There are more distractions than ever in today’s business environment. Effective planning, prioritizing and organization are essential for boosting your work productivity. Here are five simple tips to help you get started.
1. Make a List
At the end of each day, make a list of tasks and projects for the following day, including deadlines for completion of each task and project. The following morning, you will already have a plan in place so you can start your day prepared. On your list, put your most difficult tasks – or the ones you least want to do – at the top, so you get them out of the way early.
It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions. Give yourself a time limit for each task, then focus only on that task until it is completed. If this means you need to shut your door or move to a different location with fewer distractions: do it. Whenever you get distracted from a project, it takes extra time to refocus when you come back to it, making the entire project take longer to complete.
3. Control Communications
It’s hard to resist the urge to respond immediately to emails, voicemails, instant messages and the like. Set aside certain times to check emails – perhaps first thing in the morning, between tasks and projects, lunchtime or at the end of the day – and prioritize your responses. Use good judgment when deciding how to manage your communications based on your schedule and job function.
4. Stick To Your Schedule
Everyone has times throughout the day when they are more productive. Schedule your day around yours. Stick to the time limits of scheduled meetings and conference calls. When a meeting runs longer than expected, your entire schedule shifts and you will have to make adjustments. If you are unable to take care of your most difficult and least enjoyable tasks first thing in the morning, be sure to schedule them for your most productive time so you can complete them.
5. Take Breaks
Breaks are very beneficial! Give yourself some mental recovery time by getting up and moving around, stretching, stepping outside into the fresh air, stopping by the break room (or Avenue C) for a snack, coffee or filtered water. Quick breaks help rejuvenate you mentally and can help spark creativity to elevate your productivity when you return to your desk.