7 Tips To Increase Productivity When Working
There are a lot of distractions that bring us away from our main goals when working. Whether it's checking social media, getting distracted by your inbox or something else entirely. This post will provide you with 7 tips to increase productivity.
1. Stop Multitasking!
In today’s world, being able to focus on one thing at a time can be quite challenging. With more and more distractions as well as increasing demands in work, the ability to focus on one task at a time is something that needs to be practiced.
Single tasking takes less energy than multi-tasking and also means that tasks get done quicker. When you focus fully on a singe task you feel less stress and work can even become enjoyable.
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple tool that you can use to practice. It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on that task for the allotted time. Whenever you are distracted during that time, write a little check mark and keep doing that until the time is up. After the 25 minutes take a 5-minute break and then repeat the process. After 3 or 4 periods of this process take a longer break for 20-30 minutes.
If done correctly the number of checkmarks, you write for each distraction should go down over time. You might be surprised when you first try the technique at how distracted you are!
One of the biggest contributing factors to lack of focusing on a single task is distractions
2. Learn how to say no to distractions
Distractions are everywhere, from the ping of a new email to the sound of your mobile phone buzzing on your desk with yet another notification. It's tempting to allow yourself to be distracted by these things but doing so means that you're not focusing on what you should be working on.
Set specific times to work where you put your phone on silent, put the do not disturb function on and close your email client. Making sure your phone isn’t on your desk so it is not in view is a good way to avoid being distracted by it.
Keeping open internet tabs to a minimum is also advised as well as ensuring that your desk is tidy and free of clutter. It’s remarkable how even the smallest things can distract us! Once distracted it takes brain power to come back to the task at hand.
Having a clear to do list that you can effectively prioritise your tasks is also hugely beneficial when working.
3. Learn how to prioritise tasks
If you've ever found yourself overwhelmed by work, it's likely that you've been in the situation where you have too many tasks to get done and not enough time to do them.
For example, if you're working on a project and there are 10 different things that need to be done, it can be hard to know where to start. If you write down each task on a piece of paper, then put them in order from most important (or urgent) to least important (or not urgent), it will be easier for you to figure out which tasks should be done first, and which ones can wait until later.
You should also prioritize tasks based on how long they will take you to complete them (i.e., if you have five minutes to spare before starting work on a project, then you should use those five minutes working on something else).
Another great benefit to writing lists is being able to cross off the tasks you have done and see the progress that you are making. The act of crossing things off the list actually releases a small amount of the hormone dopamine. This is the hormone that gives us a sense of pleasure which reinforces the sense of achievement and in turn will help begin to build motivation for completing the next task.
As well as this internal reward system, it is important to reward yourself when you have completed tasks, particularly hard ones as it can really help to increase our motivation to focus our energy on completing the next one.
4. Reward Yourself Occasionally
Rewarding yourself is an important part of making sure that you feel good while working, which in turn can help you get more done. For example, if you are working on a big project that takes weeks or months, then it is important to give yourself a reward once it is done. This reinforces the idea to your brain that you have accomplished something and will help motivate you for future projects.
It is also important to give yourself rewards after small tasks are completed as well. This will help incrementally build motivation and keep your brain focused on the task at hand without worrying about other things going on.
Rewarding yourself does not mean that everything needs to be expensive either! It could be something as simple as taking a walk outside, a snack or even taking some time to do something you truly enjoy.
There is a difference between rewarding yourself and taking breaks. Taking a break from working is needed, even though it might seem counter intuitive at times.
5. Schedule Some Breaks Away from Your Desk
When it comes to productivity, breaks are often seen as a waste of time. But it turns out that taking breaks is actually a great way to increase your productivity; IF you know how and when to schedule them.
Here are some tips on how to schedule breaks when working:
- Schedule breaks at the same time every day. This will help you get in the habit of taking a break and give your brain a chance to rest before diving back into work.
- Take breaks for about 10 minutes every hour. This will give you enough time to recharge without losing too much time from your workday.
- Take a longer break every two hours. A quick five-minute break every 90 minutes won't cut it—you need longer breaks so that you can fully recharge before diving back into work again!
Don't take too many breaks or else you'll lose focus and won't be able to get anything done!
6. Unplug at the End of the Day
There are many reasons why unplugging from work and technology at the end of the day can help you avoid burnout, be more productive and more efficient.
First and foremost, it gives you a break from work so that you can recharge for tomorrow's tasks. Whether it's checking your email or taking an online course, we tend to do more than what is necessary to complete our tasks because we don't want to feel like we're missing out on something important. We can often justify this to ourselves as helping us, but in fact if we don’t take time away from work this can lower our average productivity during the day.
Technology is an ever and increasing part of our lives today. In fact, a study by App Annie, uncovered the average person spends 4.8 hours a day, that’s a third of the waking day on their phone!
To combat this feeling of being overwhelmed or distracted by technology during your off-hours, simply disconnect yourself from all forms of technology for at least two hours before bedtime. Spending time on activities that don’t involve technology, for example reading, can help you focus on single tasks without the constant distractions that technology brings.
In fact, getting enough good quality sleep will not only increase your productivity but also your overall wellbeing.
7. Get enough sleep at night.
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep at night can help you feel more energized during the day, improve your mood, and even make you more productive.
If you're not getting enough sleep at night, it's time to make a change. Here are some tips on how to get more sleep:
- Set a bedtime alarm clock so that you have a set time when you need to be in bed every night. Over time your body will naturally adapt to this and you will begin to feel tired at this time, which will help you get into a rhythm.
- Make sure your room is dark and quiet so that it's easier for your body to fall asleep naturally.
- Don't take naps during the day unless they're medically necessary. This is important as it breaks the routine of your sleep pattern and can cause you to not feel tired at night.
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime because it can make it harder for your body to relax at night. The effect of caffeine actually affects your body long after you think it has worn off. Replacing your afternoon coffee with a healthy alternative such as a smoothie can give you that vital boost of energy that you may need.
- Don't eat large meals or snacks before bedtime. Leaving about 3 hours between eating and sleeping allows your body to digest the last food that you ate, and gives a small window so that you don’t go to bed feeling hungry.
- Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, mindfulness or meditation before going to bed. This can rally help to settle your mind and get it ready for sleep.
- Don't do anything stressful before going to bed like watching TV or playing video games. This is not only for the reason that it keeps your mind active, also the light from the screen prevents the production of melatonin as your body thinks that it is still day time and disrupts your sleep pattern.
You may be thinking that there is a lot on this list that you already do, but you may be thinking that there is a lot that you don’t! We would suggest to start with one or 2 of these suggestions and try and make these a habit and just see how this has an effect on your overall productivity.