If you have trouble managing your time, you’re definitely not alone. Washington State University recently reported that over 7 billion dollars is lost every day due to unrecorded work activity and productivity issues.
Our world is stressful and busy, which means that we all need to find strategies that work to keep us on track. Whether you’re working from home or at the office, you need to be able to resist distractions and focus on work. Here are some ideas for staying productive and feeling great at the end of a workday.
First, Try Tracking Your Time
Often, we don’t even know how much time we’re wasting at work. Many people are shocked to find out how much (or, more accurately, how little) time they spend actually working in a day. Keeping yourself accountable might mean tracking your time and building in defined breaks so you don’t burn yourself out.
There are lots of great tools out there, and some of them are free to use! For many people, just having a timer running is enough to keep them productive.
Minimize Distractions and Interruptions
It takes us longer than we think to really dive into a task. Constant interruptions and distractions prevent you from doing your best work. Keep a list of common distractions and think of strategies to minimize them. You should also consider setting aside “deep work” time for tasks that require your full attention. Turn off notifications, close the door, and get down to business!
Focus on One Task at a Time
Multitasking isn’t a good use of your time. Even if you do manage to do two things at once, you won’t be doing them well. Work on one task at a time, and finish it before you move on. That doesn’t mean you have to finish a huge project in one sitting, but it does mean defining a goal and reaching it before you move on to something else. This will help reduce stress and allow you to focus.
Plan Your Week and Rethink To-Do Lists
Giving yourself goals for an entire week can help you stay organized and working toward the big picture. Rider University recently put out an iconographic on the importance of creating a daily morning routine. Do this and stick to it. Then, take some time once a week to plan for the next. Keep things challenging, yet realistic.
Set deadlines for your work and find a to-do list system that works for you. Some people find that a system like using index cards works best. You could even write down daily tasks on slips of paper and draw them out of a box or jar for a little bit of unpredictability that still keeps you productive!
Yep, to be the most productive you can be, you also have to be…unproductive. Take time out of your day to have a leisurely cup of coffee, take a walk, or meditate. You’ll come back to your next task feeling refreshed and ready to go!
Productivity, Your Way
Everyone is different, so don’t think you have to stick with the strategies that work for your coworkers. Try different things and see what works for you! I’d love to hear what you like best in the comments below.