We all want to be more productive. Who wants to look back on their day and feel like they wasted time or an opportunity? The problem, though, is that we live in a fast-paced, multitasking society and it can be easy to feel frazzled. Of course, this can kill our ability to focus and properly manage our time throughout the day.
Determine which items can be done quickly and which will be more involved. Group similar work together and assign deadlines. Having a clearer picture of what you need to do, how difficult each task will be and when everything is due will definitely take some weight off your shoulders.
Have a Plan
After identifying everything that you need to get done, create a plan of attack. Reflect on what times of day you feel most productive and focused. This is when you should work on tasks that require the most mental power.
Most of us also have that predictable time of day when our brains are not feeling as sharp. Use these moments to focus on things like checking your email or making phone calls. Once you’ve come up with a plan, try it for a few days and then reevaluate to see if you need to make any changes.
Make a Checklist
You may not be a checklist person by default but I think they serve multiple important purposes. Hear me out. For starters, it’s a great way to organize and keep record of everything that needs to get done. It’s hard to argue with the logic here since, otherwise, you could easily forget to do something important.
Another reason why checklists are so great is that, as you check things off, you will feel more productive. Being able to look at a list and see how much you’ve accomplished will feel great and could motivate you to continue working hard.
Limit Social Media
Social media is a distraction. Plain and simple. On a good day, you might spend more than a few mindless minutes watching funny videos, catching up with friends and making note of recipes you’d like to try. On a bad day, you could get roped into a political discussion which could, in turn, affect your mood and kill your focus.
Take a Break
It’s one thing to power through when you’re on a roll, all of your pistons are firing harmoniously and everything’s just falling into place. Ride that train as long as you can. When you hit that brick wall, though, and your mind starts to wander, you know it’s time to step away.
Once in a while, meetings are really productive, especially for groups of like-minded people who are organized, prepared and results-oriented. For everyone else, it’s often a big waste of time. You end up going over stuff that could have been easily sent in an email, the same things are said over and over again and then there’s always that one person who takes the meeting on a tangent.
Clean Your Desk
There are some people who say that they work better when their desk is a mess and I say more power to them. For the rest of us, it’s worth taking some time at the end of every week to tidy things up a bit.
Put away files or documents that are just taking up space. Throw away those candy and cough drop wrappers. Get the crumbs out of your keyboard and wipe off any rings leftover from drink spills. If you need to, head to the dollar store and buy some drawer organizers. This seemingly small step can make your life so much easier and make you feel like you’ve really got things under control.