6 Tips for a More Productive Day
We’ve all been there– you get to the end of a workday and feel like you just haven’t gotten as much accomplished as you’d hoped. Whether you were distracted or your to-do list was simply too long, here are six tips for a more productive day:
1. Start your day with a checklist
The best way to start your workday is to make a list of what you need to accomplish and organize it in order of priority. Not only does writing it down help you organize your day, but it also helps you stay accountable for the work that you have to do. When the inevitable distraction pops up, instead of abandoning the tasks at hand, add the new item to your list and prioritize it accordingly. Check in with your list at different points in your day to monitor progress.
2. Set a timer and work in sprints
If concentrating for long periods seems impossible, concentrating for 20 minutes at a time may not seem as bad. Set a timer for 20 minutes and commit to focused work until the timer finishes. Then reward yourself with five minutes of rest. You can use your rest time however you’d like. Stretch, get a drink of water, or scroll through social media (but only for five minutes!). Whatever you do during that time, do it guilt-free, knowing that you’ve earned it. Once the five minutes are up, rinse and repeat. Before you know it, you’ll have spent the day in productive 20-minute sessions. For added accountability, join the IAW Virtual Co-working Session where we work in a group to tackle our to-do lists.
3. Apply productive procrastination
Whether you want to admit it or not, procrastination is a reality we all contend with. So instead of just giving in to procrastination, practice productive procrastination instead. Let’s say you’re dreading a report you have to put together for your supervisor. Instead of falling down a social media rabbit hole, check off a few easier tasks on your to-do list, ones you aren’t dreading. The key is to stay productive, even when you’re procrastinating on a specific task. This helps in several ways. It eliminates the guilt about procrastinating with things that offer you no value and it means you can still point to some accomplishments at the end of the day, even if you didn’t finish the report.
It may seem counterintuitive but here’s the reality: There will always be a limit to your productivity when you don’t rest. Rest is a productive activity. When you are well-rested you are more creative, better at problem-solving, and more efficient. Resting when you’re tired is the best way to have a more productive day.
If you’re overburdened with tasks or so stuck in the weeds that you can’t focus on the big picture at work, then it may be time to delegate more. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking it would take longer to explain a task than to complete it yourself, but that thinking will leave you with an impossible to-do list. Effective leaders delegate and what you’ll be able to accomplish will amplify the more you delegate.
In a world full of distractions, it can be hard to be productive. Building systems and strategies into your day can go a long way to improving your productivity. The more you apply these productivity strategies, the easier they’ll be to implement. Before you know it, having a productive day will be second nature.