Do you ever have those days where you find yourself getting side-tracked, not being productive, and sometimes just feel like you are not getting anything done? If you feel that way pretty often, the following tips are perfect for helping you stay on track and get things done productively and efficiently at work.
Create a To-Do List
This may seem outdated and very old school, but it is a great way to create a productive day. Making a to-do list helps you stay on track with what tasks need to get done, as well as help you visually look at all of your tasks and determine what your priorities are.
There are tons of different ways to create your to-do list. You can use the good ole pen and paper option, take notes on your computer, or choose one of the many different apps or management systems available online that are specially designed for making lists and keeping you on track with your team.
A good time to write your to-do list is at the end of each work day. That way, once you come into work in the morning, you already have your tasks written down at hand and can easily get to work. And just because you wrote your list yesterday, doesn’t mean you can’t always add to it in the morning or throughout the day if additional items come up. You should also always make sure to finish your most important tasks before lunch time.
Separate Your Tasks
Breaking down your big projects into a few smaller projects or tasks can be a huge help to your productivity. Creating smaller tasks will help you stay focused and feel accomplished in getting towards the final result. This also helps you stay focused, as you are only working on a smaller portion of the task at hand and not feeling overwhelmed with the overall project.
It’s Ok to Make People Wait
Do not check your email all day everyday. I know a lot of people don’t like to keep others waiting, but it interrupts your work flow and consistently stops you from doing what you were working on. A tip to help you refrain from getting distracted by your incoming emails throughout the day is to minimize your email app or web browser. This way you don’t see the notifications constantly popping up and grabbing your attention.
Try to check your email only 2 to 3 times a day. The perfect times to check it are first thing in the morning, once right before or after lunch, and then one last time about an hour or two before you leave work for the day. This way you are also training people to wait and not expect an immediate response from you.
Don’t Forget to Take a Break or Two
Everyone needs a break throughout the day. Stepping away from your desk to take a walk or clear your mind from what you are working on is healthy and will help you stay focused and be more productive throughout the day. Research has shown that movement can help boost your productivity and creativity over time as well. I know it might be hard to take a break when you have a lot to do and strict deadlines, but you shouldn’t drain yourself. If you do it is only going to take longer to get things done, because you can’t focus as well. Once you start to feel sluggish, that’s okay and normal, just stop and take a break for 5 to 10 minutes and then come back to what you were working on.
Keep Things Neat
Start with your desk and get rid of any unnecessary papers or items. Put them in a place that is easy to access when needed and makes sense with your organization. Next, make sure your desktop and computer are just as neat. Keep things in order and have a folder structure. When there is a folder structure in place, you and your team won’t have any questions as to where things are because they should always be put in the same place and everyone should have a clear understanding of it. Staying tidy and clean can help you and your team tremendously with staying productive and boosting moral. You will spend less time searching for the things you need and more time actually getting things done.
No More Multitasking
Some people think that when they multitask they truly are doing more than one thing at a time. This is false. Instead, you are just rapidly switching your focus from one task to another. Research shows that it actually isn’t helpful or productive to multitask at all. Our minds aren’t programmed to do many things at once and jumping between projects or trying to do a few different tasks at once actually lowers your focus on those individual tasks. It takes you longer to get them done, and you are more likely to have more mistakes. If you want to get a few tasks done quicker, just focus on one thing at a time.
Your days of being unproductive and inefficient at work are over with. Remember to write a to-do list, separate your tasks into smaller ones, wait with responding to emails, keep things neat, stop multitasking, and take a break every now and then. The more you practice this, the lower your stress levels will be and the higher your productivity will reach.