We’re always challenged with better ways to be more productive. And by productive I’m not talking about just the output of work. I’m also referencing our sanity in the way we get things done.
Here are 5 ways to be more productive:
BLOCK YOUR TIME: One of the hardest parts about accomplishing our tasks is that we’re interrupted. Constantly. The phone. The email. The project management chat feature. ACK! There are many things demanding our attention at all times. Pause. You can flip the script on that. Make it a point to block a couple hours a day (or every other day, whatever you need) where you are committed to being uninterrupted. Your goal is to be strictly focused on your to-do list. No emails. No pings on messenger. No checking social media. Play some music to help set your productive mood. Then get things done. Some people do this 2 times a day.
TAKE BREAKS: There comes a point where the more time you spend on something does not equal better output on the project. Sometimes your brain can use a reboot. Take a break. Take a break and leave your computer to grab coffee or tea. Take a break read from websites that inspire you. Take a break and do a quick walk around the block to clear the air. You can set times for this and you can block this on your calendar too. Return refreshed and ready to dive back in.
WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, BE PREPARED: Confession, sometimes I forget to eat. This sounds like the worst offense ever since I love food, but the thing is I also love designing and I lose track of time (note: when you block your time, set alarms so you don’t go over and remember important things like eating). It’s important for me to have healthy snacks available in the office and to pack a healthy lunch so that I can make sure I have the proper fuel and nutrition to do my job.
SOCIAL MEDIA, SET A LIMIT: The first thing a lot of us reach for in the morning isn’t to snuggle with our significant others. We reach for our phones so we can check social media. We also do it again in the car if we’re stuck in traffic, while on a coffee break, during lunch and of course again in the evening … even after turning out the lights for the night. Social media can be fun, but it’s also a serious distraction. If you have Google Chrome browser, there are plugins that you can use to block social media sites. You can also make it a point to not go on them during business hours (or if monitoring them is a part of your job, you can not dive into your personal account during business hours). If you do want to hop on during the day, limit it to lunch time, or just before leaving for home.
STOP WATCHING YOUR EMAIL: It’s so easy to get caught up in quick responses and firebacks when an email comes in to your inbox. Many of us always have our inbox open. Some sites are now offering pop ups to appear on your desktop when you get new pings or messages (to which my personal response to that is, why on earth would I elect to be constantly interrupted throughout the day?). Set times to check your emails and hold yourself to them. For example, I check my emails at 9AM, 1PM and 4PM. And maybe I spend up to 20 each time. This is going to vary based on your work flow and industry. Find a system that works well for you.
Tweet us with your own ideas for staying productive.