The 3Ps for Increasing Productivity

On 15 June, 2017, in STTS, by Rekha Sandiran

What does your ‘to-do’ list look like? Does this question bring tears to your eyes? Or does it make you ask ‘to-do list? what to-do list?’  Are you frustrated because you have so many tasks not yet finished, you want to get that report finished, you need to update your website, or even complete those kitchen renovations? Well, you know what? The only thing truly stopping you … is… you.

We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to our efficiency, or more to the point our lack of efficiency. I’m sure I’m not the only one who occasionally gets to Friday and thinks “OK so what have I achieved this week?” Yes, it happens to me too. There are many reasons for not being productive. Perhaps you lack motivation, maybe you’re disorganised, or you could have a problem with prioritising. With so many things to do these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not even know where to start.

However, if you truly want to get a handle on all of this right now, if you really want to increase your productivity, I have some tips today that may help you. I’m going to give you my 3Ps of productivity – these Ps will help you become more successful at work and at home by giving you easy guidelines on how to increase your productivity. My 3Ps are: Prep – Plan – and Perform.

1. Prepare

Preparation is always such a crucial stage. You need to prepare to be more efficient, and here it’s down to no-one else but you. The number one thing you can do to prepare for efficiency is… sleep. Yes, sleep! Sleep deprivation can cause massive disruptions in your productivity. I know when I don’t get enough sleep, my mind won’t work at its best and my body won’t work at its best. You know that when you eat right, exercise moderately and sleep well, you’ll feel happier and less stressed. When you are rested you will be happier, more motivated and more energetic. All these things are vital to our productivity. So if you want to be more productive, get more sleep.

2. Plan

Here is where you prioritise, organise and schedule. I really love a weekly to-do list, which I write down on a big flip chart and stick it on my wall right in front of my desk so it’s always in view. And seeing all those ticks at the end of the week is really motivating. I also recommend making a daily to-do list of manageable tasks.

But what about those huge projects that often feel overwhelming? The best thing to do here is chunk a project down into manageable, bite-size pieces. Suddenly it won’t feel so overwhelming.

Something else involved in planning is to tell other people what your tasks are. Send an email to your boss about what you are going to do that day or that week. Text your spouse about the tasks you plan on accomplishing. Have an accountability partner so you check in and report back to each other. It really helps to have another person know about your intended goals.

3. Perform

The first thing you need to do here is eliminate ALL distractions. Turn off, silence or even separate yourself from your smart phone – and turn off your email alert. Lock the office door if you have to. Turn on your voicemail, pop in some earplugs if you need to block everything out, or perhaps play some inspiring music, whatever helps you focus. Focus on the task at hand, then once you’ve made good progress, take a break to check your mail and your phone and deal with queries.

Now what about multitasking, I hear you ask. Well multitasking may seem like a way of getting more done in less time, but experts agree that it actually does just the opposite. Focusing on one task at a time is thought to be much more effective. Do your most difficult task first, when you have the most energy and motivation. After that, the rest will be a piece of cake and you will be ticking items off your checklist and feeling great.

So there you have it. The 3Ps of increasing productivity – prepare, plan, and perform. Easy to say, I know, but it can be easy to do and you’ll reap great rewards. If you want to feel that great sense of accomplishment, that sense of peace and pride when you check off all the items on your ‘to-do’ list, follow these 3Ps – prepare, plan and perform – start today!