10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity
It seems like there are just never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
We all likely wish we could be a little more productive. It would definitely help with stress management during the holidays - a time when most of us are killing ourselves to get baking, cooking, shopping, and then some done.
But what would this look like? It would consist of a shrinking to-do list - as opposed to a to-do list that continually seems to get longer and longer. It would include increased satisfaction with a job well-done. It would involve more downtime where you don’t feel that nagging to-do list pulling you in different directions from the far corners of your mind - meaning you can actually relax.
So, how can you make the most out of your day? Here are our top 10 ways to boost your productivity!
1. Plan & Prioritize
What tasks are essential to today? What needs to get done? Put them at the top of your list. And then plan out your day from there. Write it in your phone. Or invest in a day planner.
It comes down to managing your time. And planning ahead gives you a headstart. It’s more likely you’ll stay on task and easily shuffle through the items or activities - no more wasting time thinking about what you need to be doing. Instead, you just do it.
2. Check Items Off as You Go
This can give you an increased sense of accomplishment. It’s motivating. Your list gets smaller and smaller as you continue through your day. It feels good and productive! Why? Because you are actually being productive. Give it a try.
3. Put Away Distractions
Are you constantly picking up your phone to check it? Put it in your bag or on the other side of the room. There’s no bigger distraction or consumer of time than social media.
And guess what? It won’t make you productive. In fact, by the time you look up from your phone, you might feel like your time has been robbed from you. Time passes by far too quickly when your scrolling through your social media feeds. (Bonus: Put it away during that catch up with an old friend or during family time. These moments will feel more meaningful without the distraction.)
Some distractions, like a coworker interrupting you, are out of your control. But you can be polite about it. Simply explain that you are in the middle of something and you can catch up with them or discuss the topic later. It often takes a person about 20 minutes or so to get back on task - so consider minimizing your distractions where you can.
4. It’s All About Regular Breaks
This might sound like a cop-out. But breaks improve your performance. This means you don’t just get things done, but you do them well. After all, is there much point in doing something if you’re not going to give it your best shot? Aim for a 5-15 minute break every hour or 2. It’s proven to help! Plus, it prevents the inevitable burnout that results when you take zero breaks.
5. If a Task Takes Less Than 2 Minutes, Just Do it!
This is a great go-to for the little things that pile up on our to-do lists. You know what I’m talking about - the 2 minutes it takes to take out the trash, the 2 minutes it takes to clean the dishes, or the 2 minutes it would take you to clean up your desk space. If it takes less than 2 minutes, get it done right now. It’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about.
6. Learn to Say “No”
If you’re overwhelmed, don’t take on more tasks. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you work in an office, say no to meetings every now and again. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), meetings can be a huge waste of time. Can the topic of the meeting be addressed via email? It might be best. Not only will you be more productive, but it won’t waste other people’s time as well.
7. Stop Multitasking
Some people tend to think this is a sure-fire way to get as many things done as possible. In reality, it’s a sure-fire way to stress yourself out and accomplish next to nothing.
Research claims that there is really no such thing as multitasking. Multitasking only exists if one of the tasks is automatic - things like eating or riding a bike - or if the tasks use different types of brain processing. For example, you can write or read while listening to non-lyrical music quite easily.
Often, when people are multitasking, they are often just task switching which is highly unproductive. Don’t get tricked by this! Stay on task - concentrate on getting through one thing at a time.
8. Keep Your Workspace Clean
Are you constantly looking through your kitchen drawers for that measuring cup? Or maybe you’re shuffling through all the papers on your desk in search of that one document? Take a second and re-organize yourself (Remember, if it takes less than 2 minutes, just do it!). It will make future tasks that much easier and faster - minus the hassle of trying to find the one item or piece of paper that you need.
9. Focus on Being Proactive
This comes back to planning. Set time aside to check emails. Avoid checking them throughout your day. Plus, this means you won’t constantly be adjusting your day based on emails that come in. Stick to your plan. Avoid reacting to things that take you off course. You’ll be more productive.
10. Know That Perfection Doesn’t Exist
You set a block of time aside for a task or activity. But you aren’t satisfied with it. It’s not perfect. Here’s the thing: You can always come back to it later. Continue through your list. If you have time at the end, you can revisit it.
It’s also important to note that perfection doesn’t exactly exist. And it might never be perfect or it might never meet your high expectations. Be careful of this. Don’t get caught up thinking you have to plow through something to get it right. You’ll end up getting nothing else done and before you know it, your day is over. Get into a habit of coming back to it with a fresh mind and fresh perspective.
Once you start feeling more productive during your work hours, you’ll likely feel much less stressed during your down-time (hello, relaxation and life-work balance!). Use our tips to help yourself out with stress management during the holidays. Feel more productive. Decrease your stress! And get ready to enjoy your time with your family and friends this holiday season, without that to-do list hanging over your head.