When productivity lags and you find you are spinning your wheels and expending maximum effort for minimum gain – maybe you need to develop some proclivity. That is a funny way of saying “having a tendency to do something regularly; or an inclination or predisposition toward a particular thing.” Productivity is built on good habits – things we do over and over again that work. However, the onslaught of daily challenges can wear away at our bedrock of simply good work habits. Sometimes it is good to take a step back, take a deep breath and reset the things we do daily to ensure we’re doing the things we know will work.

Here are some reminders of things you may not be doing

  1. Clean up. End your week by cleaning up the clutter. Old projects, notes scratched down that are outdated, candy wrappers and water bottles. Tidying up your workspace and making it fresh and clean can have a tremendous impact on your sense of order and calm. You will feel energized and ready to go when you walk in Monday morning.
  2. Start off rested. Schedule time to wind down before bed and ensure you get a full night’s rest.
  3. Choose the right time. Everyone has a time of day when they find they are more effective, creative, or productive. Schedule important projects for that time of day.
  4. Prioritize tasks at the start of your day. Tackle hard things first, you will feel energized as you begin to mark those nagging projects off your list – and you can usually complete them quicker than you think when you set your mind to it.
  5. When projects require focus, block time for it. While you’re working, turn off the phone / cell phone, and turn off email alerts. Hang a sign that says, “Do not disturb,” if necessary. You don’t have to do this for all your tasks, but at least do it during the more difficult items.
  6. Batch similar tasks together. Respond to email at a set time every day. Make all your phone calls at another. Group together general tasks like sorting mail or preparing articles. You’ll waste less time by doing your work in this fashion.
  7. Set targets. For example, if you have to make marketing calls, tell yourself that you’re not getting up for any reason until you’ve completed the list of 5 contacts you need to connect with. Regardless of what happens, refuse to stop until you hit your target.
  8. Use the Pareto Principle. This principle states that 20% of the actions you could take will provide you with 80% of the benefits. So focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most. Unfortunately, these are frequently the tasks that are not enjoyable. You might be surprised how little you really have to do if you focus on the critical 20%.
  9. Delegate some of your work. Is there anyone else who can help you? The people around you are resources. When appropriate, use their time and talents wisely to get things done more quickly.
  10. Set a deadline. Having a specific endpoint will really help to focus your time and energy. If a task doesn’t feel necessary, chances are that it won’t get done.
  11. Stand up to focus. Stand up desks are not only healthy for weight and posture, but standing at your desk can create a sense of urgency and you stay more focused on the tasks at hand rather than slouching back in your office chair.
  12. Set a goal each day (or night). In the morning, decide what you want to accomplish that day. This can be even more effective when planned the night before. Once you have a sense of direction, you can spend all your time getting things done!

Implement these methods into your life and you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time. The ultimate secret is to stay on task and not waste any time. These tips will help you do just that.