day and focus your efforts there. That long list of to-dos will get done more efficiently using the magic of three.

You know that feeling. It’s about 2:00 pm and you are as stale as the chips you left open in your desk drawer last week. The fastest, healthiest, most immediate fix to this is to move around. Talk to your co-workers and see if they have a different angle to bring to the table that will ultimately save you time. Even if it is just 3–5 minutes, getting up and out of your chair will do wonders for your brain and your workflow. If a solution still isn’t hitting you, shift to a different task for a while and come back to it at a later time with a fresh perspective.

Instead of focusing on working fast, try focusing on working smart. Figure out when & where your peak environment is for getting things done and be sure to schedule your most important tasks for those times. Plan your day around your energy level. I don’t know about you but saving that pressing email/task/issue until the afternoon leaves me feeling anxious and stressed about it all day. It clouds whatever task I am working on, giving me less than 100% power for any project. Starting with those big, yucky tasks at the beginning of the day gives me a sense of accomplishment that fuels me later in the day to plow through easy projects when I’m more worn out. My morning block is always dedicated to daunting tasks. But, that might not be when you work best. Listen to your body! Look at currents of your energy and protect the time surrounding your peaks for your best work. Try hiding for a while during that time and don’t be as available to everyone. No interruptions + 100% focus = results.

Set both short-term and long-term goals (personally, professionally, and for your organization!) and adjust them often. Not having goals is like jumping in a car and taking off with no destination. Where are you going? Where do you turn? Which route can you take? What obstacles could be in the way? Without goals or a destination in mind, you are wandering around with no intention. When setting goals, identify which tasks you can’t wait to complete, which ones you are dreading, and in either instance, which ones you aren’t the most qualified to do. Consider delegating or outsourcing the work that needs to get done in order to hit a goal more efficiently. If someone else can do it (and better), let them. The task will still be completed, but your time will be freed up for more intentional work best aligned for you.

Before you call it quits at the end of the day, reflect on what you accomplished and be grateful even on the days when you get derailed. Look ahead and decide what to transfer to tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day — let’s do this!


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Des Moines, IA 50309