Be a Productivity Pro
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
We all have busy days that require us to complete our tasks quickly and efficiently. We also all have those days where we can’t get a thing done.
And, when the daylight lingers and spring flowers start to bloom it is easy to get the itch to be outside more and work less. Be a productivity pro so you can!
What works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to being more productive? Read on to find out.
Break it down. Having a master “to-do” list is great, but can be overwhelming. Take your list and break down tasks into smaller tasks to complete. Use simple verbs on your list. Instead of “discuss proposal with John” try, “call John to discuss benefits or pitfalls of the proposal.” The more detailed, the more likely you will complete the task.
Check your environment. Digital tools allow us to be more efficient…and more distracted. Be sure to create a work space where you see your list of high priority small tasks to complete. And, put away distracting devices and snacks so they don’t take your time.
Time is your friend. Think of time as your friend, not your enemy. The tasks you fear take longer to complete because the idea that there is not enough time will haunt you. Break down your larger tasks into small chunks and define how long it will take you to complete each small task.
Have a morning routine. Stick to the same routine and do not negotiate. For example, I get up and stretch, meditate or journal, and enjoy a cup of coffee with breakfast. These are non-negotiable. There may be days I cut them short, or I need to finish later, but 80% of the time I try to stick to it. Create your own routine that works for you.
Exercise. Physical activity enhances your brain, mood, and ability to focus. Watch this ten-minute TED talk to hear research on how exercise improves test scores and productivity.
Define your time. Schedule distraction-free time but also allow for time to be distracted. The idea of “daydreaming” can help you create new ideas and solutions.
Know how to multi-task. Multi-tasking works great, if the two tasks are complementary. For example, walking and listening can be compatible because walking is an automatic action for the brain. However writing an email and talking on the phone split your brain and leads to inefficiency.
Review what’s working, and what needs adjusting. These are a few suggestions, but explore other resources. Ask your colleagues and supervisors for tips too. Learning what works for others may give you new ideas.