Do you know how to gauge your productivity at work? Are you more of a morning person? Or, do you need a cup of coffee (or two or three) first before tackling your inbox? Learn when you are most productive, and try to get the most important items out of the way first. As your attention span and productivity level start to dip, then you can focus on the smaller tasks to accomplish. Easier said than done, you might think.
With so many distractions and an ever-growing to-do list, it can be easy to have your productivity level plummet. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve made it your mission to get focused on tackling your goals and feeling ahead of your workload, not constantly feeling like you’ve got to play catch up, here are ways to make sure you “keep up the good work”:
Track your time.
Many project management systems and online collaboration software solutions have this feature, but even if you don’t have a cool app or function, you can just rely on a calendar alert or if you work from home, even a kitchen timer will do. By blocking out specific increments of time per task, you’ll get more accomplished and can look back on your day and know exactly where time was spent or wasted.
There are times when meetings are unnecessary and the same information can be distributed through a group email. If you don’t feel like your presence is needed for every brainstorming session, politely decline or block out that time on your calendar as busy. If declining meetings isn’t an option for you, request an agenda so that the conversation can stay on track and time won’t be ill spent
Breaks help you recharge before you dive into big tasks. Get up and stretch your legs. Go for a coffee run. Or, take a walk around the block. However, too much time away from your desk isn’t good either. If you find yourself constantly stepping outside of the office for a smoke break, consider vaping instead. You can take care of your smoking needs right at your desk and there’s no secondhand smoke to worry about. Check out some vaping starter kits from NJOY.com to get you started.
Take 10 or 15 minutes at the beginning and/or end of each day to prioritize your tasks. When you look at everything that needs to be done in one collective group, it can seem overwhelming and uninspiring to get started. Instead, put them in order of the most important first and aim to get at least three of your larger tasks done by lunchtime.
Turn off personal notifications.
Even if you don’t have your personal email, Facebook or other online distractions on your computer, you might still be alerted to them on your phone. Work with your phone face down or set it to airplane mode to avoid distractions. When you take your breaks or lunch, give yourself that time to then “check in.” If you must keep your phone handy, consider downloading some productivity apps to keep you on track.
If you work at a desk for most of the day, put up a motivational quote, buy a plant for your desk, or bring a picture of you and your friends or family. These are all small ways to increase the happiness level surrounding your space. Upcoming vacation? Add a photo of your destination as your screensaver.
Put on some tunes.
When people work out, they need a certain kind of playlist to get amped up and energized. The same can be said for work. Maybe in the morning, when it’s a little quieter, your song selection is on the more mellow side. But when it hits afternoon, you might need a few moments to rock out to your favorite music to power through the rest of the day.
Drink plenty of water or eat a snack.
It’s easy to be distracted if your stomach is rumbling, but make sure you stay satisfied at work in a healthy way. Pack small, healthy snacks to keep at your desk such as fruit or almonds. Also, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Many people don’t realize when they’re dehydrated and this can make the body feel tired and sluggish.
We all aim to be productive at work. For the days we simply aren’t motivated, an extra boost might be all it takes to get in the zone. By thinking about the little ways you can be more productive and start implementing them into your work life, you’ll be surprised just how much you can accomplish in a day.