Not enough hours in the day?
Unfortunately we can’t add extra hours to the working day, what we can do however is find ways to make the hours we do have more productive.
Well, procrastination is one of the worst culprits for time wasted, but sometimes no matter how hard you feel you’re working, you’re just not getting anywhere. The key is to look at what exactly it is you’re doing, and what you could do differently.
- Prioritise. Without a doubt, organising your tasks in order of importance and performing them in this order will get you where you need to be. On top of this, you will feel a greater sense of actually making headway, without deadlines breathing down your neck.
- The early bird. We are generally more alert earlier in the day. You might wonder how when you’re half asleep, but it’s nothing that a coffee won’t fix. As the day wears on, and you’ve done less, you become more frustrated and stressed about it, and you’re left cramming everything into the afternoon, when you may be feeling tired, suffering from the mid-afternoon dip, and as a result, end up staying at work late. Get up earlier, beat the traffic, get to work ahead of time, and get stuck into your tasks, so you’ll feel more productive and positive come lunch time.
- Tidy up. A tidy work space is a tidy mind! You can’t work productively in mess; you might think you know where everything is, but believe me, you don’t. Having everything in an orderly fashion creates a more laid-back you, which means you get more done.
- Don’t put things off. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do but you don’t really want to tackle it, putting it off isn’t going to make it magically disappear, and what it will do is create a wedge in your mind which will distract you from everything else. Tackle it head on, get it done, feel the stress melt away, and you’re free to crack on with everything else.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there is no failing in it. If you have staff, delegate some of the lesser tasks, so you can concentrate on the bigger picture.
- Do you really need to do it? Ask yourself this question if there is a task that takes up your time and is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Anything that doesn’t play a part, cut it out.
- The world will not end if you don’t check your emails for an hour. Constantly checking social media or your inbox, or even your phone, every few minutes will mean time lost on the work front, and has also been shown to increase stress. Put your phone away, if it’s an emergency someone will get hold of you; and check your emails every few hours instead, set your alarm if you must. Avoiding distraction is the way forward.
- Write lists. This might sound horribly organised, but it really does work. If you’ve got a cluttered mind of things you mustn’t forget, you’ll only stress about the fact that you’re likely to forget them. Instead, write them down and tick them off as you go, it works wonders.
- Look at your diet. You might not even have considered that what you’re putting in your mouth could affect your productivity levels, but it can. You need to be eating foods that are slow release in terms of energy – bananas are a good option. Make sure you have a high fibre breakfast, avoid sugary snacks and drinks, and whilst a coffee in the morning won’t harm you, try not to IV drip it throughout the day, as it may just end up counteracting what you’re trying to do.
- Set yourself realistic goals. Obviously things can and do happen that railroad our best laid plans, but setting small, achievable goals will mean you power forward and feel better about it. For instance, by lunchtime you will have finished that report. That’s do-able, something completed, and ticked off your to-do list.