Picture this: A looming deadline for an important project at work, one you’re not super excited about getting done, a large cup of coffee, and a mind coming up with 8 jillion new ideas a minute, none of which have anything to do with the task at hand. You know that if you just put in a few solid hours of work, you’d be done with this project and back to doing the things you want to be doing, but for some reason, you just can’t get yourself to focus.
If this has ever been you, you know what a dreadful feeling it is to be unproductive. The tips I am about to give you will help you not only to be productive during those times you just can’t seem to get anything done, but also in your every day life because let’s face it- no one ever wishes they were less productive.
Productivity Tip #1: Before you start working, write down everything that you want to get done for the day. Once you’ve done so, divide those items into categories of “high priority,” “medium priority,” and “low priority.” This will help give you a sense of what should be done first – the high priority items. Often times when we don’t want to do something, we start doing all of the tasks that are easiest but not most important. I’ll get to why this is probably actually unproductive in a bit.
Productivity Tip #2: Ignore your emails. I’m not saying you should never respond to emails, but hear me out. When you start your day off by checking emails, you get sidetracked with completing tasks that someone else needs you to do, which results in you falling behind on your own to-do. At the minimum, you should start each day working for 1-3 hours before checking your emails. This gives you a few uninterrupted hours to work on your high priority items.
Productivity Tip #3: Write down all of your distractions. It’s easy to get sidetracked when we suddenly remember to wish Grandma a happy birthday or book a hotel room for an upcoming trip. Of course both of those thoughts require action, but they don’t require immediate action. When distraction thoughts pop into your head, write them down. That way, you can forget about them and go back to focusing on the job in front of you. Once you’re done with your to-do list for the day, you can follow up with your distraction list.
Productivity Tip #4: Turn off your phone, or at least turn off notifications. It’s hard to ignore a phone that is buzzing and more often than not, that buzzing has nothing to do with the work you’re trying to get done. Scheduling a “Do Not Disturb” time on your phone is a great way to silence texts, calls, and other notifications during work time.
Productivity Tip #5: Drink more water to avoid the afternoon slump. If you’re one of those people that sips on iced coffee until noon, you’re probably also one of those people neglecting your water intake. Consequently, you end up with a 2pm headache every day, which results in very low productivity. If plain water isn’t your thing, consider infusing it with fresh fruit and herbs.
Productivity Tip #6: Sometimes the bane of our productivity is our own self-confidence. If you don’t feel like you’re capable of doing something, you’re less likely to get it done and you’re much less likely to get it done well. When you start not feeling good enough, take a deep breath and remember how amazing you are. YOU CAN DO THIS. If you need help with positive affirmations, I’ve got you!
Productivity Tip #7: De-clutter your workspace at the end of each day. Clutter prevents us from focusing and usually results in time spent during our potentially most productive hours of the day (the morning) tidying up.
Productivity Tip #8: Quit multitasking. Multitasking sounds productive in theory, but giving a lot of things a little bit of attention is quite the opposite when the product ends up subpar. Devote your attention to one thing at a time.
Productivity Tip #9: Perhaps the best tip I’ll give you is this: Meditate! Meditation is the art of clearing your mind and training your attention. It is HARD, but SO worth it. Not only does meditation help you increase productivity, but it also helps you find emotional and mental balance. It’s a win-win-win!
Productivity Tip #10: Remember when I mentioned that doing the easiest tasks first might be unproductive? Ask yourself if you are just writing down low priority items to make your checklist appear longer. If those simple and mundane tasks are not actually necessary for you to complete every day, take them off your list! There is HUGE difference between being busy and being productive.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you do, comment below! If you have other ideas for staying productive, comment those below too.