We go to work to be productive but are we productive at every minute? I know a lot of people who drag themselves to do the bare minimum and get over with the day. They don’t care about their growth or their company’s. If they could get away with doing nothing and still be paid, they would do it in a heartbeat. If you are one of those, then I am not sure if this article is going to change your mind but if you wish to do as much as they can in the given amount of time then good for you. We have just the thing for you, read along and achieve all you want.
1. Make a to-do list
I know this can be boring or extra work but hear me out when I say it will make your day way easier. I started at the same place as you might be at right now if you don’t make a list. To me, it seemed stupid to waste time making a list when I could be using the time required to do the actual work, and this is where I was wrong.
Planning is a crucial step for anything you want to do. From where I see it, there are two ways you can go, either spend a few moments planning and get the work done accordingly or save time planning and work in chaos, figuring out what to do next as you go.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the .”
Doesn’t the first option make more sense? Then comes the correct way to make your list. Most people try to fit in a ton of work for the day under the pretense of being productive, but it doesn’t work that way.
What you have to do, to begin with, is, write down the tasks that you have to do or you can do in a day, no matter what. This helps you to minimize your list and keep realistic goals for the day.
2. Break down your tasks as well as time
Now, this is something people either overdo or don’t do enough. The reason why this is important is that it brings your task into perspective and you can micromanage your way through the work without being overwhelmed.
Breaking down your time and tasks into smaller chunks helps you assign the said tasks more efficiently. You know what time works best for you for what function, so you group similar tasks and do it in the timeframe that works for that particular job.
Alternatively, you can also try the Pomodoro technique if it works for you. It’s basically breaking down your time in chunks of 25 minutes each and taking a 5-minute break after each session (or Pomodoro). After four Pomodoros, you can take a longer 15-minute break.
This makes bigger tasks much more manageable and you can see your self making progress every day, rather than being overwhelmed by one big task on which you don’t make any progress.
3. Track the time needed for each task
A lot of people misjudge the time they need to do a job. Knowing your speed and efficiency can be a great asset in terms of productivity. Start timing each task you do. Do this for a few days, and you will get a fairly good idea about how much time you need for a particular task.
This little something can help you plan well, and you will be able to do all the tasks you take on without the stress of the work or the time.
4. Set self-imposed deadlines
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Deadlines stress people out and in some way, they should. When a project is open-ended and does not have a finish line, it is easy to get lost and keep pushing the tasks for the next day, but when you put a deadline to it, the ticking clock helps you get going.
If you feel stressed out just by the idea of deadlines, then you can put up a small reward for yourself or a restrainment. Let’s say you want to go out on Saturday; then you can use that as leverage to get your work done on Friday. Tell yourself that you won’t get to go out if you don’t finish the task. This way, you will get your work done as well as get to enjoy your outing without the ever-lurking presence of an incomplete task.
5. Take frequent breaks
Some people think taking a break means not utilizing time to its fullest. You could be working, right? Wrong. Breaks are necessary to let our brains recharge, and a tired mind is going to get you nowhere. The work you do is not going to be the best, every task will require more time to be completed, and so on.
If you have a job that requires more mental presence than physical efforts, then breaks are essential for you. It doesn’t have to be a long break; a 10-minute rest between set hours or tasks is enough to refresh your mind for the next job.
6. Take a walk
When you have a desk job, it is difficult to work your body out naturally unless you make a conscious effort. If you can’t go out for a walk during work hours, a few rounds of the office would do just fine.
Take a 10-minute walk after lunch or stretch your legs between long tasks. Use it as a way to refresh between short tasks or take a walk while you think about your strategy. A little exercise awakens your body, and you feel more energized to tackle your next order of business.
7. Take a step back
When you feel like increasing your productivity, it is only natural to be tempted to put in longer hours or pack in more work in your already tight schedule. Fight that temptation because it is going to do no good; all it will do is stress you out. This moment is when you need to take a step back and evaluate everything.
Don’t be afraid to downsize the work you do if you think you are not doing justice to it. After all, at the end of the day it’s all about doing a good job and growing from it. If the work cannot be reduced, then you need to take a step back and think about other ways to tackle it because the goal is to work smarter, not harder.
Productivity isn’t something that is achieved overnight. You need to work for it as you need to work for other things. Making small daily changes and keeping up with them is what helps you reach where you want to be. Think about where you are, what you want to achieve, and what you need to do to get there. Now, find a way to do it better, faster, and smarter because a busy day isn’t exactly a productive day.