10 Ways to Be More Productive
Do you struggle with productivity throughout the day? Do you feel as though you spend hours spinning your wheels without getting anything done?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’re definitely not alone. Reports show that only seven percent (yes, seven) of workers report feeling productive during their regular working hours.
Clearly, feeling unproductive is common. That doesn’t mean you have to just accept it, though.
If you want to get more out of your workdays and leave the office feeling accomplished, keep reading. Listed below are 10 effective strategies that will help you be more productive and get more done.
1. Break Projects Down
Many people find themselves procrastinating and being unproductive because they’re actually feeling overwhelmed by a big project on their plate. Sometimes, they feel like they have so much to do that they don’t know where to start and end up doing nothing at all. If this resonates with you, you may benefit from breaking your project down into smaller pieces. Try reverse engineering it to see if that helps it feel more manageable.
Start with the deadline and figure out how much time you have to get the project done. Then, work backward and identify the most important components of that project.
Once you’ve done that, set additional deadlines for when you need to complete each of those components. For example, you can set a deadline for the outline, a deadline for each chapter of the report, and a deadline for when you need to have it edited.
2. Monitor Your Time
Do you ever find yourself asking questions like “where did the time go?” If that’s the case, you may need to do a time audit on yourself and find out where, in fact, the time went.
Many people think they’re being productive during the day, only to find out later that there are huge chunks of time that are taken up by useless or low-value activities like checking social media or responding to emails.
Try performing a time audit on yourself. Get yourself a blank sheet of paper and jot down what you do throughout the day. Take note of when you start and when you finish, too. Be honest with yourself during this process.
Once you have a clear outline of what you do each day, you can more easily identify where you’re spending (and possibly wasting) most of your time. It’ll also be easier for you to look for ways to trim your schedule so you can get more done.
3. Delegate When Necessary
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and delegating less important tasks to your colleagues.
Delegating helps to clear your to-do list and gives you more time to focus on the tasks that only you can accomplish. Go through your to-do list and look for opportunities for you to outsource work to someone else.
When you’re breaking down your projects into larger chunks, this is also a good time to look for opportunities to delegate. For example, maybe you can have someone else proofread your report or format it for you.
4. Try the Pomodoro Technique
Many people swear by the Pomodoro Technique when it comes to staying on task and avoiding distractions.
The Pomodoro Technique involves setting timer for 25 minutes and working uninterrupted for those 25 minutes. No breaks, no responding to texts or emails. You focus on your work and nothing else.
When the 25 minutes are up, you get to take a break for five minutes to clear your head and refocus. Once those five minutes are up, you dive right back into another 25-minute work session.
Twenty-five minutes might not seem like a lot, but you can get quite a bit done in that time period, especially if you’re ignoring distractions and focusing intently. Knowing that they have a break coming once those 25 minutes are over helps many people to stay motivated and on-task, too.
5. Improve Your Work Environment
Think about what your desk looks like right now. Is it neat and tidy, with everything in its place? Or, does it look like a strong gust of wind just knocked everything over and blew everyone’s office supplies onto your desk?
If the latter seems like a more accurate depiction of your workspace, it’s time to tidy up. You’d be amazed at how much better and more productive you’ll feel when your desk is neat and organized.
Get rid of clutter, keep your decorations minimal, and make sure everything has a specific place. This will help you maintain order and avoid turning your desk into a dumping ground.
You might want to consider adding a potted plant to your desk, too. This can help improve the air quality of your office and has been shown to boost productivity and improve your mood while at work.
6. Find Ways to Move
Getting up and moving throughout the day is a great way to break up tasks and keep you motivated.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to go for a walk, stretch, or do some light bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or push-ups. Whatever you like to do, breaking up your day with movement helps to improve blood flow and makes it easier for you to stay focused. It’s can also help to improve your memory and enhance your performance.
The next time you think you need another cup of coffee to get through your afternoon, try getting in some movement instead. You might be surprised at how much more energized and alert you feel.
7. Create an Effective Morning Routine
In many cases, you’ll have an easier time being productive throughout the day if you start your morning in a productive way.
Instead of rolling out of bed at the last possible second and sprinting out the door to get to work on time, try waking up a little earlier and establishing a productive morning routine.
Spend some time reading, meditating, or writing in a journal before you head out for work. Enjoy a healthy breakfast that keeps you full and gives your brain the nutrients it needs to perform at its best (fat and protein are essential -- leave the sugar for later).
Everyone’s ideal morning routine looks different. Try a few different things to figure out what works for you, then stick to it.
8. Turn Off Notifications
If you have text, email, and chat notifications popping up on your computer all day long, it can be very hard to stay focused and get work done in a timely manner. You may also find that you’re more prone to mistakes when you’re always being distracted with these notifications.
To increase the accuracy of your work and maintain your focus, turn your notifications off. Set aside specific chunks of time throughout the day to check and respond to emails and text messages.
Let your employees and colleagues know about these times, too. That way, they won’t be expecting a response from you right away.
9. Set (and Stick to) Office Hours
Do you constantly have people popping into your office during the day to ask “quick questions” or get your opinion on something? If that’s the case, how are you supposed to get anything done, especially when you’re doing deep work that requires all your concentration?
To avoid interruptions that throw you off and pull you away from important work, set and stick to office hours. Let everyone in your office know that you’re only available for a certain number of hours each day.
Maybe you can set aside an hour in the morning and an hour after lunch to take questions or respond to concerns from co-workers. Outside of those hours, keep your door closed and make sure people know that they should only come and get you in an emergency.
10. Use the Right Tools
There are lots of tools out there that can help you be more productive throughout the day. A good project management app like Breeze is one of the best tools you can utilize.
Breeze can help you manage your to-do list, prioritize tasks, keep track of project deadlines and assign tasks to yourself and your colleagues to ensure everything gets done.
Breeze also allows you to check-in with the other members of your team, too, and find out if there are any issues that are holding things up or causing confusion. It’s your one-stop-shop for all things productivity-related. Once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you got anything done before.
Start Getting Things Done Today
Everyone has days where they feel unproductive. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been having more unproductive days than productive days, it may be time to make some changes to the way you work.
Start by implementing some of these strategies listed above. They can help you get more done and stay focused on your goals, even on days when your sense of motivation is lower than you’d like.
Don’t forget to check out Breeze, too. Breeze makes project management, well, a breeze, and provides you with all the tools you need to stay on task and get things done. Sign up today for a free trial.