Do you wake up in the morning and your first thought is your ever-growing to do list? Do you feel overwhelmed by your task load? Do you lack the motivation to be productive and actually get it done?
We’re all on the constant hunt for a new app to track progress, to make better use of our time, to find that golden goose of productivity tips that will get our brains into gear and actually be productive for the entire day.
The truth is, there is research to support that in your eight-hour workday, the average person is only productive for less than three hours. Two hours and 53 minutes a day, to be exact. So, instead of finding that sweet spot of productivity, learning how you work will help you get more done in less time.
Read on for our top five tips for productivity that’ll get you working in no time!
1. Setting SMART Goals
Throughout the day, you may find yourself getting distracted from your goals, especially if they’re just thoughts. Thoughts without action are just thoughts. In order to realise your goals, both professionally and in your personal life, you need to accomplish specific tasks and activities along the way. Achieving set aspirations can be challenging and involves paving a clear path to success, which can be developed through the simple formula of writing SMART goals.
Getting your goals down on paper with a clear action plan and milestones will allow you to focus on the immediate and more realistic goals, while working towards those bigger dreams.
You can read the blog post about setting SMART goals here
In this day and age, it feels like every task is an urgent one. This is overwhelming, anxiety-inducing and unnecessary. Leading on from goal setting, organising your priorities for the day, week or even the month, is an important tool in maintaining your productivity (and your sanity!).
Using Eisenhower’s “Urgent vs Important” principle, you can effectively time manage and organise your tasks according to priority, freeing up your brain space for more important things!
You can read the blog post about the “Urgent vs Important” principle and working smarter, not harder here
3. Start hard
Question: How does one eat an elephant?
Sometimes the hardest thing about productivity is knowing where to get started. You’ve got your goals written down, you’ve prioritised your list, but there’s something holding you back. There’s a big looming task that needs to be done but you keep putting it off and now it’s crunch time.
Answer: One bite at a time.
Sometimes the easiest thing to do to kickstart your productivity is to start with the hardest activity for the day. Everything in life and work that seems daunting or overwhelmingly impossible can always be accomplished by gradually breaking it down into manageable, smaller chunks and doing one task at a time.
Turn your phone off! Turn the TV off! Don’t sit on the couch. Close your inbox. Put your out of office on. Eliminate all distractions so that you can focus. It’s as simple as that.
Without the constant bombardment of distractions in the form of text messages, ‘urgent’ emails to be actioned, the white noise from the TV, you will find you can focus on one thing and be wholly invested in what you’re undertaking. This is also called single tasking which is proven to be a much more effective and productive way of working compared to multi-tasking.
And to top it off…
5. Working hard or hardly working?
Finding your most productive time of the day and working your tasks and meetings around that is key to being efficient. Understanding how your brain works and when you’re most productive is important to just getting stuck in and doing the work. Ryan Smith, the CEO and co-founder of Qualtrics finds his most productive hours are around lunch time, so he reschedules lunch meetings and does his most creative work in the morning, to keep his flow of productivity going as long as possible.
There are so many ways to help your productivity throughout the day – you just need to find what works for you! We all respond to different stimuli and have different ways of working. Now, with a new hybrid way of working being introduced to a lot of organisations, there is even more opportunity to hone in and focus on the task at hand.