One of the more common occurrences when the new year rolls around is the formation of resolutions. More often than, we aspire to better ourselves and correct some of our personal shortcomings. In my capacity as a Financial Consultant, I have learnt through casual conversations with clients, friends and family alike that productivity is an area most people would like to improve in some capacity. Here are some of my own personal tips on how to work at optimal efficiency.
Take a break
It may seem pacular to kick off a list of things you can do to increase productivity with taking a break, but the truth is that you are not always able to work at peak productivity consistently. Numerous studies have found that taking breaks through the working day has numerous benefits. If you are not in the habit of taking breaks, you may want to give working in short bursts a try.
Set a timer
A great way to manage your time is to actively keep track of the time you allocate to each task. While it may seem intuitive, sticking and working within the time limit you set for yourself takes a substaintial amount of discipline. It also takes constant work and quite some practice. To get into the habit, you may want to start with a few simple tasks.
- Process your emails within 15 minutes
- Do several small tasks from your to-do list for 15 minutes
- Read a book for 15 minutes each day
- HIIT workout for 20 minutes
Eliminate all distractions
The conveniences of modernity come with a major caveat. While it has never been easier to access the web, interact with people and play games wherever you are, it also means constantly battling the temptations to engage in those activities. This can be particularly distracting when you are trying to focus on a task. Where my utmost attention is required, I would turn notifications off, put my phone aside and close all unrelated browser tabs. Doing this in combination with setting a timer and taking breaks in between task is a great way to optimise workflow.
Complete your most dreaded tasks first thing in the morning
As unpleasant as that sounds, clearing whichever activity you dread the most can be quite a great motivation. Ridding yourself of a task you do not particularly enjoy feels great, even more so if you managed to accomplish it with ease. Successfully tackling a particularly hard task can also give you a sense of accomplishment in a small victory at the start of your day, potentially lifting your mood for the whole day.
People often say starting is the hardest part, and with good reason. Committing to any one endeavor carries with it the risk of exposure to uncertainties. However, once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm or trance like state that could last for hours. Utilize this to create momentum and the rest of the day will pass like a breeze.
Find your Power-Hour
People are inherently different, therefore it’s only natural that we are productive at different times of the day. Personally, I find myself most energized in the morning. Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.
Another well-document fact is the physical and mental health benefits associated to frequent exercise. If you do not have the capacity to do so before or after work, research has shown that midday exercise can boosts productivity and morale in the workplace too. A short 5-to-15-minute burst of physical activities can prove to be an effective way of boosting productivity. It could be as simple as taking a short walk during lunch, or to alight one stop before your destination and walking the remainder of the way. Another good way to ensure you get some exercise in is to park your car slightly further from your house, that way you create the opportunity to exercise, giving you the boost you need to maximize your productivity.
Organize your Space
An organized work environment has a lot more than just visual appeal. The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system, and dumping the junk. Furthermore, being organized will help you become more efficient. Searching for files in a disorganized workstation is counter intuitive and wastes time, rendering you less effective.
Like anything worth doing, increasing productivity can seem like a monumental task, especially if you are not in the habit of systemically approaching tasks. However, the truth is that like most things, increasing productivity is about making incremental changes. The eventual result of making numerous minor adjustments is something akin to the effects of compound interests, which as we are aware of, can be quite powerful.
APEX ADVISORY GROUP
Alex Ang has over a decade of success in financial advisory. Today, he supports an extensive network of long-term clients who appreciate his impeccable service and advice, while leading a team of successful top-tier advisors in IPPFA.
The ChFC® accredited adviser’s comprehensive experience and knowledge enable him to serve a wide demographic of clients – from mass-market, to mass-affluent and high-net-worth individuals. One of the Top 10 advisors in IPPFA since 2014, Alex has won numerous awards; he is a 11-time qualifier of the IPPFA Chairman’s Round Table (CRT) and is one of IPPFA-APEX Advisory Group Top Advisers.
Alex’s goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders in the financial planning industry. Always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with his team as well as new advisors, he is also known for his outstanding leadership capabilities.
The passionate mentor is adept in identifying talents and guiding them through learning programmes he tailors to their unique personalities. His ability to see the hidden strengths and talents of his mentees, has been key in helping them achieve their fullest potential. Under his tutelage, many of his mentees have achieved successes of their own within short time frames.