Whether you’re a CEO, entrepreneur or a stay at home mom, maintaining productivity is a struggle, and the struggle is real.
Fortunately, we have some tips to help you – do whatever it is that you do – and be more productive.
Create a work space.
“A place for everything, everything in its place.” – Benjamin Franklin
Think about where you are when you work. Do you have an area that is designated just for work? If not, you’re doing it wrong. Sure, laptops are great – and so is working from home (for those of you who have that luxury), but you are less productive working from your bed or the couch than you are from a desk or a table. Work in a clutter-free, space that is dedicated to work.
“I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.” – Johnathan Swift
If you’re at all like me, getting an early start can seem nearly impossible, but it’s not. And sometimes, getting up an extra hour or two early – before the emails and phone call start pouring in – can make all the difference in your level of productivity for the day. Stop hitting the snooze button, put the alarm across the room so you’ve got to get out of bed to turn it off, and make it happen!
Establish a morning routine.
It’s no secret that some of the most successful, productive people have a work routine that starts before work. Whether your morning routine starts with a healthy breakfast, a workout, meditation or all of the above, you’ve already got a leg up on the competition when it comes to productivity. Starting your morning right tends to bleed into the rest of the day.
Don’t let perfectionism stand in your way.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. Obsessing over every minute detail rather than focusing on overall quality and completion can keep you from being your most productive self. In most fields, getting a large number of tasks completed well is better than a few tasks finished perfectly.
When you prioritize your tasks, being productive falls in line. Create a to-do list and then organize the list with the most important tasks first, and get to work! Take care of your pressing issues first – everything else can wait!
Focus on one thing at a time.
“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.” – Jack Canfield
Do whatever you can to eliminate distractions. What distracts you when you work? Social media? Text messages? Noisy coworkers? Do what you can to minimize these distractions. Invest in some headphones, and tune into some music, talk radio or white noise stations – whatever it takes to keep the distractions at bay.
If you don’t take breaks while you’re working, you can end up mentally exhausted and less productive than you would be if you took a break – so take breaks! Most people find that working in 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks increases their productivity during the day. Figure out how long it takes before your brain starts to drag and stop before that point. Sometimes, I find it very helpful to take short walks during breaks a few times a day – one lap around my office building is the perfect mental break I need to keep going throughout the day. Find out what works for you, and make it work for you.
Manage your time effectively.
Managing your time well is a productivity no-brainer. The thing is, it looks different for everyone. Some people tend to slack off when they have any open time in their calendar. If you are one of those people, schedule your workdays down to the minute, to increase productivity during what would be otherwise perceived as free time. Other people find it helpful to do certain tasks at the same time each day, creating a routine.
Think about your productivity goals and techniques you’ve used to try to be more productive. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Reflect on areas that need improvement and reward your successes. It’s important to give yourself credit for a job well done, while noting areas for future improvement.