Productivity is a hot topic lately. Seems like everyone is trying to sell, buy, or spend more time.

Regardless of whether it’s possible to create more time, it is entirely possible to make more out of the time we have. We’re all after productivity with the latest gadgets and apps. We alter our lifestyles and even our diets in an effort to get our bodies to do as much as they possibly can.

Research is beginning to give us some insight into how society’s most productive leaders accomplish so much with the same 24 hours in a day we all have available. It’s not that successful people never sleep, or are able to create their dream lifestyles at lightning speed.

They are instead perfecting the art of borrowing seconds and minutes from daily decisions, like what to wear and what to eat. Those seconds accumulate and result in extra time to spend doing what they love. Voila! More time!

 

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What “should” get done with our time is largely subjective and, of course, different for everyone. But there are a few methods to use as a template to kick-start spending more time and energy doing what feels important to you, whatever that may be.

Set your intentions

  • Keep to-do lists short and practical.
  • Establish morning and evening routines.
  • List your three most important tasks.
  • Focus on one thing at a time and don’t multi-task.
  • In the evening, reflect on at least three things you accomplished.

Make lifestyle changes

Evaluate the parts of your day that feel the most stressful. Break down your list of items that need to get done during that time. Prioritize and eliminate tasks that could wait.

Here are three favorite writers I highly recommend who give useful tips for conquering productivity obstacles:

  1. Josh Becker – Becoming Minimalist
  2. Ruth Soukup – Living Well Spending Less
  3. James Clear – Change Your Habits. Change Your Life.

Get your head in the game

In 11 studies with 700 participants, 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women chose to inflict electrical shock on themselves rather than sit quietly and think in a room by themselves for 15 minutes.

As an introvert and one who prefers my own thoughts to most conversation, I found this statistic shocking (pun intended)!

Want to get more done? Do nothing.

Meditation requires nothing but our breath, gives the brain the rest it needs to process new information, and makes neural connections that boost productivity.

Apps like Headspace give simple meditation guidance so you don’t find yourself sitting in a quiet room wishing for an electric shock.

Reflect on accomplishments

Psychological researchers have found that those who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day writing about what had gone well reached a 23 percent higher performance rate than employees who continued working through those 15 minutes.

If the thought of sitting quietly doing nothing makes you squirm, you love stuff too much to be a minimalist, and you know the latest gadgets are the only way to go, you’re in luck.

Check these out and get more done

Trello is free and incredibly easy to use. Create boards and online to-do lists with the ability to include checklists and links.

Evernote syncs with most devices and allows you to keep notes for various categories all in one place.

Purp helps with setting goals, scheduling tasks to achieve those goals, and tracking progress.

I could honestly read, learn, and talk about the topic of productivity all day. But who has time for that? I’ve got shit to do. And so do you. Now, go do it!