How to Be Productive During Your Work Day
September 19, 2019
There are some days during the typical 40-hour work week where it feels like never-ending downtime, and there are others where it feels like 8 hours is not nearly enough to accomplish goals and meet deadlines. What most employees seek is a workload that is sufficient to fill the day, but will not lead to excessive stress and burnout. While you cannot control the amount of work that is assigned to you, you can control how efficiently you get done what you need to without having to stay in your office until late at night. Below are some simple guidelines that will help you strike a balance.
- Plan your day the night before. You may initially think that this will end up stressing you out more. After all, nobody wants to think about work at night while they are relaxing or doing things they enjoy. But regardless, taking 10 or 20 minutes each evening to go through your tasks for the next day, categorizing them in order of importance and doing small things like choosing your clothes and making your coffee, will make your morning less stressful. You can simply get out of bed, do what you have to do and hit the ground running once you reach the office.
- Take regular breaks. You are not going to perform at top level if you are staring at a computer screen for 8 hours. Once again, it is easy to want to “discipline” yourself by forcing yourself to sit down and not leave your desk until every single task is complete. But all this will do is lead to burnout and lost focus. Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour or so, and this will be your signal to take a 10 or 15-minute break and do anything else besides browse your phone or computer. Go outside for a quick lap around the building, or have a short conversation with a family member or friend. Taking short breaks like this throughout the day to focus on things other than work will improve your mood and boost your productivity level. When you sit back down, you will be refreshed and ready to go until your next break.
- Avoid multitasking. This is another circumstance where you have to fight your natural instincts. Your instincts are going to tell you that multitasking is effective because it allows you to split your focus between different tasks to avoid monotony, therefore leading you to be more productive. However, there is only so much information you can store in your brain at one time, and trying to accomplish several different things at once will inhibit your focus on each individual goal, leading to sloppier work and more frustration.
- Eliminate distractions. It is understandably hard not to answer texts from friends or check that latest Facebook notification, thinking you will check it quickly and then get back to work. But everybody, including myself, has probably fallen into the trap of checking a notification and then scrolling through their feed for 10 or 15 minutes. A helpful technique to overcome this distraction is to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode or something similar during times that you have a lot on your plate. All of those notifications and text messages can wait until you are done with what you have to do.
Written By: Anthony Luparello