We get it. The 40-hour work-week can often become draining and eventually limits our levels of productivity. However, we can’t change the work schedule, but we can adopt better practices of being more productive during the work-week. Get yourself and your team into the habit of finding better and more effective ways to stay on top of tasks. But first, you must find your own.
Take Advantage of Productive Hours
It’s said that we are most productive in the first two hours of the day. This is when our minds are their clearest and most ready to focus. During these first two hours, we should be working on our more important or cognitive tasks. Our energy levels increase and decrease multiple times throughout the day. When energy levels are low, go ahead and take a little break. This allows your mind to relax and reset for work that needs to be done. Once energy levels are back up, you must take advantage of the productivity during that time period.
And yes, this means staying off of Facebook. It’s imperative that we allow our minds to focus on one task at a time. While taking a phone call or checking email may not seem like actual tasks, our brains associate them otherwise. According to this story in 360 Magazine, every three minutes we are presented with distractions. We have to learn to avoid them by finding the best practices that help us stay focused. For example, try listening to music to block out sound or put the phone away and switch it to “silent”. Even closing out email for a half an hour will help productivity. You have to find what is best for you, personally, so do some experimenting!
Make a List
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it works. Writing down lists helps us to visualize our schedules rather than keeping them jumbled in our heads. At the beginning of the day, write down your tasks in order of importance. Number them as well. Numbering helps our minds to understand what needs to be done first and what has the most priority. Make sure to stay true to the list, and don’t complete tasks out of order. This disorganization will force your mind to re-prioritize and more likely than not, the list becomes meaningless.
Take the First Step
This is often one of the strongest inhibitors of production. We tend to dread taking the first step in a task. For example, many writers have a harder time writing the first paragraph of their piece than they do the entire body. Force yourself to take the first step in your task. Once that part is completed, the rest will flow naturally. Your brain will go into its working mode and before you know it, you’ve crossed another thing off of your to-do list!