Productivity often comes in waves for most people. Certain times of the day favour some people whilst others thrive off having a clear structure It’s all about finding ways and methods which motivate and work for you.
Here are some tips and tricks to help increase your productivity levels:
1. Set a timer
Working towards a time can often boost productivity by giving you a limit to finish your task within. This is why some people thrive best with a close deadline looming. Set yourself a reasonable timer, it may be 20 minutes or it may be an hour, and after that time reward yourself with perhaps a screen break or a snack to keep yourself motivated!
2. Commit to a task
How many times do you reopen the same email, draft a response in your head and then think ‘I’ll deal with that later’? In the time spent mulling over and coming back to your response (only to send your original draft) you could have sent the email and moved on to your next task. Make sure to only touch simple emails or quick tasks once to prevent over complicating things and wasting time.
3. Avoid lists
Whilst lists are a great way to see what needs to be done, writing one doesn’t necessarily mean you will complete everything on it. You may find that some ‘less important’ tasks never seem to get done and just cause stress.
Instead of a to do list, schedule time into your diary to do each job. That way you will have a time deadline for each task and a well organised structure as to how you will get everything done. This will reduce stress and will leave you feeling accomplished at the end of the day seeing how your time was spent effectively.
4. Don’t linger on your emails
Emails can play a big part in reducing productivity. For every email that comes through sporadically, you take time out of your working pattern to read and answer, resulting in your train of thought for your previous task disappearing and extra time taken to complete it.
Don’t waste time waiting repeatedly checking your inbox and avoid answering non-urgent emails straight away. Instead schedule time in your diary twice daily to address any new emails.
5. Try to theme your days
This may not work in all roles, however, try have a theme to each day so you know your purpose. This could be trying to have most of your meetings on one specific day, or having Fridays spent for administration and planning for the week ahead.
6. Step away from the computer
Although it may feel that in order to be productive you should always remain focused, sometimes looking at a computer for too long can become tedious and tiring. You may find yourself staring blankly into a screen or notice your enthusiasm for your task is wearing off. When you get to that point it is great to recognise that and take a step back.
Taking a break from your screen, whether it is to communicate with a colleague or get some fresh air, will allow you to come back refreshed, motivated and focused on the task at hand.
7. Reduce distractions
Make sure your workplace is suited for the way you wish to work. If you are working from home, ensure you are in a quiet area where you can sit comfortably for an extended period. If perhaps you feel less productive in the afternoon, change your location to offer a fresh space which can motivate you. Avoid loud noises, communal areas within your house (e.g. kitchen) and choose somewhere which allows you to have some privacy if you’re expecting calls etc.
Being productive is all about finding what works best for you. Experiment with various methods until you find what suits you! What may work well for others may not be right for you. Once you’ve found what it is that works, have the self-discipline to stick to it and you’ll never look back.