Wouldn’t you love to end your workday with everything finished on time and handed in? Maybe even get a head start on tomorrow’s work? That probably sounds more of a fantasy than reality. But being more productive throughout the day means one of two things: either you have special powers and can add extra hours to the day, or you’re willing to learn how to manage your time wisely and efficiently.
Since you’re probably like the rest of us and want to know more about the latter, read on for some helpful tips.
1. Stay Organized
Keeping everything in its place will save a lot of time searching. It’s a greatly underrated productivity booster. It’ll save you time and energy wasted on looking for things. And it’ll make your workspace look neater and better to look at it which is a major stress-buster.
2. “5 Before 11”
In an effort to maintain a high level of productivity throughout the day, try picking 5 things you can get done before 11 am. Choose the things that will boost your sense of accomplishment and output. Breaking things down reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed and lost under files, memos, and deadlines
3. Go for a Walk
Instead of eating lunch at your desk, scrunched over more paperwork, go for a walk outside. Getting some fresh air will help you clear your head, give you some perspective, and a more positive outlook. Plus, it’s great physical exercise, and a change of scenery will do wonders for your creative juices. If you absolutely can’t leave your work area, go for a walk indoors. Studies prove that going for a walk, even a short one, can boost efficiency by 60%.
4. Stop Multitasking
Some people think that juggling multiple things at once means they’re boosting their work rate. But, studies have found that multitasking could do more harm than good because you’re not giving each task the time and effort it deserves. Distractions like that impact negatively on the quality of your work, and leave you feeling drained and frazzled. Try giving each task enough time to complete it before moving onto something else
5. Give yourself self-imposed deadlines
In general, the word ‘deadline’ is enough to give you heart palpitations, headaches, dizzy spells. But when you’re the one setting the deadline for yourself, you won’t feel the pressure in a negative way. But you will feel obligated to respect the deadline you’ve set. We’re creatures of habit, so go easy on yourself at first. The point is to acknowledge that you have a set time after which you’ll be held accountable for your work. When you do meet your deadline, give yourself a pat on the back and a reward for getting the job done on time.
6. Beautify your Surroundings
Attractive furniture and office decor, such as candles, plants, vases, can be pleasing to look at. Moreover, they turn a boring space into something beautiful and functional with an added personal touch. They can also help increase productivity, as studies show, by up to 15%.
Choose whatever makes you feel happy and comfortable, as long as they meet office regulations. By surrounding yourself with things that are aesthetically pleasing, you’ll be boosting production rate, creative outlet, along with your ability to focus on the task at hand.
Boosting productivity means working smarter, not harder. So, try to resist the temptation to stuff your calendar with more work-related commitments or put in longer hours at the office.
4 Key Ways To Stop Procrastination
We’re all guilty of doing it, more often than we’d like to admit. Procrastination may not be just about turning in your project report/work project at the last minute. It may also be putting off important life decisions like whether or not you should ask your boss for that raise he promised last month, or whether you should join a gym – it’s endless.
And if you don’t start learning how to stop putting things off, you’ll have to deal with procrastination your whole life which may have a negative effect on your relationships, career, and personal health.
The thought process behind procrastination is that we believe there’s always tomorrow, so why not just steer clear of the stress and anxiety and just put it off until later. So, this is the first thing you need to tackle. It won’t be easy but try to figure out what the stress factor is behind your procrastination. It could be fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of not being perfect.
You are your own worst critic.
You judge your flaws and imperfections way too harshly. Yet studies show that when you forgive yourself for putting things off or not getting things done as perfectly as you would’ve liked, can actually help fend off procrastination. And most importantly, have realistic goals before you give yourself a hard time.
Sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can chew, then we go off the deep end because the end result wasn’t anywhere what we had envisioned.
Follow the following tips to help you avoid procrastination once and for all.
1. Turn burdensome tasks into habits.
We all have enough willpower to get about 3 or 4 tasks done each day. Habits use other parts of our brain rather than the prefrontal cortex which is associated with rational thinking. So, when you train yourself to do something out of habit, rather than look at it as a mundane task, you think about it less which means you’re using less willpower and you won’t fall into the procrastination rut.
Things like brushing your teeth or making your bed have all become daily habits that you automatically perform without even considering putting them off. Why not turn healthy eating, daily exercise, or turning in reports ahead of time into daily habits as well?
After that, it becomes easier, but you still have to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Procrastination is all about taking that dreaded first step. So why not ease into it with the knowledge that after a certain amount of time, or once I’ve finished X, I can watch videos on YouTube or go get a cup of coffee. Make it pleasant for yourself because the reward is the part that the brain assimilates to gauge your enjoyment level. If you’re happy, then your brain slowly turns this task into a habit that you look forward to, instead of something you dread on a daily basis.
