Some time ago, I had a challenging time. Every day I was super busy, but I couldn’t finish anything on time. I was still in the middle of something, doing something, but nothing was finished, and I couldn’t see any results. I still had many tasks on my to-do lists, although I was working more than 8 hours per day. The feeling of an unfinished plan was my nightmare.
As it became very annoying, I decided to find any solution because I knew lots of people who could sit down at the desk and after a few hours, clear their lists of tasks, one by one. I couldn’t, and I had to find out why and solve it somehow.
After some research, I realized I had a massive issue with productivity and focus. I read it’s an issue of many people these days, students, employees, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others. Also, in one of the previous articles about the pros and cons of working remotely I wrote about productivity and how important it is to deal with distractions while working from home. I want to share with you 10 tips which helped me to solve this issue and become much more productive.
1. Make lists
The first thing I started to use daily were to-do lists, very detailed ones. I tried to note everything I have to do, each smallest task. I always have a note and pen on my desk, and I use Asana for more significant projects to order everything that needs to be done and really feel the progress. Small wins and success are crucial in the human mind. That’s why every time I see how many tasks I fulfilled every day, I feel very satisfied and motivated. It also helps me to stay focused, because I see the real progress, every time I mark the task as done or scratch it off.
Also, a great thing can be a whiteboard, where you can make a list and just clean it while doing. Believe me, it really makes you feel good.
2. Turn off notifications
Did you realize how many things distract you, mobile, emails, app notifications, calls? There are tones of different things that makes distracting sounds, and the only way to get rid of it is to turn it off.
Every day I spend a few minutes in the morning to check emails, and I turn it off. Then I come back in the evening to check it the second time, and that’s it. It doesn’t bother me anymore during different tasks. Previously, every time I heard the noise of incoming email and saw the red badge meaning the new email came, I just had to check it, now I just don’t see it anymore, and I can stay focused.
I did the same for other things on my mobile and computer, so I have only the necessary tools turned on, and I feel a huge difference in productivity when no notifications are taking my attention from what I actually do.
3. Turn on the music
Since a few months, I realized I’m much more focused while using headphones and listening to music during my work.
First of all, coworkers don’t bother me anymore without serious reason while I’m focused, and I can really cut off from the external environment and think only about what’s need to be done.
Personally, I always select any productivity playlists at Youtube or Spotify. But if different sound helps you to focus feel free to try it.
4. Focus on one task
Being multitasking doesn’t improve your productivity; it rather gives you a lot of started but unfinished things, and that’s demotivating. If you start one task and focus on it until it’s done, you finish it probably in a few hours, but if you try to be multitasking and start three tasks at the same time, you probably won’t finish any of them in few hours.
If you see many things in progress, it may make you feel overwhelmed and demotivated, but if you successfully complete tasks one by one, it seems much easier for your mind.
5. Prepare for the next day
If you start your day without a clear plan, you lose the most productive part of your day for planning. To avoid it, take a few minutes every day before you finish work, or before going to bed to make a to-do list for the next day, order the tasks, rethink what’s necessary and what’s not so important and can be rescheduled.
There’s nothing better to start your day with a plan and getting tasks one by one when your body and mind are on the full power to work. It let you do the job fast and easy, without unnecessary destruction and chaos.
6. Keep it clean
As your daily plan can’t be chaotic, your environment and your mind shouldn’t be as well. If you have a mess on your desk or around your workplace, it destructs you for sure.
What about a clean space with everything put in the proper place?
Also, you have to take care of your mind, because if you think about lots of different things, like going to shop, or taking your car to a mechanic, it decreases your productivity. You need to focus your mind on the current task to get the best results.
For me, a great thing to get rid of mind destructions is meditation. 5 minutes per day helps me to clear my mind and be able to push other things away.
So, for better performance, keep your environment and your mind clean.
7. Keep your body in a good condition
Your mind cooperates very closely with your body, and if your body is rested, it’s ready for new challenges. That’s why it’s essential to take care of it. There are a few healthy habits which give your body some fuel for daily tasks.
First of all, remember to eat a good breakfast. Many studies are confirming the importance of breakfast and its influence on the body. It helps to keep your body healthy, and a healthy body can do much more for you.
Another critical thing to make your body a better tool for you is sport. As mentioned above, health is essential for productivity, and healthy people do sports. I highly encourage you to take a short run or walk in the morning, and it wakes you up and oxygenates your body. Besides, it helps to kick up your day, and your mind after such a morning work like never before.
8. Say no
You can allow others to give you more and more tasks, and you can’t agree to help people all the time. You need to say “no” if you don’t have the capacity to do more, or you just don’t feel like you can do more.
It happens you take something just because you don’t want to be rude, or you don’t want to break your relationship with your colleagues, but it’s not the best solution if you let others put their tasks to your queue. Remember, you have a right to say “no” without explaining why.
9. Take a break
According to the studies, people can focus on something about 10 to 20 minutes, so it sounds reasonable to take a break. I personally do about 5 minutes break every 1 hour, because it’s very easy to measure. Just get up, take a glass of water, walk around, and after 5 minutes, come back to your task. You fill fresh and much more focused on your task than before the break.
If you didn’t try taking a break, I really recommend you to try, at least one day and check how it affects your productivity.
Take your to-do list and check what you can automate. There are a lot of tasks, which can be done once, or you can set up an automatic solution for that.
It’s really worth an investigation because it takes your effort just once, and you won’t have to take care of it anymore, and the task will be done.
Each of us would like to fulfill tasks and feel happy about the progress you’ve done. That’s normal that our mind needs those small successes, and if our productivity is very low and we can’t focus on the things which you have to do, it doesn’t bring you any success. I guess it’s really worth to take in mind that we can improve many things in our lives and a few small changes can bring a huge effect.
Try those few tips and check if your productivity benefits.
I hope you will find these tips helpful and enjoy fulfilling your tasks!