Productivity, like most things in life, is a work in progress where you will always find room for improvement. So if you are feeling unproductive, don’t despair and instead focus on the things you can change to get the results you want. Here are just some of the things you can do today that will help you become more productive.
1. Get an earlier headstart
Take a leaf out of many successful people’s book and begin your day earlier than the time you usually start with work. Starting your day at least an hour or two earlier allows you to prepare in a more relaxed pace. It also gives you plenty of time for other activities that will set you off to a good start for the day.
2. Make a smarter to-do list
Not everything you think you need to do should be on your to-do list. You need to have a game plan. Focus on the most important tasks that will impact your short and stretch goals. With only a finite number of hours accomplish things at any given day, you have to determine your priorities.
3. Schedule and use breaks
Plan your day with at least 30-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. You can either divide the time into 10-minute chunks or take one full thirty-minute break. But no matter how busy things get, make sure to have a break and step away from your work area to refresh your mind and body.
4. Manage distractions
Set a fixed time to read and reply to emails, check social media accounts, and whatever non-work related online activity you have to do. Turn off all notifications and put your phone in silent mode. If possible, use online tools and apps that let you work on your computer with minimal distractions. You might be surprised as to how much time you can save when you identify and manage distractions early on.
5. Switch-off at a set time
Set a deadline or switch off time. This not only adds a sense of urgency to your to-do list. It also develops the self-discipline that promotes work-life balance. By setting a fixed time when you have to stop working, you challenge yourself to make the most of the work time you have to accomplish the things you set out to do for the day.
6. Unwind and review your day
Use the time after work to unwind and review your day. You need time to relax and replenish your energy if you want to avoid getting burned out. You can make the most of your downtime to review what you have accomplished for the day and what you may need to improve on tomorrow.
Delaying action to wait for the right time, the right mood, or whatever it is that you think will ensure success only delays the results you want to get. Sometimes the best way to get things done is to do it now. Not tomorrow or the next day or sometime in the near future. While there are times you may have to put things off, making it a habit can hinder you from accomplishing the things you set out to do. Here are some ways to avoid procrastination and do the things you need to do now.
Develop self-awareness. Some things become part of a routine that you start doing them without much thinking. Practicing self-awareness allows you to take an objective look on habits that may be hindering you from achieving your goals. Pay attention to how quickly you act on the things you need to do. If you find that you seem to have a habit of putting off a task for later, accept that it may be something you need to improve on.
Determine the reasons for delaying action. Is the task difficult, boring, or both? Or are there too many things that distract you from what you have to do? You need to reflect on why you may not be working on the important things that need your attention so you can start resolving them.
Take control and change what you can. Start making small changes that will help you deal with habits that no longer serve you. Get organized, get high-priority tasks accomplished, and stay focused on crossing off items on your to-do list.
Use breaks well. Working without any rest is not only tiring. It also makes it harder to have fun doing the work you need to do. Taking a break is not a waste of time when you are busy. In fact, it is much needed to refresh your mind and body. Take deep breaths, stand up and stretch, enjoy a short walk, play brain games, or do anything that re-energizes you.
Keep your end-goal in sight. The next time you are tempted to put off a high-priority task, think of the potential impact on your bigger goals. Don’t lose sight of the big picture as failing to accomplish an important task at hand may influence the outcomes of your long-term goals.
Now is always a good time to do it. Whatever it is that you need to do, motivate yourself to do it now. Sometimes the trick to accomplishing something unpleasant or boring is to just go right ahead and do it. Allowing yourself to get stuck in a perpetual state of procrastination can make you lose precious time doing nothing. Taking action is important in getting the results you want.