3 Surefire Ways to Be More Productive

Clear your mind, fuel your body, and lighten your workload with these three productivity tips.
Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed
June 08, 2012

A simple Amazon.com search for books on productivity will bring up more than 46,000 results. Don't waste your time sifting through reviews, take the next 4 minutes to read the following tips that will help clear your mind, fuel your body, and lighten up your workload.

Meditate for 10 minutes per day. Turn off your phone, shut down your computer, and close your door. Now get into a comfortable seated position, set a timer, close your eyes and put your hands on your lap. With each inhale think the words ‘I am.’ With each exhale think the word ‘peaceful.’ Dr. Robert Puff has sworn by this meditation for 25 years.

“I’ve only missed one day of work in that whole time and it is all because of meditation,” says Puff, a clinical psychologist in Newport Beach, Calif., and host of the free Meditation for Health Podcast.

The more you meditate, the deeper the relaxation. And, as Puff explains, a relaxed mind is a more productive mind because meditation is like taking “a mini vacation, it helps you stay in the game.”

Even if you aren’t convinced, give it a try (10 minutes every day) and compare your work productivity. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.

Eat, a lot. Binge eating is a surefire way to topple your productivity. Instead, focus on consuming 5-6 small meals, each containing fat, protein, carbohydrates and fiber, recommends Katie Clark, a registered dietitian in San Diego, Calif.

A meal might be a half sandwich with fruit, and snacks could be string cheese, a bag of low-fat popcorn, oatmeal, and a handful of nuts.

Avoid packaged snack foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, especially energy drinks. “They will pick you up for a short period of time, but eventually cause a sugar crash,” she notes. “It’s the crashing that helps defeat productivity.”

Delegate. It’s hard not to be a micro-manager, especially if you are running your own business. The good news: delegation doesn’t need to be difficult. Dr. Donna Genett offers six steps to success in her book If You Want It Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself! The Power of Effective Delegation.

1. Prepare. Instead of always choosing your top dogs to delegate to (leading them to overwork and burnout), Genett recommends passing on tasks to other members of your organization. Decide whom to delegate to and prepare what you want them to do in advance of a meeting.

2. Get specific with your expectation of results. Delegating tasks isn’t enough. Before letting your employee loose, explain what you expect as a result and how you will measure success, Genett advises.

3. Set a timeframe. “Talk with your delegatee to make sure the timeframe is reasonable,” she says.

4. Outline the level of authority. Does your employee know whom to ask before making task-related decisions? Or do they have free reign to make decisions themselves?

5. Set checkpoints. Don’t expect your employee to get everything right the first time. Set up times to meet and discuss progress, Genett says.

6. Debrief. “Discuss what went well, what didn’t go well and how to build on success,” she suggests.

Yes, delegating can take some time, but the front-end work is worth it. “If you don’t delegate, there will be high levels of rework,” Genett says. “You want to get things right the first time.”

What are your productivity secrets? How have these tips helped you be more productive?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed