1. Don’t wait for others to set your deadlines, set them for yourself.
Successful people don’t wait, they set deadlines for their personal goals. While meeting external deadlines (those that are given to you) helps you to survive and meet the bare minimum, internal deadlines (those that you give yourself) make you push through your boundaries. The key is to be proactive, not passive.
2. Keep track of your time like you do your bank account.
Time is the most valuable resource we have. You can always earn more money, but you can never get back wasted time. Keep a time-sheet to record how much time you spend on tasks. Even everyday/personal tasks. You’ll be surprised to see how much time you waste on certain things.
3. Don’t focus on your weaknesses, work on your strengths instead.
It’s common to improve your weaknesses. But that shouldn’t be your primary focus. The most important thing is to first improve your strengths as you already have a foundation for it and acquired the basic skills. Weaknesses cause limitations because you’re starting from the ground up and it’s difficult to identify what will work. You can utilize your strengths to help turn your weaknesses into an asset.
4. Rank tasks by importance, not the order you received them.
Every task does not hold the same weight of importance as others might. Always ask yourself: What needs to be done right away? Regularly rank your tasks, and get the vital ones out of the way.
5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
We always think we can handle enormous tasks on our own. But taking on too much at once can be discouraging, and will ultimately lessen your motivation. Break down big tasks into smaller, digestible tasks to create order and relieve some of the stress.
6. Smart people know when to delegate.
Doing more doesn’t mean doing better. If you have too much on your plate you are very likely to make careless mistakes because you’re trying to do too much at once. Recognize which tasks can be passed on to others so that you can focus on more challenging and important tasks.
7. Use your brain for thinking, not remembering.
Information is unlimited, it’s impossible to remember everything. There’s a variety of tools that we can use to organize our thoughts and ideas for us, such as: computers, notebooks, our phones, etc.
8. Review your productivity at the end of the day.
At the end of your day, take the time to reflect what you have accomplished, and what could be improved. When we don’t reflect, we rely only on natural growth. Even if you feel that you’ve done a job well done, still consider what could be done in terms of improvement. There is always something.
9. Sometimes cutting tasks is better than adding them.
Make it a practice to regularly clear out what isn’t useful to you. This can be manual tasks, physical items, or even relationships. Just like we need to de-clutter our surroundings, we need to do the same with our digital space, only making room for what it important and deleting the rest.
10. Estimate time for your task.
Sometimes this is something that we slack off on, going into a project without considering how much time it is going to take us. Neglecting to estimate your time can cause you to waste time; because you do not have a real goal in mind or deadline you are trying to meet. If you don’t set a standard, then you won’t know which aspects need to be improved upon and tweaked for efficiency when the task is repeated.
11. Stretch your creativity no matter what your job is.
We need a bit of creativity for every task that we complete, no matter how mundane it may seem. Creativity is not always a naturally given talent, but a muscle that can be trained. You can drum up some out-of-the-box ideas along with the best of them. We need a bit of creativity in order to step up our efficiency.
12. Know when to stop as tasks tend to devalue overtime.
When the productivity of a project beings to diminish, you need to know when it’s time to call it quits. Tasks tend to devalue overtime. The longer a task is taking, the less likely it is to be successful. When it starts to seem that progress is declining, it’s time to cut your losses and reevaluate your game plan.
13. Always assume that you don’t know as much as you may think you know.
There’s an endless supply of information relating to just about anything. Never be overly satisfied, always know that there is room for improvement. Just because you have a good product, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better. Always continue to strive for more and look for new insights. You’re really only the best if you look for new ways to grow.
14. Identify your instant gratification and ditch it.
You might think that you don’t have an instant gratification trigger, but everyone has one. This is something that you don’t really need to work for, but fills you with enough confidence and feeling of productivity that you don’t feel you need to do anymore. What is yours? Identify yours, and overcome it.
15. Start with the big picture, work down to the details.
Identify the ultimate goal at hand, and start from the beginning. Then, break down every task in sequential order that needs to be achieved in order to reach this ultimate goal. Double check your tasks at hand, ask yourself how it fits into the big picture and if it is really necessary.