Eight Simple Ways to Be Productive During Your Workday
There’s nothing like the feeling that you’ve accomplished a lot at the end of the workday. When you’re productive, you get to enjoy lower stress levels and a strong sense of accomplishment—not to mention more time to relax. However, increasing your productivity is easier said than done. Everyone wants to accomplish more in a day, but no one is sure how to do it.
You may be surprised to learn that the real trick to getting more done is to focus on fewer things. Productive people don’t have mile-long to-do lists that they blaze through every day. Instead, they concentrate their efforts efficiently and tackle the tasks that matter most.
These tips will help you toss out that never-ending checklist and get down to real productivity in your workday.
Reclaim your mornings
How do you start out your day? If you said “checking email,” you’re engaging in a very common nonproductive habit. It seems like checking your email is a good first step—but what this actually does is redirect your plans according to what’s in your inbox.
Instead of jumping into your messages, use your morning to focus on yourself. Eat a real breakfast, catch up on the news, or just relax for a few minutes so you enter the day refreshed and prepared.
Shrink your to-do list
Checking off a few dozen items on a long list typically provides only the illusion of productivity. Instead of detailing every little task ahead of you, pare down your day’s agenda to only the things that matter.
Tackle the tough tasks first
Your energy level will usually peak in the morning, while your brain is still fresh. Use this potential high-productivity time to get through your challenging work. That way, you’ll not only save the stress of worrying about a tough item all day—you’ll also start feeling a sense of accomplishment before lunch.
Embrace the phone
Email is a convenient and widely used method of communication in the business world. It’s also a productivity killer. Whether you’re spending half an hour composing an email that would take you two minutes to explain on the phone, or engaging in day- or week-long email exchanges to resolve an issue that could have been dealt with in a ten-minute conversation, you’re wasting a lot of time and effort.
Get more productive—and hone your communication skills—by picking up the phone.
Work with a system
Chances are, you’re probably aware of the things that cut into your productivity. Take a few minutes to fully identify those things, and create a system to deal with them.
Email is another prime example here. If you leave your inbox open and check messages as they come in, create a schedule to deal with your email a few times a day, and leave that window closed the rest of the time.
Remember to stop working sometimes
Taking a break sounds like the exact opposite of productivity. But in reality, breaks are one of the most powerful productivity-increasing activities. When you give yourself a few minutes here and there to walk away and rest your brain, you’ll come back to your tasks feeling refreshed and energized.
This means you should stop eating lunch at your desk too.
Apply the 80/20 rule
If you’re not familiar with this idea, it states that 20 percent of your efforts during the day are responsible for 80 percent of your results. So in taking the opposite view, you can be more productive by eliminating the 80 percent of activities that generate only 20 percent of results. Decide which tasks will bring you real results, and ditch the rest.
Realize the difference between productivity and laziness
Some tasks that are supposed to save you time actually work as excuses for avoiding work. Email fits into this category—as do meetings, text notifications, redoing things, and obsessing over things. Learn to recognize when you’re being truly productive, and when you’re engaging in busywork and only look like you’re accomplishing something.
For more advice on on being productive in your career, reach out to the staffing experts at PsychPros at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our blog to check out additional tips for both candidates and clients!