Tips and Tricks to Stay Productive at Home and at Work
I like to think of myself as a very organized and productive person, but sometimes I fall off the productivity wagon and get scatter brained. The next thing I know it’s time for me to go to bed and I feel like I’ve wasted an entire day. Sometimes it can be hard to remain productive and be efficient with our time. Every now and again, we need to formulate a plan so we can stay on track and get back to business.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to stay on track. Since empowerment is gold and spreading knowledge is key I decided to share what I’ve learned from my experiences. Here are several things you can do to be more productive at home and at work.
Make a Monthly, Weekly and Daily To-Do Lists
One of the most important reasons for creating to-do lists is to keep yourself organized. Organizing your tasks with a list can make everything much more manageable and make you feel grounded. You have clearly outlined your day, week and month. When unexpected tasks come up it is much easier to fit them into your schedule after it has already been mapped out. Seeing a clear outline helps you stay focused.
When reviewing your to-do list, figure out which tasks are an immediate priority. These are the task that are of extreme importance and need to be handled immediately. Mark these items with a star or label as A, B, C, etc. These tasks should be completely first, before all other items. Franklin Covey provides excellent tools and training resources that teach you how to prioritize.
Figure Out the Time of Day You Are Most Productive
Identify the time of day you are at your best and schedule important tasks that require your full concentration during that time. For me, early mornings and late nights are when I am at my best. This is the time when I work on writing assignments and other projects that revolve around my business.
Use Technology to Your Benefit
There are many apps that you can use to prioritize, make to-do lists and keep yourself organized. Eliminate the pencil and paper allows you to have access to everything you need on the go. A few of the apps that I like are Todoist, Evernote, and Wunderlist.
Don’t try to do everything all at one time. By doing this, you use a lot of energy that you need to push you through the day. Doing things all at once also makes you lose interest in the task as hand, making it less desirable. Take 5-15 minute breaks to give yourself a chance to breathe so you can Refresh, Regroup and Refocus. Bonus: Always remember to use the 3 R’s when completing a project.
Synchronize Your Calendars
Add all of your calendars to the main calendar that you use most often. This can be the calendar on your computer or phone. You will no longer have to check multiple calendars. All of your appointments are now on the same screen, making it easier for you to plan and manage your schedule.
Do Not Disturb
This may be the most useful tip––Put your phone on DO NOT DISTURB! You will not believe how happy I was when I discovered the “do not disturb” setting on my phone. This will eliminate all phone distractions, including phone calls and text messages. If you have a job that requires you to stay on call then I would not recommend this method unless you notify your colleagues.
Do Not Try to Multitask
You are not really multitasking and you're probably doing a terrible job at it. Going back and forth between tasks is not multitasking. It is time consuming and often results in less efficient work and the formation of a bad habit. Your attention is not focused on one item and you are constantly switching gears—you never get fully “in the zone” for an activity and often resist the project all together.
Set scheduled time blocks for set tasks. If you need 2 hours to read and respond to emails, take the 2 hours that are necessary to complete the task. Work on each task separately rather than trying to multitask. Work on assignments at once, pay your bills all at once, and then send your emails all at once. Each task requires a specific mindset and specific amount of time. Once you get in a groove you should stay there until the task is complete.
This is the most important tip that I can offer. Make sure you take time to rest. You are not productive or working efficiently if you are tired. No amount of coffee will work––you need to be well rested in order to get the job done.
I hope you have found these tricks helpful and useful. Leave a comment if you have any tricks that help you reach your productivity goals.
By: Rachel M. Roberts