What project should I focus my attention on?
Let's be honest: when aren’t we doing several things at once, checking our twitter account, reading this article and writing an email to our boss?
Multi-tasking seems more productive, but studies have shown that it takes our brains four times longer to multi-task.
If we focus on one thing at a time, our productivity will skyrocket! In order to complete the current tasks, let's start with the most important one.
When am I most productive?
Let's think back to last week and try to find the time when we were most productive. Was it when we had our coffee in the morning, or later in the day?
Once we find it, we can organise our work around our “golden hours,” rather than struggling to finish our work during times when our brains are idling.
What disturbs my productivity?
Do we stop our work in progress to open that email we just received? Are we always on the lookout on social networks?
If our mailbox disturbs us, close it and deactivate all notifications when we are working on a specific task. As long as we keep a line of communication available, we shouldn't worry about missing important information.
Do I listen to music when I work?
We assume that silence helps us to work better, and it can be true to a certain extent. However, studies have shown that listening to music can help us be more productive, especially when doing repetitive tasks.
Am I taking enough breaks?
It is important to take breaks, often, even when we have a large workload. Having lunch in front of your desk can have a negative impact on our productivity.
It is proven that taking breaks frequently at regular intervals helps you to stay focused, and increases our efficiency at work.
What are my long term goals?
While setting short-term goals is a good way to stay motivated, it's also important to have long-term goals.
For example, if you were aggregating data for your next report, remember that completing this task will help you increase your customer base, which is one of the company’s major goals. Thus, you would be less tempted to postpone the task, because you realise its capital importance.
Do I ask for help when I need it?
When we feel overwhelmed by our workload, it can sometimes have an adverse effect and be counterproductive as we have so much to do we have no idea where to even start. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is easier to lift a heavy item with two people.
If we feel like we'll never get to the end of our task load, it's easy to give up. But if we divide up the work sensibly, we'll feel like the work is more manageable.
Do I praise myself when I do a good job?
Do we take time to celebrate a task that we have completed? Or do we commit directly to a new project without enjoying our wins?
Celebrating the small wins can reinforce motivation and increase productivity. Let's take the time to appreciate when we do a good job, even if it's something simple. The praise will give you a little pick me up when starting the next task.
Am I happy?
It's unrealistic to imagine ourselves jumping for joy all day, every day. But wouldn’t that be nice? We all know that feeling, when we just want to finish what we have to do and go home. Undeniably, we're not going to do a good job if we are counting down the minutes until we are done.
If this is the case, you need to look for a way to improve your mood. Are you angry or tense? Maybe it would be useful to go for a walk to decompress? We could listen to some music, something upbeat or classical to get our spirits up. Instead of forcing ourselves to stay glued to our desks, let's see if there is something positive we can do to relax a little.
My final question is, how many productivity hacks have we tried today? It must be recognised that trying to manage your time can waste a lot of time if we spend more time and energy finding tips and making “to-do lists” than doing our job.
So if this is the first workplace productivity article we've read today, that's fine, but if it's the fifth, it's time to get on with it and get back to work!