If you’re like me, I’m the most productive when I’m busy. On those lazy days when I have the freedom to take my time, I find that I sometimes don’t get as much done. But on those days where I’m really pressed for time and tasks are moving 100 MPH, I generally put myself in gear and get a lot more done in less time.
There’s a system that helps me to stay on track and I think it’s worth sharing here. You might do something similar, and I’d love to hear your additions in the comments.
5 Part Strategy For Productivity
1. Maintain an Idea Bank
Writing down your ideas is something you hear a lot when it comes to productivity, but it really does work. I find that some of my best ideas and thoughts happen at the weirdest times, so I keep a log in my phone and reference it later.
Getting it on paper will also help to keep you focused on the task at hand and set you up for the next phase of the productivity strategy.
2. Create a Mind Map
In order to make a successful attempt at those ideas you wrote down, it helps to start with a map or an outline. This works for outlining your next blog post, creating a map for your book idea, or figuring out the logistics to a church event or missions trip. Start with the idea, create branches for subtopics, and make a few branches for each point under each subtopic. It’ll help you to organize your thoughts faster and put it into words much better. Here’s the mind map I wrote for this article:
3. Set a Timeframe
If I’m creating a list of things to do for the day, I like to put a small number besides the task showing how many minutes I should devote to it. If I have four tasks at 20 minutes each, I can expect to set out roughly an hour and a half to complete them. This helps to keep me honest with myself and sets my expectations at a reasonable level. You might even set an alarm on your phone to help keep you on track.
4. Move On Right Away
Setting a time limit also keeps me accountable. If set out to finish an article in 30 minutes, I’m able to focus much better knowing that I’ll force myself to move on to the next item when time is up. Racing against the clock brings out my competitive side and has helped me stay on task.
I also found that once I complete one thing on my to do list, I’m more productive if I keep the momentum moving into another task. Instead of taking a long break, I use the steam to push me through my next project. Moving on right away has helped me achieve much more than I’ve expected in a short amount of time.
5. Take Deliberate Breaks.
I don’t want to neglect rest, because it’s an important part of the cycle of work. I will say that scheduling breaks while you work can help you to keep going strong – but they can’t just be casual breaks. Your breaks need to be deliberate. Getting away from the computer and taking a quick walk can clear your mind and help you to think clearer. Getting lost in email or facebook will add to the clutter, and it also puts you in risk of losing track of time.
3 Encouraging Bible Verses About Productivity
There are quite a few verses that encourage hard work and productivity, but I think that if we commit to memory these three, we can really improve in the area of productivity.
1 Corinthians 9:24: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Proverbs 18:9: One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.
How do you keep focused and productive? Have any of these tricks helped you?
Photo by BinaryApe