3 Simple Practices to Increase Your Productivity, Creativity and Effectiveness

waterI don’t know about you; but I like the idea of getting MORE out of LESS.

Spending less time and energy and getting bigger outputs and RESULTS.Does that sound of interest for you too? If so, you have come to the right place.

Recently I was away for a couple of nights with my business colleague on a ‘work getaway’ where we aimed to get really clear on our business initiatives, develop some creative ideas for a project and also to establish how to get the most effective results possible.I realised while I was there I was SUPER productive, creative and effective at doing the work thing and so I thought I would do a quick analysis to see what made that place experience so effective, and how could I bring that level of output back to my (home) office.

And here are the 3 things I think make the most difference.

 

Productivity Practice Number 1: The most important

If you do no others, but just do this, you will be on a winner.TAKE MORE FREQUENT BREAKS!!!

Hands up (with me) if you are pretty crapola at taking regular breaks. If you power away like a beaver, not even stopping to fill your empty glass with water (which for me is the sign of a crazy person because the water dispenser is only 50cm from my desk) and working away for hours at a time, you are likely to be REDUCING your productivity and especially creativity.

The fact is one creative insight can be more effective than 10 hours of grunt work.

I think taking a break every 30-90 mins is a must.
And to make the break time even more effective, take your break where you can experience or see some beauty or nature. Even if that means closing your eyes to do so.

Broadening your perspective physically, while taking some refreshing breaths, and looking at something other than your computer screen, gives your brain the chance to rest, rejuvenate and then create some magic.

Get outside for some fresh air.

Take more breaks!
Got it?
What do you need to do?
You know it. Now do it.

 

Productivity Practice Number 2: Mix things up

My partner Ferry also works from home. And the funny thing is that when I go to speak to her through the day, I often have to look in a few different places to find her.

She moves around the house. Working from different places and spaces. Sometimes at a desk. Sometimes on the floor. Sometimes standing up.

I actually find that moving about increases my creativity and anti-boredom when I am doing more mundane tasks. Our brains like a bit of variety. They fire off a bit of dopamine, contributing to our sense of well-being and assisting with the transmission of signals between nerve cells.

It is in this more elevated (feel-good) state that you are likely to do your best work and have your best ideas.

The other thing, which my partner does extremely well, and which I touched on in my last post about how to increase your peace, is the idea of taking a break from hard work and doing something completely unrelated to the work. Like a hobby or a chore or something completely mundane, like going to the stationary storeroom and getting some new pens or more staples.

My partner is WAY more productive than me. And I forever see her doing chores around the house, or doing some cooking, or reading a book. She is a powerhouse when it comes to laser focused work, but I think part of her secret is being 100% engaged in work, and then doing something unrelated (like a hobby or a mundane household chore), which allows her to come back to her ‘work’ 100% ready to go again.

So, Practice  2, mix up the heavy mental lifting with something a little lighter and more mundane; plus test the concept of working in different spaces throughout your work day.

 

Productivity Practice Number 3: Drink water

Stay hydrated.
Your brain is over 70% water; so drink more of it.

Mental effectiveness decreases when you are dehydrated.
Your mental effectiveness increases when you are hydrated.

I know you have got this.
Now, drink up! (and not that extra double espresso!)

 

Productivity Super Important Tip: Creative time

I have been working for and by myself since 2007, and I have found it to be a game changer when I actually SCHEDULE ‘Creative Time’ on my calendar.

I don’t leave creative insights, and business innovation up to chance. I block out time on my calendar to do the creative thing. I don’t have a fixed agenda the majority of the time, but I allow myself to be a bit floaty and flexible and less intense, and this is where I often come up with my best ideas.

Therefore…

Step 1 – do it!
Step 2 – set up the right environment. The best environment is probably very different from your normal workplace. It might be in a cafe, in the park, beside a river, in a gallery, while taking a walk, etc.

If you are an entrepreneur or business owner or manager, this time is ESSENTIAL and very POWERFUL.

 

Productivity Extra’s: Some final suggestions

Here are some general suggestions:

– Make sure your workplace is well-lit
– Make sure you have good airflow or air quality
– Get to know your energy flows (I usually stop work between 2-4pm)
– Get clear of priorities (don’t work on non-essential stuff)
– When you hit a wall take a mini break (and drink some water)
– Take mini-breaks from the computer screen often

 

My final words

I have always been interested in how to get more ESSENTIAL stuff done in less time, with less energy, which is sustainable, and which has the highest return on investment (ROI).

Therefore I am hopeful that at least one thing I shared today resonated for you.
Now put this new idea or useful reminder into play today and see what impact it makes.

I want you to enjoy your work, have a positive influence on others, but also have enough time left in a day to spend with your families, pets and loved ones.

Time to get more done in less time.
All the best with that!!

As always, thank you for joining me for this conversation.

Have a wonderFULL day and week!
Take care and much love.
Carl

 

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