Ever feel like your to-do list is increasing day-by-day but you’re feeling less motivated to complete it? Between balancing job, social life, and personal life, it might seem like there aren’t many hours in a day to complete tasks. It’s true in normal time, but amidst the pandemic, many of us are working from home. This is an opportunity to deal with laziness and get more productive in 2022.
The only thing that matters is that you begin. The road to being more productive is a long one and if you dwell on whether to start by putting your left foot forward or your right. So here are the top 10 tips that can help you get more productive this year.
1. Plan your day ahead:
I know you have heard this before and I know that you know that it’s a good idea. Then why don’t you do it? Planning your next day the previous night can be so much more relaxing. Not only because you have a to-do list but also because you know exactly what is going to happen the next day. And it’s much easier when you know how your day is gonna look like.
Whereas, if you just wake up and “go with the flow” you will find yourself flowing right over to the couch with a big bowl of popcorn instead of working on something super important for your career.
2. Focus on most important task first:
Our first tip takes us to this one. If you’ve planned your day the focus on the most important tasks first.
Suppose you have a to-do list that consists of one task more important than the other. In that case, avoid the less important task and focus on the most important one. Sending mail can be more important than doing the dishes or vice-versa. Also, it’s easy to tick off your to-do list with the easiest tasks but choose the harder ones to do first. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
3. Check where your time goes and diversify it:
A lot of times we don’t even realize where our time goes. Somedays, the entire day is wasted while watching Netflix, and somedays, obsessing over the fact that a lot of tasks are left with very little time in hand. When you feel like you waste time each day but aren’t sure where it’s actually going, you just need to raise your awareness. Check which of your regular tasks take the most amount of time- it can be sleeping, exercising, gaming, etc.
Don’t sleep for 12 hours straight or exercise 2 hours/7 days a week. That’s just unnecessary. Instead, start reading a book, or learning an instrument. Divide your time in a way that you have time for everything. Do everything in proportion!
For instance- Gaming: 1 hour, Exercise: 30mins, Work: 3 hours, and so on and so forth.
4. Set goals:
Goal setting is like a compass, directing you where to go. When you have goals for yourself, you have a purpose, you have an idea of where you’re heading. In other words, you have an end that you can direct your means (i.e.. productivity) to.
So if you want to take away one tip from this article then take this away- Set goals for yourself.
5. Stop multi-tasking:
It’s easy to get distracted and try to work on multiple tasks, but the reality is, it makes you less productive. The constant task switching is making us more tired and reducing productivity. It’s taking up brain energy to switch and change that often. We aren’t being more productive, we’re skimming over the surface of things. To really stop multi-tasking, you may need apps to block you from clicking over.
Many people think caffeine is the solution for getting tasks done efficiently. Caffeine won’t necessarily help us. In fact, we probably just need to take a break for a while instead. If you aren’t taking regular breaks every couple of hours, your brain won’t benefit from that extra cup of coffee.
6. Figure out your peak hours:
Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. With the modern business environment changing, there may be ways to accommodate your natural energy more than ever. Maybe “the office” doesn’t open until 9 am, but your peak creative energy is from 5 am to 7 am. So wake up and start working on something you genuinely love such as sketching, dancing, singing, etc.
You’ll also identify patterns and when you could engage in “deep work” or the idea of focused work for longer periods of time. This is a productivity concept from Georgetown professor Cal Newport.
The physical environment impacts your work and productivity. Throwing stuff that you don’t need and decluttering your workspace can result in higher productivity. It’ll also help in saving a ton of time as you won’t have any unnecessary items around you. You’ll also get more clarity and focus for your tasks at hand.
8. Try time management strategies:
Time management techniques are ways to think about upcoming work in order to get in the right headspace, reduce procrastination, and increase productivity in the workplace. Even just planning how you’re going to tackle work ahead of time can help you focus.
You can also use the Pomodoro technique. It originated in Italy, where kitchen timers were traditionally tomato-shaped, and Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. To start using this technique, set a timer for 25 minutes and dive into your work. Once your 25 minutes are up, take a 5-minute break, ideally doing something physical like walking to the kitchen to get a snack. Repeat this four times and then take a longer break of 20-25 minutes.
GTD or the Getting Things Done method can also be used for time management. To read more about it click here.
9. Put your phone on silent:
Corresponding through social media, text messages, making phone calls and emailing, ranks as the 4th biggest workplace distraction behind food and bathroom breaks, and talking with coworkers.
Suppose you are completely focused on tasks at hand and your phone beeps or buzzes and gets you sidetracked? Remove the distractions by silencing your phone, exiting out of chat applications, and closing the inbox before you start any important task where complete focus is necessary.
10. Learn to say NO:
Throughout your day, people will inevitably disrupt you to get your help or input on something. It’s so easy to say yes and take on more things, but this is counterproductive. Learn to say no more often to guard your time for your highest leverage activities.
When someone comes to you with a request that you need to say no to, simply ask them to give you 15-20 minutes to finish what you’re working on. And by the time you come around to find out what they wanted, they’ll often have figured it out on their own.
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