Have you been feeling less productive than usual? Try these tips to get back on track.
- Have a goal (and set targets)
Regular goal setting can maximize your output. Be clear and what you want to achieve and make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. If you want to run a marathon you’re not going to start training only the month before if you haven’t run one before. Make daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you can create steps to achieve. Assess yourself (daily, weekly, or monthly) to see if you are on track of if you need to change the steps so that you can reach your goal.
- Maintain a work environment conducive to productivity (for you)
Create a work environment that encourages you to work. Does this mean that you need to remove things from your desk? Or are you always thinking about how a plant would look great right there? Maybe you find that working in a coffee shop or library is more conducive to your work flow. Play around with your work area and make sure you are comfortable so you will be more inspired to get things done.
- Have an Organized Workspace
This one may be obvious but how many times have you left those papers in that pile, or allowed the folders to build up? If your workspace is messy you can feel disorganized and tired (even if you know what’s in that pile under the mug). Throughout the workday your space will get cluttered, but take a few minutes every day or every few days to clean it up. This will help you be more productive and organized.
- Put First Things First
If you’re anything like me you have a huge list of “to-do’s” every day that you hope to get done. Which are the most important? Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day so we have to make sure that we are using our time effienctly. This translates into creating lists where you have the most important things on top and stuff that can be saved for later on the bottom. A good question to ask yourself is “Will doing this make a difference in the next six months?” “No”, or “maybe” means that I can be put further down the list than something you know will impact you in the near future.
- Time Box Your Tasks
Along with putting the important stuff we need to realize that we can’t spend all day on a project. If you say you’re going to do something for two hours that you know you can get done in one you will work on it for two hours. Give yourself enough time to finish a task but not more than you reasonably need.
- Know Your Motivation Triggers
There are times when we are completely inspired to work and other times we just want to lie down and take a nap. Consider what is going on when you feel motivated to work. Is it when there is friendly competition between you and your co-workers? When you know you are about to achieve a goal? Maybe it’s because you promised yourself (or someone else) a special dinner or night out. Whatever motivates you be sure to implement it the next time you feel that you are bogged down in work.
- Utilize Pockets of Time
These are pockets of time when we are not actively doing anything. We might use this time to check Facebook on our phone or scroll through the local news. These pockets are the times we are waiting for appointments or riding the public transportation to work. Take these and use them to your advantage. You can listen to a self-help book or podcast, or start to outline or write that next blog post. Consider where you can use these time pockets and what you can do in them.
- Wake Up Early
This may not be for everyone but it’s nice to wake up before the world does. It’s quiet and you can use the peace to consider your day ahead. Write down a list of things you need to do, look over goals, or create new ones. Be inspired by the coming of the day instead of sleeping through it.