Productivity advice can be so general sometimes. “Keep your inbox empty.” Or “You can’t multitask.” But productivity is hardly a one-size-fits-all concept. The best way to work depends on the person, it depends on the task, and it depends on the situation surrounding both. Nevertheless, there are some ways to maximize your productivity in a tailored way.
Take a Minute to Focus Mentally
Not all of us have time for a 30 minute yoga class before work. We skip breakfast, battle bumper-to-bumper traffic, and by the time we sit down at our desks, we’re already stressed out. But stopping before we leap into the workday fray can be priceless. Just close your eyes, take some deep breaths and think of one truly happy or positive thing before you turn on your computer.
Then, Prioritize The Day’s Work
It’s easy to respond quickly to that first urgent e-mail, and next thing you know it’s two hours later and you haven’t gotten anything done. Sit down with your to-do list and map out what you need to do that day, and in what order. Becoming familiar with your peak productivity time should help you plan. Leave yourself some free time in case anything urgent comes up out of the blue, but try to stick to your schedule as much as possible – especially in the morning. You can reward yourself with mindless Internet surfing later when the work is done!
Your Top Three Priorities
Next, post your three priorities up where you can see them. Vagueness is not motivating, but a consistent reminder about your priorities creates focus, momentum, and vision. If these are not at the top of your mind when you begin your day, you’re much more likely to waste time, be less productive, and deliver mediocre results.
Organize Your Chaos
And not to sound like your mother, but a disorganized workspace really is a sign of a disorganized brain, so clear your desk of anything that doesn’t pertain directly to the day’s activities. Doing so each morning will prevent things from piling up and ensure that you don’t miss an important note or assignment left by your co-worker or manager.
Your Tomorrow To-Dos
Lastly, take ten minutes at the end of the day to create your To Do list for tomorrow. You have a clearer idea of the progress of your projects and what needs to happen next at the end of the day, so this will save you valuable time prioritizing in the morning.
Emiene Wright is a writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience in news, magazines and online publications. She enjoys travel, music and finding the unusual details that make even the most foreign places feel like home. Connect with Emiene via www.linkedin.com/in/emienewright , www.facebook.com/emienew or www.twitter.com/emienewrites.