Productivity is something everyone strives for at the workplace. Let's face it, though - unleashing your inner productivity beast on command is easier said than done. It's easy to fake productivity for those who are having off days, but over time, people who are regularly unproductive are typically shown the door. Knowing how to motivate yourself and maximize your own productivity can help you take your professional life to the next level.
So how do you go from unmotivated to productive without faking it? Read on to learn more.
Knowing what needs doing is the first and perhaps most vital step in increasing your productivity. Here's are a few guidelines to get the most out of your task list.
- Make a plan each week. Prioritize tasks. Spread big tasks evenly through the week.
- At the end of each work day, lay out the vital tasks for the day ahead. Schedule big ones, leave room for the little ones.
- Avoid being overwhelmed first thing with what must be accomplished by simply working.
- Don't overbook. Leave built-in free space on your daily schedule to handle unexpected interruptions.
Big Rocks Go First
Spend less time on detailed lists by using the 'Big Rocks' method. Use the big items (those would be the rocks) from your master list and schedule time to finish them in your week. If possible, get them done early in the day so life can't. Leave flexible space in your daily schedule to handle the smaller tasks. The idea is to focus on those things which need to be done, and ensure there are less potential obstacles to accomplishing them by scheduling them in and getting them done early. Leaving blank spaces in your schedule allows you to accomplish the shorter, less vital tasks when you have the time and focus. This is, for some, a less stressful and time-consuming way to manage your productivity.
Try the Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro Method helps break up the day with small breaks built in designed to help retain your mental agility. This has a few benefits. It allows you to handle interruptions with ease, as during a work interval, you just note the disruption and attend to them after. Twenty-five minutes is not too long for nearly anything to wait. It also allows your brain time to recharge so you retain the highest amount of focus throughout the working day. Each task is worked on for a set period, typically twenty-five minutes, followed by a short break of three to five minutes. After four sessions, you earn a longer break of fifteen to twenty minutes. After each task is accomplished, it's recorded. This adds a sense of accomplishment and helps you track progress through the day.
All of us have different needs for a good working environment. Some research has indicated that white background noise can induce several stress responses that reduce our ability to plan, reason, and utilize our short term memory. Creating a quiet, serene workspace where you can, or acquiring noise-cancelling headphones where you can't, could have a significant impact on your ability to focus. If you are accustomed to utilizing music or work in a busy, noisy environment, try to switch it up for a week and see how your work is impacted.
One at a Time
Multitasking is less efficient than focusing on a single task. Recent studies at Stanford show that multitaskers accomplish less than focused workers and lose their ability to focus. Another study at the University of London suggested that multitasking can actually lower IQ levels. So instead of trying to juggle several things at once, pick a task and zoom in for better productivity.
Deadlines are Motivators
Research has shown that the closer we come to a deadline, the more motivated we are to work. To use this principle to build better behavior, we need to be aware of those deadlines. Make a note on your task list of when things are due so. Use the building pressure to give yourself an extra boost of motivation to supercharge your performance.