Productivity is a highly researched trend in America at the moment. We’re trying to figure out how to get the most work done, the most efficiently; how to maximize output while minimizing input; who to hire and how to train people.
We’re obsessed. Productivity is important, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a way to do it and a way not to do it. Here are 10 things to do to HEALTHILY maximize your productivity on a daily basis.
This is actually two-fold. Part one: plan. Whether this means making your list of things to do the night before or the morning of, you’re much more likely to get things done if you’re clear on what you’re working on before you start working.
Part two (arguably the most important part): Be realistic with your plans. Don’t be one of those people who sets out to conquer the world in a single day. All big things are just a series of smaller things put together, so put the smaller things rather than the colossal tasks on your list, and be realistic about what you can get done in a single day. If you aren’t, all you’ll end up feeling is failure and frustration, neither of which are fun or fair.
Not my favorite word, but definitely the best for this scenario. Gather up the list of things you need/want to do in a day and put them in chunks of related things. This is key to creating a nice “work flow.” I find chunking things together helps me not only to stay in the “zone,” but also to do number 3:
Research shows we work better with more, short sections of “down time” rather than one, big, long bout of rest. That means, instead of working from 9–noon nonstop until your 45 minute lunch break, and then again from noon–5 until dinner, we’re better off working from 9–10, taking a 15 minute break, 10:15–11, taking another break, etc, etc. Taking breaks can actually increase the quality and quantity of your work. How many times have you spent hours working on something, only to spend more time later editing and re-doing certain parts?
Try implementing more frequent but short periods of rest in your work schedule and see what it does to your productivity!
Have you ever considered that your break could actually be a form of productivity? If watching a 20 minute episode between tasks recharges your batteries and gets you back on track to work, that should count as productivity, right? Can’t productivity come in all shapes and sizes? Who says it’s only about physical exertion, financial gain, or tangible results?
You might not be producing the same things when you take a break and scroll through your phone or take the dog on a walk as you are when you’re otherwise working, but you’re still producing something. You’re producing a mindset necessary to get work done. You’re producing creativity flow, ideation, and an attitude much better prepared to work than the one that never took a break.
Duh, right? Leave it upstairs. Or shut in a drawer. Don’t just turn it off. Don’t just silence it and keep it next to you. It’s note even enough to put it on “Do Not Disturb” and leave it alone. Nope, leave it out of sight. Period.
When you’re working, you’re working. Not having your phone (or whatever your distraction is) in sight keeps you ultra-focused and completely removes the option of tapping the home button to see if any celebrity started a live video on instagram or if so-and-so is interested in going to an event near you tomorrow.
Haven’t you ever heard people in real estate say that location is everything? The same holds true for work. Choose an environment that works for you, whatever that is, but actually put some thought into what your work environment is. Do you like a view? What about the temperature? Lighting? Bathroom accessibility? Comfort level?
If you work from home, seeing the same thing all day, everyday can get old real fast, so either try to leave, or set up a space very specific to work unlike the other areas of your house. Don’t work in your bed or laying on the couch. Your work space should be your work space. Not your lounge space. Not your sleep space. Your work space.
In periods of intense work (or just in general if you find it works for you), set a timer for 1 hour, and don’t stop working until that timer goes off. This helps you not think about how long you’ve been working or how much you have left until you can rest. It also let’s you see what you actually get done in a solid hour.
It’s also helpful to set timers for your breaks, too, so that, again, you don’t have to wonder how much time has passed or how much time you have left when you’re just trying to unwind for a minute.
Let people know, “Hey, I’m working. Please leave me alone.” Whether that’s sending a text to the group chat letting them know you’re disappearing for a sec or telling your roommates/family that you’ll be busy for the next hour, make a point of telling people around you that you’re working and don’t want to be interrupted. It sounds harsh, but if people know you’re working and you’re serious about getting stuff done, it makes it so much easier to avoid unnecessary interruptions and distractions.
Stop checking and responding to emails while you type a blog. Stop eating lunch while you post to instagram. Keep a strong division between tasks, but also between work tasks and and non-work tasks. Just because you can do two things at once doesn’t mean you should. In the long run, you’re short-changing either yourself or the person on the receiving end of what you’re producing. Think back to the quality of work versus quantity of work. Just because you scratched more things off the list doesn’t mean you did a great job doing them.
Do one thing at a time, and if you don’t have time to do one thing at a time, do less things.
Just because you work from home or work for yourself and have a decent amount of freedom over what you work on and how you work, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have “hours.” In fact, it’s almost more necessary to have set working hours when you do work from home/for yourself, because it’s people like us who feel the most pressure to constantly be working — because we can! Our office is everywhere, so why should we stop?
We should stop because overworking is just as detrimental as underworking. Create functional hours for yourself. Maybe that’s 6 am — 3 pm or 10 am — 8 pm. Work around the things you need to work around, and set those hours for yourself. When you’ve put in 9 hours of work, don’t feel bad about calling it a day. On the flipside, when it’s 9am and time to get started, GET STARTED. Don’t allow yourself to be too flexible with these hours, or else it’s kind of pointless. Set them, respect them, and watch how they transform your work day.
Originally published at fityourself.club on May 30, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com