Kill it: Productivity Tips & Tricks to Tackle Your To-Dos Like a Pro
June 16, 2020
Do you wake up in the morning with plans to accomplish your entire to-do list and sort out your entire life before noon but by the time you’ve checked your emails and social media feeds, you’re too overwhelmed to do anything productive and trudge off to another distracting day of chasing the clock? You’re not alone! Now that most of us have taken a much needed but seriously dramatic break from the hamster wheel of our working lives, you might have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate your productivity game plan. A Microsoft study revealed that out of an average 45-hour week, workers were unproductive 17 of those hours. Here are a few tricks and some common sense tips to help you maximize productivity.
Train your morning mind
One of the reasons you wake up in the morning with superhero ideas revolves around the fact that you’re recharged from sleep. Aren’t you? Studies show that each decision you make throughout each day tires your psyche and deteriorates your self-control, so do the important things early. The fewer decisions you need to make in your morning routine can help conserve some of your ability to focus during the day.
Some tips to automate your morning include:
- Take a few minutes the night before to make a plan for the next day. Write it down.
- Prioritize your day, so you won’t waste energy and time deciding what to do first.
- Decide what you’re wearing the next day and lay it out.
- Gather everything you need for tomorrow’s meeting in one place.
- Set up the coffee machine the night before.
- Eat the same breakfast.
Do the thing you don’t want to do most, first
Studies show that doing the thing you dread the most, first, will clear the way for the rest of your day. Once you get that most dreaded thing out of the way, you’re free to focus on the things that will propel you towards productivity. When you wait to do “that” thing, you compromise ideas and productivity because that thing won’t leave you alone.
Writing your goals down gets them out of your head
In Lauren McClellan’s Lifehack.com article, she notes the importance of writing things down so you won’t have to tax your brain trying to remember them during your day. Writing things down also gets that idea out of your head and onto paper. You might think of it as a contract with yourself. While you might start with just a pen and paper, software, such as OmniFocus, can keep you organized and on your production schedule. Many find that keeping track on their phone works best – consider the app Google Keep.
Distractions at work
As more business is conducted online than ever before, distractions in the workplace are right at your fingertips. Interruptions and distractions greatly diminish productivity levels. Even though email communications may be an integral part of your job, constantly changing focus to read and answer them tends to disengage you from the tasks at hand. Checking your social media pages and text messages, plus answering phone calls, you can begin to see how these things can add up to almost two whole days of your workweek, according to Microsoft’s study. Want to get a handle on these interruptions? Here’s a few ways to keep your distractions out of your productive zone.
Allot certain times for tasks
- Set aside time to check your text messages and social media pages.
- Give yourself some time to answer emails after you have tackled an important task.
- Charge your phone away from where you sit.
- Turn off notifications or set your phone to “Do not disturb.”
- Use Inbox Pause to help prevent distractions; this app temporarily keeps incoming emails from reaching your inbox.
- Download the Cold Turkey app, touted as the toughest website blocker to keep websites, games, and other attention-grabbing websites from popping up.
Circadian rhythms make a difference
These physical, mental and behavior changes follow a daily cycle when added to the self-inflicted distractions undermine your productivity. Research shows that your body releases hormones that fuel your productivity based on your circadian rhythms – your natural daily waking and sleeping cycles. This research shows that your brain is most alert 2.5 – 4 hours after waking up. That said, scheduling early meetings might work better for you and your team. Brainstorm in the morning to rev up your day. Also, you might think about scheduling your important meetings at a regular time each day or week to tighten up communication lines within teams. Studies also show that your brain works at an optimal level for about 90 minutes at one stretch.
Scheduling short breaks every 90 minutes can help refuel your focus and productivity.
Breaks can take the form of many activities. Since we know that sitting for long periods isn’t good for us, get up and do something.
- Take a walk outside
- Do a 15-minute intensive exercise routine
- Grab a snack or some lunch
- Grab a coffee and go outside
- Run up the backstairs, like someone’s chasing you
- Listen to music and dance or sing or both
Extra Tips and Tricks
While all of these tips and tricks look perfect on paper, you know how some days, even with plans in place, your day can just go south fast. Here are a few tricks to get back on track, starting with a fun activity from Science of People researchers. Turns out that chewing gum can speed up your reaction time by 10% boosting your cognitive abilities, combating sleepiness, and making you more charismatic!
Other ways to increase productivity and work happier include:
- Learning to speed read
- Learning keyboard shortcuts
- Positive self-talk – If anyone asks who you’re talking to, politely tell them it’s a private conversation.
To remain productive throughout your day, CoSuite offers complimentary coffee and tea. We are also in walking distance of local cafés, and a fresh juicery. CoSuite features relaxing meditation rooms where you can take a seat and lay back to reflect on your busy workday. If you need extra workspace for your materials, you can always book a conference room to yourself or a private daily office. We are always looking for new ways to encourage and support our productive members.
At CoSuite, our mission is to help improve your productivity and grow your business. Unlike other flexible, shared spaces, we specialize in providing private office suites where you can do your best work. Contact CoSuite to learn more about how you can be more productive and happier at work in our locations in Boca Raton and Brickell.