There’s no better way to reach goals than by finding ways to do more with our working hours. Simple changes can go a long way to reducing stress and achieving more. Here are four productivity optimization practices to get into right away.
#1 TAKE TEN
It’s easy for coworkers and clients to suck up all of our time. Running from meeting to meeting can make us feel frantic and scattered. Try not to overextend yourself, and manage your calendar with intentionality as much as possible. When the appointments do stack up, devote 10 minutes between one ending and the next beginning for yourself. Get a snack, use the restroom, and spend at least 3 of those minutes in a quiet space, focusing on slowing down your mind, organizing your thoughts and regrouping. Clearing your head before changing gears can boost creativity and lead you to feel energized rather than drained.
#2 PUT IT ON PAPER
Jumbled thoughts can distract us when we’re not at work and keep us up at night. Every day before you power down, write a list of the three goals you have for the next day. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Make sure the goals you write are specific and can be broken down into steps. So instead of writing something vague like “industry research,” rephrase it to include the “how” into something like “conduct two hours of industry research to determine our top five competitors in the U.S. and each of their value propositions.” Concrete goals like these lead to increased confidence and feelings of control.
The following day, block time on your calendar and shut off your email when you are working on these items. Tackle large tasks early in the day when you are fresh and do not let small, simpler tasks get in the way of crossing the three items off your list.
Bonus: schedule a daily check-in with yourself for around 2 pm to make sure you have completed your goals. If not, stop what you’re doing and make it happen.
#3 KEEP ONE LIST
Maintain one running list of action items/takeaways/to-dos. Rather than scattering these items throughout a notebook or electronic device, keep them in one place. As much as possible, include due dates and priorities. This will help when you write down your goals at the end of each day.
#4 STAY CLEAR
Clear off your workspace. In a study done at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, researchers found that “multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.” Clutter prevents you from being able to focus, with multiple items competing for your attention. To do your best work, clear away the clutter.
There’s nothing like having a productive day. Dedicate yourself to practicing these four tips each and every day until they become a habit and feel your productivity increase.
We’d love to hear your tried and true ways to maximize work productivity. Please share them!