Here are a few tips for making ‘work’, or life, more productive, from a fantastic article on kick-starting your productivity, written by Peter Economy:
ToDo Lists – While this is a classic tip, I find it helpful to keep a personal list and a work list, and make them no longer than what you can accomplish that day. There is nothing more gratifying than checking an item off a list, and the daily habit reinforces a solid productivity baseline. If the task is in the future, put it on your calendar.
For another example, see Tim Ferriss in Inc.com article on Productivity Secrets.
Find Your Happy Time – If you’re a morning person, start your workday at 5am. If you’re a nighttime person, fire up your laptop after the kids are in bed. With a little negotiation between your manager and your family, recognize and embrace your optimal-work-window.
For another example, see “Birdman” in Inc.com article on Productivity Secrets.
Take a Recess – Go for a walk. Climb stairs. Get your blood moving faster than a Resting Position. Recess works wonders on a wiggly 9-year old, setting them up for an hour of intense focus on multiplication tables. Think what it can do for you.
Clean Your Workspace – I am guilty of not cleaning as often as I should. But let me tell you, sorting through your inbox, purging files, and wiping down your desktop and electronics is a critical exercise. If everything is nailed down, use a compressed air can to blast away last week’s layer of dust. I recently took a toothbrush to my keyboard. A little house-keeping can go a long way toward de-cluttering your space, and your head.
Get Inspired – Pull out that Kindle, open a book, browse the web for the day’s news. As long as it doesn’t distract you to a fault, refocus your eyes and mind on something else for a short while. You may bring back some needed perspective to your project.
Share a Laugh, and Some Gratitude – Tell someone a joke. Add a light-hearted sentence to an email. Tell someone ‘Thanks’, or ask a co-worker how their day is going. If you’re not the company jokester, no worries. You can brighten someone’s day by showing your appreciation of them. If we all feel cared for, we’re happier and more engaged—and more productive.
Recess – Did I mention Recess already? Try meditating. No one has to know. But you’re moving and practicing introspection. That is key.
Drink Water – I actually have 2-3 drinks on my desk at a time. I’m fickle. And hydrated. Keep the headaches at bay, take less sick time. It adds up.
Take a Nap – Not my cup of tea, but if you’re a night-owl, nap away. Similar to Recess, your brain will experience a complete reversal of operations, which is guaranteed to deliver inspiration.
Multi-Tasking Vacation – Have a big project due? Take those ToDo lists we talked about, and put them in a drawer. Put your [communication app of choice] on Do Not Disturb, and commit yourself to hammering out that task you’ve been avoiding all day. You’ll feel better about it, even if starting it is the hardest part. Acknowledge you made some progress, and set a daily Do Not Disturb appointment on your calendar to ensure continued progress.
For other examples, see Dov Charney, Napoleon, and Nikki Papadopoulos in Inc.com article on Productivity Secrets.
Just Walk Away, For a While – Vacations are amazing, and tough … the lure of taking time off is tempting, but the hassle of getting job coverage— and then catching up afterwards—seems monumental. It’s an emotional trap. But, think back to your last few vacations. Do you regret taking them? If so, why? Perhaps you need to discuss the pitfalls of vacation time with your manager. There may be opportunities you are unaware of, because if this issue is affecting your morale, your manager, or HR Department, should step in.
Connect time away from work with needing to focus on a big project. Practicing perseverance in your personal life can positively affect your ability to focus while at work.
Right Job, Wrong _____ – OK, so if all else fails, and you can’t see yourself with your current employer one more day, take a leap of faith and look for a new job. If you don’t feel engaged, inspired, and productive, accept that there are factors you can’t control, and find a new opportunity for yourself. (image via Shutterstock)