- We all have those days where you get next to nothing done at work—fortunately, we all also have the power to ensure the days that ensue are more productive.
- First, you should eliminate all detectable distractions: your phone, email or social media notifications, and noise in the office.
- Also, prioritize sleep and taking breaks at work; your body and mind need due rest at night and throughout the work day.
- Another helpful tip is to create your own deadlines—instead of waiting until the last possible moment to start an assignment, create and work toward smaller deadlines that lead up to the finish line.
- Furthermore, focusing on one task at a time can prove beneficial: instead of trying to accomplish everything at once, make headway on one assignment at a time.
- Finally, have a little faith—tell yourself that you can and will do better at work, you must first believe you’re capable before you can achieve.
You know those days where you go to work and come home feeling utterly unaccomplished? It’s as if you weren’t there at all—a zombie dressed in your suit or heels kept your seat warm instead. As you realize you crossed nothing off of your to-do list, a headache ensues.
We all know that you can’t change the past. So it’s let’s shift focus to the future: How can you ensure that the following day will be more productive? How can you make your time at work count and cross off all of those to-dos? The following tips will help to ensure productivity:
1) Eliminate any obvious distractions.
The first thing you should do is eliminate all possible distractions. That means turning off your text and email notifications and closing out unnecessary tabs on your computer (like Facebook or Instagram). It also means eating breakfast before work so that stomach growls don’t lead you away from your desk, to the kitchen or vending machine, within minutes of getting settled. Furthermore, if your coworkers are regular pulling you away from your work, let them know not to interrupt your work unless it’s important. And lastly, cut down on that annoying background noise—put in your earphones (if allowed) so you can control what you’re listening to rather than tuning in and out of conversations and the general hustle and bustle of the office.
2) Prioritize your rest—before, during and after work.
Work is no excuse to neglect your body’s need for due rest. This not only means getting the right amount of sleep at night, but also giving yourself a break when you need it at work. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends most adults get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night. So, if you’re missing that recommendation by a longshot, it’s time to make some changes: make sleep a priority, and create and stick to a sleep schedule (yes, you just might have to cut back on precious Netflix time). You should also take habitual breaks in order to produce your best work. Our brains can only focus for so long—so it’s better to work harder for a smaller amount of time and then take a break than it is to sit at your desk all day staring at the paper or laptop in front of you. If you feel like your brain needs a small break, take it.
3) Give yourself deadlines to work toward.
Many of us are true procrastinators or only work well when under pressure. We put something off until it’s due the next morning or can’t fully focus on a project until we have no other choice… because time’s about up. In order to combat this fault, make your own deadlines to work toward. That big assignment that’s due next month? Split it up into sections to be completed and assign each section a different due date. That way, even though you might procrastinate, you aren’t in dire danger of missing a big deadline or failing to get any real work done for a whole week or two.
4) Narrow in on one task at a time.
Multitasking can be super helpful… at times: it allows us to cook dinner, watch TV, and do laundry all at the same time. But, while it’s helpful in moments like these, studies have shown that multitasking can actually diminish your productivity, reduce creativity, and cause you to make more mistakes. Therefore, it’s probably best to reserve our multitasking skills for mundane tasks and keep them out of the office. Instead, focus all of your efforts on one task at a time when you’re at work. If you’re in a meeting, narrow in on the conversation at hand, instead of trying to listen and jot down ideas for an assignment you have, at the same time. Similarly, if you have two assignments due at the end of the day, focus your attention and energy on one at a time.
5) Tell yourself you can and will do better.
In order to accomplish anything in life, you have to first believe that you can do it. This rings true for being more productive at work. If you tell yourself that you’re incapable of reaching your goals or being better at your job, then you never will. You must believe that you’re capable of producing outstanding work. So, shake that unmotivated nonbeliever and go in to work every morning, from here on out, telling yourself that you can—because you’re awesome! Now enough dilly dallying around, get back to work. Wake up tomorrow excited and determined to make the day better than the previous. This combined with the other tips above will make for one productive, accomplished individual.
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