Productivity doesn't need to be complicated. While truly mastering the art of organization and time management doesn't happen overnight, there's lots of simple and small changes you can make right away that will dramatically boost your output. If you feel like you've been lagging or you're searching for ways to accomplish more work in less time, read on for five little tips that can make a big difference.
- Switch off your Internet connection. Unless you're working on something that involves a steady stream of web research and fact checking, eliminating the distractions of email, social media and IM can greatly speed up the rate at which you complete a project. If you do need the web, try to finish as much as you can without it, then fill in the gaps at the very end.
- Spend more time planning, less time working. Many of us jump straight into answering email as soon as we get to work, without any clear plan of what we really need to get done. Before we know it, 3 hours have slipped by. We may feel like we got a lot done, but would be hard pressed to say what we actually accomplished. Before you start working, make a list of 1-3 things you must get done that day, and focus on completing those before you start running around putting out fires.
- Try a change of scenery. If you can, stroll over to the local coffee shop and take along your laptop to complete some work there. If you're stuck in the office, try positioning your chair at a different angle or going to sit in another room with a pen and paper for a while. Moving around, altering your surroundings and looking at different things can all help stimulate creative thought and increase the amount of work you do.
- Set small goals. It's easy to whittle away a lot of time if you don't have a clear objective, but if you establish steps that you know you can accomplish, your focus and concentration will be much better. Try saying things like, I'll write another 200 words in the next 15 minutes or I can come up with one more marketing objective and plan before lunchtime.
- Establish clear work/life boundaries. When you head out of the office in the evening, do what makes you happy, whether it's cooking a nice meal, spending time with your family, working on a hobby, having drinks with friends, or relaxing with a sudsy bubble bath. If you make the most of your time outside work and spend it doing things you enjoy, you'll feel more refreshed and productive when you're back at your desk chair.