2. Break work tasks into chunks.
Instead of cleaning out the entire garage, do the right side first, take a break, then do the left side, take a break, then finish off the rest. At work, big tasks may seem daunting when you look at them as a whole. The answer? Break it down into smaller tasks. Make an outline of the entire project, and then divide it up into smaller tasks.
Working in 30-minute increments also helps break down tasks into smaller chunks that are manageable and not so intimidating. After 30 minutes, take a break and assess your work. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will give you that boost of confidence you need to keep at it.
3. Remove distractions.
Checking your email every 5 minutes isn’t doing you any good. So, once you’ve committed to doing the job, limit distractions by putting distractive things away. You can find apps that help you stay on track, but some will say that’s completely missing the point.
The important thing is that you set up a certain time for checking emails or your social media, and once you’ve started your task, you avoid the urge to take a sneak peek.
Another serious distraction is multi-tasking. Even though it may seem that you’re being productive, the truth is it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Think about it, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to completely focus on one task and give it 100%, and then you bring in another task which means you decrease your focus level by half, bring in a third task and the focus drops even lower. So even though you’re working more, your end results will be below average.
4. Work during your peak hours.
We all have certain times during the day when we’re most alert. Some of us are morning people, some are night owls, and some have more energy during the afternoon hours. Find out what your peak hours are and tackle your most difficult tasks then. You’ll be more of a powerhouse then with your brain working at its maximum capacity.
Procrastination is different than being lazy because when you procrastinate, you delay doing something for a more pleasurable task. So why not turn that mundane task you’re dreading into something more fun and enjoyable, and kill off the urge to procrastinate?
Top 10 Ways To Get Better Organized
Organization is a skill that takes time and effort its important to think of ways to elevate your organizational skills.
Whether it’s investing in a new planner or honing in on new habits, an organization is needed to live an effective life.
If you’re looking to enhance your organization skills and get a firm grasp on things, consider these 10 tips that will help you get your life together and develop positive habits.
1.Set a Goal
Goal setting is the first step to getting organized. By creating your own set of priorities, you’re eliminating what doesn’t serve you and welcoming positive energy.
The trick here is to start with small, attainable goals as opposed to one major one. This will help you eliminate feeling overwhelmed and allow you to celebrate small victories.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
It’s easy to miss the gym or slack off on your passion project when there aren’t any real consequences to your actions. Instead of leaving your progress up to chance, hold yourself accountable for actually doing what you set out to do. This will help you to stick to your schedule and stay organized.
3. Reward Yourself
In order to meet your goals and stay motivated, you have to reward yourself. Celebrate even the smallest of victories and reward yourself with self-care “treats” when you meet your goals. This will keep you excited about your goals and tempted to continue.
4. Set Alarms
One of the best ways to stay on top of your to-do list is to set alarms. Whether it’s on your phone or setting traditional alarm clocks, having that little reminder will help you stay on track. Set your bill schedule, deadlines, and other important information so you can always stay in the know.
5. Invest in a Planner
Planners have become all the rage. People use them as scrapbooks, journals, and more. Keep your life organized by investing in a good planner. This will give you a visual of what you need to accomplish. You can write out your feelings, create monthly vision boards, and keep track of your events. Writing out your responsibilities will give you clarity that’s unmatched.
Trying to stay organized in a cluttered space is counterproductive. In fact, it can bring about more stress than you initially intended. Start this New Year off right by cleaning out all forms of clutter you may have.
Throw away old clothes, items, and junk that’s simply holding you back. This will help you develop your mental strength and stay organized.
7. Create a Monthly Goal
Each month provides an opportunity for a new start. Take advantage of this gift by setting goals you can meet. If you noticed that you struggled with productivity last month, make that a priority this month. It even helps to create vision boards with your monthly goals illustrated on them. This will help you to stay on track in the coming months.
8. Practice Saying No
One of the biggest hurdles to sticking to your personal schedule is getting caught up in other tasks. For example, Wednesdays are your designated gym days. However, your friends want to go out for drinks after work on Wednesday night. You haven’t been sticking to your schedule and it’s impacting your mental health.
What do you do? Well, start by learning how to put yourself first and say no. Distractions, whether positive or negative, can throw you off of your schedule. This can make you feel disorganized and anxious. Learn how to say no and not feel guilty about it.
9. Wake up Earlier
If you challenge yourself to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier each day, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Doing this will give you the opportunity to get done everything you intended and start the day with a fresh mind.
10. Prepare For The Day The Night Before
We’ve all been there- rushing to get everything together while still trying to make appointments on time. The best way to alleviate those rushed feelings is to prepare for your days the night before. Lay your clothes out and get your items ready before bed. This will make your morning routine seamless and enjoyable.
Getting organized is definitely a challenge, but a fulfilling one. Make your time great by implementing these helpful tips into your daily routine. You’ll begin to feel more organized and prepared for everything that comes your way.
