3 Steps to Increase Your Productivity

Productivity and work-life balance

Can you enjoy quality time with your family, friends and yourself as well as run your own business?

This is a common question I get. And my answer is: Yes you can.

I recently read that in the early 1900s, Henry Ford wanted more productivity from his employees, so he decided to increase their schedule to 60 hours a week instead of 40. This worked but only for four weeks. After four weeks the employees that put in 60 hours a week began to produce less than their counterparts who worked 40 hours.

The lesson is; less can be more.

If you do not have the balance in life that is perfect for you, you have to find ways to do things differently to achieve that perfect balance for you. Here are three steps I like to go through on a regular basis to increase my productivity.

1. Define the problem

Where are you using your time and energy? Where is it necessary and where is it unnecessary? Do you want to add something to your life to have a work-life balance?

I recommend writing it down and underline the things you want to add. I like to draw a circle and inside it I put all the things I want to be doing. Outside the circle I put things I can stop doing and things I could do later in life, so I can have the balance I like to have now and enjoy life here and now as well as increase my productivity.

In my case for example I put “being a board member” outside the circle, I really enjoyed it but I had been doing it for some time and I can do it again later in life. I decided to add “meditation” inside the circle. This change had a great impact on my life and my productivity.

2. Be creative

Go through each task and ask yourself if you can do it differently, both the ones you like doing and the ones you dislike. How can you work less and produce more?

If everything were possible, how would you like to work on this task? Can you maybe outsource some tasks that you do not want to do, but you believe are necessary for you? The tasks you like, can you make them even more enjoyable?

3. Manage the way you use time

Time management is not exactly about managing time (since time is fixed) but managing how you use your time.

When you have decided what it is you want to work on and you have created an optimal way of doing it, then I recommend picking a method that suits you to manage how you use your time.

I like using a timer to better manage how I use my time. I break down my tasks and spend 25 minutes working on a task and then I stand up for 5 minutes. This is called the Pomodoro Technique. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro” and after four “pomodoros” a 15-20 minutes break is taken.

The reason I like it so much is that I remember to stand up and take breaks, which is really important. I also like setting a timer for my relaxation time so I can enjoy it without checking the clock.

How do you want to manage how you use your time?


Go through these three steps on a regular basis to see the big picture, remind yourself that less can be more and keep Colin Wright’s quote in mind as you think about the perfect life balance for you.

You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.
– Colin Wright

About Birna Birgisdóttir

Birna Birgisdóttir is a Ph.D candidate, researching creativity and servant leadership. She enjoys learning new things and has a M.Sc. in International Business, B.Sc. in Business Administration, diploma in Human Resource Management and she is an Executive Coach as well as NLP Practitioner.

Birna loves new adventures; has travelled the world, scuba dived in Mexico, skydived in Las Vegas, surfed in Australia, meditated in India and climbed the highest peak in Iceland.

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