Staying productive at work or at home can be challenging. Every time the workday ends, it’s likely that you’re unsatisfied with what you have accomplished. If this sounds like you, don’t worry – we’ve got 7 easy steps to increase productivity.
1. Create A To-Do List
We all have things to do each day, whether we write them down or just think about them. Creating a physical to-do list each day will show you exactly what needs to be done. You can order tasks in order of importance to make sure you get the most vital things done. Not to mention that the most satisfying thing about creating a to-do-list is crossing off each task as it is completed, giving you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
You don’t have to write your to-do list down on a piece of paper – there are many to-do list apps for mobiles so you can keep track of your tasks on the go.
2. Don’t Get Sucked Into Unnecessary Tasks
Time is the most important thing. It’s perfectly fine to say ‘no’ to tasks that are not beneficial or important to you, especially if you do not have the time. Whilst it is tempting to do everything you possibly can to please other people, sometimes you need to put yourself and your tasks first.
Phone calls and emails are the main culprits for sucking you into unnecessary tasks. Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished. Switch your phone onto ‘do not disturb mode’ and you’ve already eliminated half the problem.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Now, this may sound like something that would lessen your productivity, it actually doesn’t. Taking regular breaks and giving yourself time to refocus on what you need to do next does improve your productivity. Scientists have proven it! Basically, taking short breaks during long tasks help you maintain your performance, mood, and concentration. Not taking any breaks during long tasks makes your performance gradually get weaker.
4. Take Advantage Of Your Commute
Instead of spending your commute scrolling through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, take the time to reply to those emails you ignored when you had your phone on ‘do not disturb’. If you don’t have any emails to reply to, your morning commute is the perfect time to create your to-do list.
Of course, if you drive yourself to work, we do not advise replying to emails, creating a to-do list or scrolling through social media… really, don’t.
5. Minimise Interruptions
This is an extra-easy one. Start by turning off the TV! Did you know, us Brits spend an average of 53 days a YEAR watching TV? What’s more important, finishing that last task on your list quickly and with ease, or seeing if the contestants on The Chase get caught? Don’t answer that…
Ask yourself if what you are doing is productive and benefiting you. If you think that you are not doing something productive, do something about it. Put your phone down, turn the TV off, ignore your emails for a while. If anything is urgent, someone will call you. You don’t need to check your phone at every little beep. By all means, have as much time with the TV and your phone at the end of the day when you’re winding down.
6. Set Realistic Goals
If you can cross everything off of your to-do list in one day, you need to create more ambitious goals. Some goals should take as long as a week, a month, even 6 months. One of the major reasons why people do not achieve their goals is because they did not set a deadline. Goals should be specific and written down. It is good to get feedback about the goals in order to refine them.
Review the to-do list at day’s end to assess what you completed and what you might’ve done more efficiently. Figure out what you have to get accomplished tomorrow.
7. Don’t Multitask
While we often think the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, chances are, you’re not doing yourself any favours by multitasking your way through the day. Our brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time. Bombarding it with information only slows it down. So, attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity.
Make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.
Have you got any tips that you would add to increase productivity? Let us know!