In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, most of us feel that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. In fact, many of us have come to glorify busyness as a necessary stepping stone to success. But the truth is that busyness isn’t necessarily synonymous with productivity.
By following these few tips to boost your productivity and get the most out of your workday, you might be surprised to see how much free time you can find to enjoy your family, friends, and hobbies while simultaneously setting yourself up for success.
1. Don’t Wait for Perfect Conditions to Begin a Project
It can be daunting to begin a new project, whether it’s work-related or a personal goal. But putting it off “until Monday” or “next week” only prolongs the project and makes it more difficult to complete. Avoid getting stuck in the trap of waiting until the “right time” to dig into a challenging task.
In the same sense, tackling the easiest items on your to-do list first and leaving the most difficult for last can crush your productivity and make accomplishing your biggest goals seem an impossible feat. Instead, try beginning your day with one of the most challenging or largest projects on your plate. Accomplishing that goal first will set you up for success for the rest of the day, as the hardest task will already be checked off your list.
2. Set Small, Achievable Milestones
In the face of a large project or long-term goal, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and even discouraged. To help make the end goal seem more achievable, break it up into smaller milestones. As you complete each smaller piece, you’ll be one step closer to realizing the larger goal, and you’ll be encouraged by those small victories along the way to keep going.
3. Establish a Routine
Adding structure to your day can have a huge impact on your productivity, especially if you feel bombarded with a constant stream of emails, phone calls, and meetings. It can be helpful to set an hour or two aside each morning to dedicate to answering emails. Once your allotted time is up, sign out of your email, turn your phone on silent, and move on to the next task.
This is helpful for two main reasons. First, it forces you to get started on the most challenging task for the day, which can be easy to keep putting off if you’re busy answering email after email.
Secondly, this will help to keep you from constantly multitasking, which is a bad habit that many of us have fallen into. When you have two Word documents up, your email opened, and your cellphone notifying you of new messages every few minutes, your focus is taken away from the task at hand and you’re not giving any one of those items your all.
While multitasking can be helpful in some situations, it can also keep you from establishing a purposeful structure to your day, which, in turn, can hamper your productivity.
4. De-clutter Your Workspace
When it comes to boosting your productivity and finding some much-needed spare time, the devil is in the details. A cluttered desk makes for a scattered mind, so investing some time into cleaning your workspace can have a big pay off in the long run. In fact, researchers from Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter significantly decreases your ability to focus by competing for your attention and bombarding your brain with visual stimuli.
Thus, by de-cluttering your workspace, you can maximize your focus and productivity and minimize distractions and frustration.
5. Get Organized
Just like de-cluttering your workspace can help you focus, organizing your thoughts and ideas is a great way to improve your productivity and stop feeling so busy. Using a tool like Mind Map AR, a revolutionary augmented reality mind-mapping app for smartphones, can help you get organized like never before.
This app allows you to diagram and share your mind maps in a 3D space, giving you the freedom and creativity to escape the confines of traditional 2D note-taking devices and software. Mind Map AR unleashes your creativity and creates a more engaging and hands-on experience when brainstorming or organizing your ideas, resulting in less wasted time and more productivity.
As obvious as it might sound, removing distractions like scrolling through social media and texting can have a significant impact on your productivity. Many of us don’t realize how much time is wasted when we’re constantly “plugged in.” Five minutes here and there on your phone can quickly add up throughout the course of the day, not to mention the fact that being glued to our phones, tablets, and other devices can be detrimental to our health.
If you’re feeling particularly stressed, don’t use your phone as a distraction from work. Instead, take a walk around the block to clear your head and give yourself a break from the confines of your office. This is a more productive way to deal with workplace stress, because when you come back to your desk after getting some fresh air, you’ll feel recharged and ready to accomplish your goals.