Productivity is something that ebbs and flows for most of us. We can have super productive days where we feel invincible and accomplish all we set out to do. On other days, it’s a struggle to complete the most basic tasks. How do you balance these competing feelings and focus on sustainable productivity in your career? Here are 5 things you can do to stay productive at work.
That may sound like the opposite advice for being productive, but studies have shown that multitasking negatively affects productivity. The human brain isn’t designed to handle more than one task at a time, so when you try to focus on too many things at once, none of them are given the attention they need to be done well. Instead of multi-tasking, prioritize. Make a schedule of the things that need to get done and cross them off when they’re completed.
Turn Off Notifications
Email, texts, and social media can all impede productivity, so eliminate these distractions. Give yourself time to review and respond to emails just twice a day. Otherwise, turn off the inbox alerts and don’t check unless it’s on the schedule. Silence your phone, so you don’t feel the need to check your texts or social media notifications while you should be concentrating on the work at hand.
Tackle the Hardest Task First
When you’re faced with several tasks in a workday, start with the hardest task you need to complete. When you prioritize in this order, you can get the most difficult task out of the way and work on the easier tasks as you begin to lose focus later in the day. This helps to keep you on track and feel accomplished, which can motivate you more.
Organize Your Workspace
A disorganized or cluttered workspace can also impact your ability to be productive. Take time to create an organizational system so you can find everything you need when you need it. Keep files well labeled and put things away as soon as you’ve finished a task. The same is true for your digital files, which can also become cluttered if you’re not organizing them in an easy to find or search manner.
Another secret weapon for increased productivity is regular breaks. You may also think that taking a break from work won’t help you be more productive, but that’s not the case. Sometimes stepping away from a problem can help you see it in a new light. So take frequent breaks during the day. And be sure to take your vacation days as they can recharge you and give you more energy when you return to work.
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