I’m sure you know or work with someone that turns up every day, regardless of the time or weather and has a limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm. What we’d all do to be like them! In the age of technology and busy surroundings, it is easy to get distracted or lose focus on the task at hand. It’s become easier to tell people you’ll “do it later” and never end up getting round to it.
We’ve also started to get into a bad habit of biting off more than we can chew. Unfortunately, this has an effect not only on our ability to work productively but on our mental health too. While there are obviously going to be days that are easier than others, there are habits you can form to help work more efficiently and sustain your pace through each task.
1. Plan and organise
Tackling a project head-on can be daunting, and often times you won’t even know where to begin with it. If you take your time to break it down into small chunks and plan your time accordingly, it will present itself as much more manageable. Once you’ve segmented as much as possible, it’s time to prioritise which parts should be approached first and organise yourself to manage each part in order.
It doesn’t matter how you organise yourself, as long as you understand what needs to be done when, and you can keep up the pace. The more effort you put into carefully planning your work, the easier it will become to complete it and work more efficiently. Productive people also use this strategy to keep track of where they are and allow for any extra time that may be needed to go back and improve upon things.
If you’re tight on time with a client deadline – it’s not a waste to stop and plan beforehand. You’ll feel much more prepared and enthusiastic about taking it on. It’ll also help hold yourself accountable at each stage of the project. The easier it is to see the breakdown, the better you can spread your time and feedback to your managers on what’s left to complete. Being in control will alleviate stress and get you working methodically.
2. Eliminate distractions
If you work in an open-plan office environment, I know this can be tricky. But with less distraction, you have more room to focus and concentrate on the challenge ahead. We’re over-stimulated with noise and technology every day, so the less of this we have while we work, the calmer our space will be. Productive people get stuck into a job and can see it right through to the end. In a world of distractions, it is hard to put 100% effort into anything.
We’re all guilty of being glued to our mobile phones. You can download productivity apps to help you if you find the constant pinging and buzzing too off-putting. It could also be worth investing in a phone dedicated to work. This way you’re only being distracted by things that are related to what you’re doing. You won’t get tempted to watch that video someone sent you or just reply to your missed call. You’ll pick it all up when you’ve finished work and no longer need to concentrate.
3. Don’t multitask
Multitasking is a skill we all strive for because it makes life a little bit easier and we can sometimes get things done quicker. This may be the case in some situations, but while we are working, it’s important we can focus on one thing at a time. The more we have to think about, the less concentration and effort we’re putting into each task. Everyone strives for their best work, so by working on one task instead of all of them, we’re dedicated to making it the best we can achieve.
Also, when we have too much to think about it can decrease our accuracy and we will start to see more slip-ups and mistakes being made. So put the most important or time-sensitive jobs at the top of your list in order to produce top quality results. You’ll notice the difference just by putting everything else to the side until it’s finished. It will give you a small win to celebrate, and help get yo uin a positive mindset to move on.
4. Take regular breaks
Productive people do not all work 12 hour days without lunch. In fact, it’s been shown that taking regular movement breaks can increase our creativity and leaves you feeling more refreshed. Even if it’s 5 minutes outside in the sunshine or a quick chat with a colleague, it could be the difference between 70% effort and 100%. Your body needs a break after exercise and so does your brain. You can’t expect it to work at full capacity all day every day!
During your break, you might even stumble across some inspiration you needed to complete your task. It gives you a chance to dial down the brain’s activity and look at the bigger picture. You’re so focused on the task at hand that it might be beneficial to step away from it every now and then to reflect. Don’t overload yourself or you might burn out before you even get to the end.
5. Failure is part of the success
For you to work more efficiently, you mustn’t be afraid to fail. We all look at failure differently, but no one likes it when things don’t go to plan. If you can get into the mindset of learning from your mistakes, it’ll be easier to remain positive throughout your workday and you’ll always be able to better yourself. See them as opportunities to grow and develop your skillset. This way it’ll be rewarding instead of disappointing.
If you come across a bump in the road, use it as a minder for habit number 4! Take a step back from work and reflect on how it’s going so far. Reflection will give you a good overview of the project as a whole, and you might pick up on things you’d missed as you were going along. You can reset yourself and get back into the flow more quickly this way without it feeling like you’re not getting anywhere. Everybody makes mistakes, it’s a part of life and doesn’t mean you aren’t capable.
6. Look after yourself
Probably the most important of all of these to make a habit of. We get so worried about deadlines and the stress that work-life can bring, we forget to look after our own health and wellbeing. If we work for extended periods without breaks, or lose the line between personal lives and work lives, it can start snowballing and it’s difficult to break out of. This is when we notice our health deteriorating and we get more tired and less able to concentrate.
Sticking to a healthy sleep schedule will make sure your brain and body are getting the rest it needs to tackle the fast-paced work environment each day without burning out. As well as this, it’s important to make time to exercise and keep ourselves moving. Especially with office jobs, it can be beneficial to add some movement into our daily breaks. Even just going for a quick walk can leave you feeling so much better afterwards.
Ensuring we live a balanced lifestyle will aid in your memory and creativity so that you really can work productively and with the most amount of effort each day. Work is important, but nothing’s more important than our health and wellbeing.
Start to work more efficiently
Overall, the habits of a productive worker are things we can all implement in our lives. It takes consistency and willpower to keep at them but it will impact our personal and work lives in such a positive way – it must be worth it to try. The little things you do each day affect how you approach different tasks. So to work effectively it will first help to figure out the areas you need to improve on and take a look at the habits you could benefit from.
If you’re looking for further ways to improve upon your business strategy or the way you’re working – why not try working with a business coach! With over 30 years in the industry, I’ve successfully worked with a range of businesses to develop business strategies and marketing tactics that provide the right results. And, I can help you too. Together, we can transform your organisation and unlock its true potential. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form here and I’ll get back to your shortly to discuss your individual requirements.