When was the last time you didn’t feel like there was too much to do? In this “do more with less” and “work smarter, not harder” age we live in, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by responsibilities. Here are some productivity tips to help!
Make a list (and check it often) – It’s easy to forget details and it’s even easier to get off track when you don’t have a clear picture of what needs done. Keep a to-do list either on paper or on your phone and remember to check it frequently. When working on a large project, write down each piece of the project so you don’t lose track of the small picture. Remember to celebrate when you scratch something off!
Start on the right foot – Begin with a few easy tasks to give you a sense of accomplishment. Or do the opposite and start with something you normally procrastinate.
Keep it together – Store often used items in a convenient place and like items together. Keep your gym clothes, shoes and iPod in a bag together so they are ready when you are. Always put your keys, shoes, coat, purse and other daily used items in the same convenient place.
Visualize your goal – When you start to feel distracted or stressed, take a moment to consider how good it will feel to cross that project off your list.
Time yourself – Set an egg timer or the alarm on your phone. You will be amazed how much can be accomplished when you’re working against the clock!
Mess creates stress – Clutter is distracting. If you are distracted by the stack of mail on the kitchen table or the pile of files that should be put away at work, take a few minutes to bust through that clutter. Sometimes a clean work space is all you need to get started.
Start early – Most people have the most energy in the morning. Do tedious or difficult tasks early because your concentration is at its best. Put off the easy, mindless work until the afternoon slump.
Cut the cord – Technology is a great tool and terrible distraction. A lot of people aren’t productive because they are playing on Facebook or checking email every few seconds. If you are really trying to focus and get a lot done, turn off your smart phone, sign out of social media and close your email. It will all be waiting for you when you’re done.
Tech support – With that said, technology can be a huge help providing you with websites and apps that help with everything from managing projects to editing pictures. Seek out sites that can aid with workflow rather than distract from your focus.
Recover lost time – If you commute 30 minutes a day, that’s almost 8,000 hours you spend in the car each year. Listen to an audio book or learn to view the drive as “me time” instead of stressing over where you are going. While waiting for that oil change or doctor appointment, make your grocery list or read a book.
Give yourself a break – It sounds counterproductive but sometimes you just need a little break to clear your mind. Get up for a cold drink, take a quick walk or find a snack. Whatever you do, periodically give yourself a few minutes to decompress and reenergize.
Set yourself up to succeed – Do things during off-peak hours when you are less likely to experience lines and delays. Don’t hit the grocery store at 5 p.m. on a Friday when you know it’s busy. Try going later in the evening or on Sunday morning. Ask for your dentist’s first appointment of the day.
What are your favorite productivity tips and tricks? Post in the comments section and we will share our favorites on our Facebook page.