Have you ever come to the end of the work day and felt like you did not accomplish much? Whether we are self-employed or work a 9 to 5; work from home or go into the office daily, we all generally strive for maximum productivity. Thus, we feel discouraged or frustrated when we do not achieve the desired level of productivity. In this post, I am going to offer a few suggestions for getting the most out of your work day and boosting your productivity.
Plan the Evening Before
This is my number one method for staying focused and having a productive day while I am at work. Before leaving your work space for the evening, plan what tasks you need to get done the following day. Make a list and place it where it is easily visible or accessible. The next day, you do not need to spend time planning your work day because you did it the evening before. By consulting your list, you know exactly what needs to get done and where to begin. I even suggest priortizing the items on your list, based on importance and deadlines.
Clutter creates confusion and can slow you down more than you think. Imagine trying to find your favorite pen or an important document among mounds of paperwork or other stuff in your workspace. The amount of clutter you have to go through is so much that you spend in excess of half an hour looking for the item. By the time you find it, that is if you even do, you feel tired both physically and mentally, so you need to take a break. Before you know it, almost an hour has passed in which you were unable to get any work done.
Practice decluttering on a daily basis. At the end of your work day, tidy up your desk or work space. Put things in their rightful place, file documents that need be filed and leave your workspace tidy. Seeing your space tidy should provide you with a level of mental clarity as well as personal satisfaction. You can practice doing this after each task as well, by only having the documents or things you need for the current task in front of you.
Develop a Morning Routine
You must be wondering what your morning routine has to do with a productive work day. Let me explain. Your morning routine has to do with how you begin your day; the activities which you routinely do at the start of the day. Having a solid morning routine impacts our mood, our self-confidence and outlook on the day.
A foul mood, lack of self-confidence or a negative outlook on the day, is bound to affect your ability to reach maximum productivity. Therefore, consider reexamining your morning routine and making tweaks as needed. Set up a morning routine which allows you to begin your day feeling alive, confident and with a positive mindset.
Personally, one aspect of my morning routine which makes a huge difference in how I face my day, is movement. I believe strongly in moving the body in the morning, through some form of physical exercise. It does not have to be vigorous exercise; even gentle stretching is helpful. In my view, movement through exercise helps to move pent up and negative energy out of the body.
My preferred form of movement in the morning is yoga. Once I get my yoga practice done in the morning, I feel like I have already accomplished something for the day. I can always notice the difference in my body and my mind when I accomplish this part of my routine as opposed to when I don’t. Whenever possible I also like to end my day with movement. Symbolically, I see it as the opportunity to release the stress and any negativity that I may have faced throughout the day.
Being flexible also contributes to a productive day. If we are unable to be flexible it means that when things do not go according to plan, we will spend more time than necessary complaining or pining about it. Which means that we will take a longer time to recover from the setback. Therefore, we will end up wasting precious time on our complaining and recovery, which instead could have been spent towards our productivity.
List Your One Thing
Planning your list of tasks for the day is great. However, life happens and things don’t always go according to plan. This is where your one thing comes in. When planning your tasks, decide on the one thing that you need to get done the following day. If you do not get anything else done, what is the one thing that you must do? It means that if things go awry and you are able to do nothing else on your list but that one thing, you can still feel a sense of accomplishment for that day.
Taking short breaks throughout your day can help you recharge and regain mental clarity. So make it a priority to schedule breaks into you work day. You will know just how many breaks you need, based on what you do. Your break could involve a short walk, just to stretch your legs, a chat with a colleague or friend, or a warm cup of tea or coffee. You will know what best refreshes you and is suited to your situation. Just take breaks when you need them. You will find that you become more productive when you do.
If we want to have a more productive work day it is important to limit distractions from our phones, social media, email notifications, even coworkers and friends. It is believed that it takes 15 minutes to recover from a distraction. It may be helpful to schedule a particular time of the day for responding to emails and telephone calls, as opposed to trying to respond to each call or email immediately.
Busyness does not equal productivity. A person cannot be assumed productive because they appear to be multitasking. Multitasking is a myth. Attempting to multitask, is unproductive. It can actually slow us down and increase the chance of mistakes. It is also believed to increase stress and adrenal hormones, resulting in foggy thoughts.
Instead, work on one task at a time. Give your full attention to that one task, and only move on to another, once you have completed it or reached a satisfactory mark.
In my next post, I will share more on why multitasking is not possible and about the concept of ‘deep work’. Which is much more useful and productive than attempting to multitask.
These are my 8 tips for boosting productivity. Have a morning routine, plan your work the evening before, be flexible, decide on the one thing you want to accomplish for the day and work on that first, declutter regularly, take breaks when needed, avoid distractions and do not attempt to multitask.
Depending on your type of work or specific situation, not all of these tips may be a fit for you. But choose the ones that are, and try integrating them into your day.
Do you have other methods that work for you, that I have not listed here? I would love if you would tell me about them in the comments section.
You have what it takes to be productive and reach your goals. Make today great!
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Until next time…