We all know people who just seem to be brilliant at getting things done. They never seem flustered, yet they achieve everything they set out to do. It’s easy to look at these people and think they must be either incredibly intelligent or have some special skill. But often, it’s simply a case of great time management. These people have mastered the habits required for productivity.
Daily goal setting
Most productive people have a clear picture of what they need to do each day. Whether you use a simple to-do list, or you break work up on a calendar, give yourself a schedule and stick to it. Naturally, you need to be flexible, because certain jobs may take longer than you think. But if you’ve got a nice visual of what you need to do each day, you’re halfway there.
Distractions are common in any environment. Often, it seems we even look for distractions because we’re not inspired by the tasks we do. This type of procrastination is terrible for productivity, and it’s also not good for motivation. Some distractions are inevitable, but you can take steps to avoid them. If you really want to get stuck into some intensive work, use these tips to eliminate distractions.
- Put your phone away
- Don’t open emails
- Close your office door, even use a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign
- Stay away from social media
- Use a distraction list (write down distracting thoughts to come back to later)
It’s not always possible to shut yourself off from the world, but you can always limit the number of distractions in your day.
Break tasks down into smaller pieces
Have you ever procrastinated because a project just seems too big? It’s often hard to know where to start, and this kills your motivation. The best solution is to break a project into smaller, achievable tasks. Not only does it give you a starting point, but it also gives you some small milestones to celebrate along the way.
There’s a theory that the best way to start a difficult or large project is to just jump in. Get started, no matter how small your first task is, and it gets you going for the rest of the day.
Managing email effectively
Email is one of the biggest productivity killers in the modern world. You’re halfway through writing a report, and the dreaded email notification pops up. It’s so tempting to open that email, even if you know it’s going to draw your attention away from what you’re doing.
One idea is to set aside certain parts of your day to address emails. Right before lunch, or even at the end of the day is good. People will soon get the message that you won’t be giving instant replies, too. That way you can give those emails the attention they deserve, without taking away from your other daily tasks.
Don’t try to multi-task
There’s a common misconception that multi-tasking is a good thing. Many people think it shows great talent to manage multiple things at once. Often, that’s not the case at all, and in fact, those tasks are probably not being done to the best of your ability. Focus on one task at a time, ensure it’s don’t properly and then move to the next.
Take care of yourself
Finally, there’s one thing productive people do better than others, and that’s looking after themselves. Eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and switching off from work are all keys to being productive. Nobody can maintain quality work for 8 hours a day without taking breaks, so when you need to step away, do it. Grab a coffee or go for a walk, whatever suits you best. But make sure you take breaks and take care of yourself. You’ll be more productive in the long run!