Productivity is the key to getting things done. Sometimes, though, our productivity isn’t where it needs to be.
Or is it just me?
Do you work from home? If so, maybe you can relate to this scenario. You start your day with the best of intentions. You have a to-do list that at first glance doesn’t seem too long. But as the day goes on, distractions from well-meaning friends and family creep into your schedule. Other items crop up that have to be dealt with. Before you know it you have only tackled one or two items on your original to do list.
Or maybe you’re a parent with kids in the house. You wake up overwhelmed with everything that you need to get done that day. Laundry. Dirty dishes. Hungry kids. Appointments. You spend your days picking up toys, carpooling kids to various activities and fixing meals. Most days go by in a blur, with you spending most of your time searching for lost items. Rarely do you have time to sit down and enjoy your hobbies or read a book. You crave the organizational freedom of other parents who always get more done and always know where things are.
Or how about this? You work outside the home and can’t seem to get projects finished at work. A typical day might go something like this: You arrive at work ready to start on the big project. You get all set up, only to be interrupted by a co-worker who wants to gossip. You politely listen, all the while knowing you need to be working. Finally you get back to your project only to realize you don’t have all the information you need. So you take a break. In the mean time you come across another project that needs your attention. Finally at the end of the day, you realize you didn’t get your original project finished and have to stay late to finish it or take work home with you.
Any of those scenarios seem familiar? I, honestly, can relate to all of them because I have lived them at some point in my life. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some seem to get way more done than others.
Strategies to Maximize Your Productivity
- What is the first thing you do each day and how does it help or hurt your productivity? Create a morning routine that makes you feel fresh and ready to start the day.
- Spend some time each day creating a list of things to do that’s prioritized from most important to least.
- When you’re performing a task, give it your full attention. If you find yourself too distracted or burnt-out, take a break and come back to the task when you can give it your full focus.
- De-clutter your workplace, your mind and your list of things to-do. Remove distractions and things that waste your time, and you’ll find yourself being much more productive.
- Don’t continuously multitask! When you multitask, you don’t always get more done. Instead, you lose focus and no one task gets the full attention it deserves.
- Identify the things that distract you and hurt your productivity most. These are your main enemies! Develop special strategies to eliminate and/or control them.
- Discover you best times of day to focus. Each of us has our own natural rhythms. Get in touch with yours and use them to your advantage.
- Monitor how you spend your time each day. For a week or two, keep a work log or journal. Look back over it and you may be surprised to discover how you’re really spending your time.
- Stay in the best physical health possible because it affects your mindset. Get some exercise, eat and sleep well, and develop some strategies for handling stress.
- You’re not alone! Seek help when you need it and get some of the unnecessary items off your to-do list.
Being productive takes planning and time. We often want to find an extra hour or two a day to do certain tasks. But if you put into effect systems and get organized in your daily life you can get a lot more done each day. Parents can easily fit in more fun time with their kids when they organize their day and their home and learn to say “no” more often. Work at home workers can be more productive by eliminating distractions from family and friends. Employees can be more productive by planning out a project and working on it in chunks. These little changes can make a big difference in how productive you become.