We all have those moments, days or even weeks where we just don’t feel like we are meeting our targets. It’s normal, as humans our activity levels will wax and wane throughout our lives. Sometimes we don’t have the time for this fluctuation and we are forced to be productive, either by external motivators or internal ones. In this entry we have some advice on how to get over this hump and maximise the time we can give to our work.
Tip 1 – Lists
Make a to-do list! This is one of the simplest ways to attract more focus to what you need to do. