5 Hacks To Improve Your Productivity
Taking Your Work To The Next Level
Living in the Digital Age means constantly being inundated with a whole slew of distractions – from YouTube videos to the latest Netflix Original, millions of content are generated nearly every minute, rendering us unable to work continuously for a prolonged period. To add to that, smartphone apps and the abundance of online forums mean that we tend to spend more time “taking breaks,” rather than getting things crossed off our to-do lists.
Without a doubt, it’s challenging to achieve high levels of productivity in a world where doing so seems impossible. The wide range of entertainment options at our fingertips, as well as workplaces that offer neither motivation nor inspiration has left us unable to stay focused on the task at hand.
However, the fast-paced and continuously changing nature of the business landscape means that we are often responsible for an endless pile of jobs and assignments, most of which involve intricate processes and complex skillsets. But with the medley of diversions available, it can be rather tricky to accomplish all these promptly while managing to get enough rest and sleep.
So, do you frequently find yourself reaching for your phone whenever you set about to work? Is it difficult for you to keep your concentration on whatever task it is in front of you? And, are you often forced to work beyond your set hours because you were unable to finish the assignments entrusted to you?
Well, here are five simple yet incredibly effective hacks that will boost your productivity and take your work to the next level.
Write Down All Your Tasks
Here’s the thing about the workplace – it’s often messy and disorganized, with paperwork strewn about and managers assigning you more and more work on top of your regular duties. Understandably, it can be extremely challenging and frustrating to try to remember all that you have to do, especially when you’re working in a highly stressful environment where obstacles are incessantly thrown at you, pushing you to perform at your best at all times.
Because of this, it’s best that you write down every task and every assignment that you’re given, as well as all the meetings and events that you’ve committed to.
Having a list of everything that you need to accomplish increases your energy levels, allowing you to focus on what the things that should be done, rather than on the act of trying to remember all that you’ve been assigned with. More importantly, though, capturing these responsibilities helps you organize your thoughts and form a game plan on how to best go about each job.
Recording and writing down all the tasks that you’re responsible for is one of the simplest ways to increase your productivity levels. It’s a method tried and tested by business leaders, executives, and notable figures throughout history.
Nowadays, there are a ton of tools at your disposal to help you improve how you organize your daily to-do list or schedule. For instance, apps like Trello and Wunderlist are used by thousands of people across the globe to help them break down what they need to accomplish for the day. Meanwhile, Google Chrome extensions like Moment reminds you of your tasks even when you’re browsing the web. Or, you can always opt for the old-fashioned pen and paper method; planners, post-it notes, and desk calendars may not be glamorous or high-tech but they’re still incredibly effective.
Pro Tip: Categorize your tasks based on their level of priority with those that need to be accomplished first written on top and those that can be put off until the last minute down at the bottom.
Do The Hardest, Most Dreaded Task First
Now that you have your to-do list in hand, it can be tempting to start with the easiest tasks first. Many people fall into the trap of crossing-off responsibilities that don’t involve much work, such as clearing their desks, sending follow-up emails to clients and management, or even updating whatever spreadsheet it is that they’re responsible for.
However, by concentrating on uncomplicated and straightforward assignments, you end up unnecessarily wasting precious time and energy on accomplishing those that don’t need a ton of effort, to begin with. Moreover, you’ll find yourself taking a few minutes to rest once these duties are finished – a break that, more often than not, will last hours upon hours, rendering you unable to work on your other, more challenging tasks.
Starting your morning by working on your easier and simpler assignments has also proven to be incredibly detrimental to your mental health and wellbeing; for one thing, you’re left with no motivation at all to tackle your more difficult responsibilities later during the day. For another, ending the day slaving away on extremely complicated duties, most of which you’ll probably be unable to finish due to a lack of drive and enthusiasm, will only put a damper on your spirits, giving you negative vibes that could have adverse effects on your personal life.
You may have felt fulfilled and productive at the beginning of the day by crossing off a lot of tasks on your to-do list but in the end, doing so only served to erode your motivation, leaving you incapable of finishing the rest of your responsibilities.
Pro Tip: If you can’t completely finish your hardest and most dreaded task first thing in the morning, then at least strive to work towards accomplishing it. For instance, if it’s a challenging blog post that you need to write, then start with a few sentences here and there. On the other hand, if you’re anxious about facing a client whom you find hard to deal with, then try to jot down a rough outline of the points that you’re going to make to them. By breaking down difficult tasks into smaller and manageable chunks, they’ll be much easier to face head-on.
Eradicate All Distractions
The biggest things that keep your productivity levels low and abysmal are the great many distractions found all around you. It can be hard to resist the urge to scroll mindlessly through Facebook and Twitter and the temptation to watch another episode of a great Netflix series is often irresistible, however, these must be done if you want to maximize the workday and quickly finish off all your assignments.
Put your phone on silent – or on vibrate, if you have to stay on top of messages and calls – and turn off all your notifications, including those from social media, news sites, and even from your weather app. Glancing down every now and then to check out an alert will inevitably lead to you picking up the device and starting yet another cycle of thoughtless and idle browsing.
Understandably, it can be rather tough to go through an entire day without checking your phone for any important reports and notifications. To combat this, schedule a block of time – say, an hour or so – where you’ll focus on the task at hand and nothing else. Put up the do not disturb sign, shut your office door, and eradicate all the distractions at your desk, from your electronic devices to that magazine that you were skimming. In this kind of set-up, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your assignment.
Pro Tip: The Pomodoro Technique is a handy productivity and time management method that involves breaking down a task into 25-minute intervals, with a five-minute break in between. This strategy helps you stay focused on whatever it is that you need to do without completely frying your break with exhaustion and an overload of information. Forest, PomoDone, and Focus Booster are all incredible apps that promote the Pomodoro Technique, automating the process and allowing you to concentrate on your assignments.
Don’t Forget To Take Breaks
Naturally, even the most productive people need to take a few minutes to rest and rejuvenate themselves. As human beings, there’s a limit to how long we can dedicate deep levels of focus and energy on a particular task without feeling both physically and mentally exhausted.
Because of this, the role that taking a break plays in our productivity levels shouldn’t be underestimated. Not only do these pauses allow you to feel refreshed and ready to take on the next few tasks, but they will also keep your mental health stable and in check.
To add to that, fatigue is notorious for its ability to impair your efficiency and effectiveness; if you want to deliver output free from mistakes and discrepancies, then you’ll allow yourself to take some time to breathe, restoring your energy and ensuring that your mind feels fresh and well-prepared.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve managed to accomplish a few of your tasks, pause for around ten to fifteen minutes. Stretch, walk around the block, eat a snack, or drink water – all these will help keep the tiredness at bay, which means that you can tackle the next batch of assignments without feeling drained and ready to give up. If work permits, take a short nap or do a few office yoga exercises – simple methods that will do wonders for your productivity levels.
Place Your Trust In Your Co-Workers And Delegate
Today, the majority of employees tend to be ambitious, driven, and overachievers, pushing themselves to rise to the top of whatever department or organization it is that they’re working with. They frequently find it hard to decline assignments and projects, eagerly taking on more work in a bid to prove themselves worthy of a promotion. More importantly, they’re inclined to keep all the responsibilities to themselves, believing it to be extremely beneficial to their resumes and desired career trajectory.
However, multi-tasking and finding yourself drowning in the amount of work that you have to do is far from an indication of high productivity levels. Rather, this situation only renders you unable to deliver your best work and suffering from sheer exhaustion, as well as mental health issues.
Listen, your colleagues aren’t out to get you and your promotion won’t be denied just because you asked for help from a co-worker. Instead of trying to take on all the responsibilities, place your trust in the people around you and delegate. By separating tasks and working with others, you’ll find it much easier to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself, as well as the success indicators established by the company or your employer.
Remember, high levels of productivity are caused by doing tasks that you’re actually good at. If you don’t have skills in graphic design or scriptwriting, then your productivity will only decrease if you try to take those on. Instead, delegate your weaknesses to co-workers and allow them to shine, as well.
Due to the various forms of distractions out there, productivity in today’s world may seem impossible, an insurmountable obstacle achieved only by top business executives and leaders privileged enough to have a whole host of assistants at their beck and call. However, it’s important to note that high levels of productivity can be attained, as long as you keep yourself focused and your eyes on the prize.
By following these four simple hacks, you’ll find yourself breezing through your tasks, as well as your workday, in no time at all.