Top Five Computer Tips to Get More Done in Less Time
Do you wish you could be more productive at your computer? There’s good news! There are some things you can do that will allow you to get more done in less time.
You may be surprised at how simple these strategies are, how little some of them have to do with your computer, and how much they have to do with organization!
Here are the top five computer strategies to get more done in less time:
- De-clutter. One of the simplest computer strategies is having a clean workspace. When most of us think of our computer, we think of the actual machine, but did you know that the space around your computer is as important as the computer itself?
- When you keep your computing space as tidy as possible, you can get more done because you won’t be distracted by stopping to “clear a path” as you work.
- De-cluttering also means removing old software and files that are taking up too much space. You’ll be surprised how much speedier the machine will feel when you’ve cleared all the junk off your computer!
2. Run anti-virus software every day. Viruses can slow down your computer or worse. Obviously, if your computer is unresponsive, you’ll lose precious time during your workday.
- Running anti-virus software will help you make sure your computer is running at its very best so you don’t lose momentum by waiting for a document to open.
- You’ll also prevent things like hard drive crashes and data loss. So run anti-virus software on your PC or get a Mac
3. Organize. A little observed, but very effective, computer strategy is to organize your files and folders in such a way that everything you need is within reach. This way, you can move seamlessly from one task to another without wasting time searching for files.
- Put commonly used files in one place, such as your Documents folder. Also, use full filenames so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
- Use a search tool like Google Desktop on the PC or Spotlight on the Mac to easily find files, not within reach.
4. Clean the desktop on your computer. Many people don’t give much thought to their desktop and they may have dozens of unused icons and downloads just taking up space. Keep only the files, folders, and programs you need on your desktop.
- Delete the icons you don’t use regularly so that you can find what you’re looking for quicker.
5. Learn the shortcuts. Set a goal to learn something new about the software tools you use the most. There are plenty of options hidden in menus and keyboard shortcuts that can save you time, energy, and sanity.
- Print out a list of common shortcuts and keep it beside your computer for easy reference. When you challenge yourself to learn these new tricks, you’ll get faster and more productive over time.
These are all very simple computer strategies that will help you be more efficient and productive. When you incorporate even one of these strategies into your daily routine, you’ll find that you truly can get more done in less time.
Who Else Wants to Leave Work on Time?
You keep telling yourself that you’re going to leave work on time, but there you are, sitting at your desk instead of eating dinner with your family. Why are you logging so many extra hours, and what’s happening to your life balance?
You may already be familiar with studies that show that productivity declines when employees put in more than 40 hours a week on a regular basis. Still, many of us remain chained to our desks.
If that sounds like you, maybe you’re trying to complete your to-do list, or you’re hoping to impress your boss with your dedication. Either way, there are strategies that are more effective and sustainable than working long hours.
Consider these options for shortening your workday without setting back your career.
Increasing Your Productivity:
- Set priorities. Do you put off essential tasks until the end of the week? Determine the most urgent and important things you need to do each day.
- Plan your time. Once you know your priorities, you can allocate your time. Schedule your most demanding tasks for the hours when you’re at your peak. Batch similar projects together so you can complete them in less time.
- Manage meetings. The average middle manager spends about 35% of their time in meetings. Avoid attending non-essential meetings when possible. Hand out an agenda to make your own sessions quicker and more useful.
- Reduce distractions. How much time do you waste checking email or browsing online? Set a limit on such activities. Check your email once a day. Turn instant messaging off when you’re working on a project that requires your full attention.
- Use technology. If you have trouble regulating yourself, there are apps that will do it for you. For example, a program named Freedom will block the websites and apps that you find hard to resist, or even the entire internet, for up to 8 hours.
- Create a transition. Develop rituals for the end of your workday that prepare you for going home. You might use the last 20 minutes to wrap up whatever you’re doing, clear off your desk, and write notes for the next day.
- Take breaks. While powering through the day without any rest sounds like a timesaver, that’s a tactic that’s likely to backfire. You’ll accomplish more by giving yourself a chance to recharge, even if you spend less time working.
Dealing with Your Company Culture:
1. Share your schedule. Maybe you’re on top of your responsibilities, but you’re afraid of being the first one out the door. If you’re in a workplace that tends to value long hours over performance, give them a heads up. Talk with your boss about the hours you’re able to work.
2. Provide updates. Your boss might be more open to cutting back on overtime if you reassure them that you’re delivering the results they want. Set up a weekly status meeting to review outstanding and upcoming projects.
3. Give a reason. Many studies have proved that it’s easier to persuade others if you provide a reason for your actions. Tell your boss that you need to leave on time to pick up your children from daycare or get to your gym class.
Working smarter and making your personal life a top priority will help you to leave work on time. As you achieve greater balance, you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends. You’ll also lower your risk for many stress-related health conditions. And you’ll give yourself the opportunity to find greater enjoyment in life.