Who started the new year to get more done, to be more productive? It is probably safe to say that this a goal on almost all of our lists. And while some of us may be killing it, the rest of us are left wondering how on earth to make it happen.
There is no question that most days, it feels like there is far more to do than time to do it. So the question becomes, how do we maximize the time we have to get the most done?
As much as we would love to wake up masters of productivity, it isn’t that easy – but it is doable. We need to start by creating new habits, changing our mindset, and making sure that we are setting ourselves up for success.
So follow along for some tips and tricks to help set ourselves up for productivity this year.
Start Your Day With The Hard Stuff First
It sounds daunting. Who wants to begin the day with the hard stuff? Most of us think that knocking the easy tasks off our list first thing makes the most sense – the more we can check off in the beginning, the better – and why wouldn’t it? But what we don’t realize is that focusing on the easy stuff to start can set us up for failure. The problem with starting our days with the easy stuff is that we get into a rhythm of just going through the motions, and it conditions our brains to assume that the rest of the day will be just as easy. We can tend to ‘slack-off,’ running out of time to get to the hard stuff. Whereas when you start your day with the difficult tasks on your list, you put yourself in ‘eye of the tiger’ mode, setting a tone of urgency and productivity for the day. When you knock the hard stuff off your list, there comes a sense of accomplishment that will carry you through the day. And the best part is it takes a weight off of you knowing that you completed the important stuff, and you no longer need to worry about running out of time or the motivation to get the tough stuff done.
Set Limits On Distractions
In this day and age, with most of us working from home – often with partners working from home, pets, kids, home-life in general – distractions are inevitable. So instead of trying to avoid distractions altogether, be intentional with distractions. As counterproductive as it sounds, giving yourself the freedom to swipe through your social media feeds with a set time limit takes away the distraction of thinking about it while you are working. When your time is up, put your phone out of reach. If you have to get up to get your phone, the chances are far higher that you will avoid further temptation.
Use The 80/20 Rule
It’s an oldie but a goodie, and for a good reason. Determine which 20% of your tasks will yield 80% results and focus on those first. Putting your focus on that 20% allows you to streamline your list, bringing you closer to your goal – more efficiently.
Another one that may sound counterproductive, but give it a listen. We all tend to think the longer we work, the more we will get done, but that is not only not true, but a surefire way to fast track your way to burnout. Not even the most productive person in the world can go eight hours straight without taking a break, and no one should! Taking breaks gives your mind a way to recharge and reset. Even if it is just getting up and walking around the ‘office’ for a few minutes, taking a moment to stretch, grabbing a cup of coffee, those few minutes are an opportunity to clear your mind and a fresh focus back to your work.
The key, however, is to limit the distractions during these breaks. The last thing you want to do is fall down the rabbit hole of perusing your social feeds, the goal is to breathe and relax, clear your mind, and if we are honest, social media these days does the exact opposite.
Learn From Your Failures And Move On
Even with the best intentions, there is no foolproof way to account for the unexpected in a day. So it is important to accept what may go wrong, what may not get done, and look for ways to learn, improve, and move on. The more time you spend rehashing the details, the less time you are productive with the rest of your day.
The most important thing to remember is that no one just wakes up a master of productivity. It takes work, it takes habits, and it takes the right mindset. And remember that these are guides. What works for some may not work for others, so find the habits that you will be able to stick to – and stick to them! The payoff is worth it.
For more ways to better manage and prioritize your time, download a free copy of our Time Management eBook. https://bit.ly/38P5skc
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” –Dale Carnegie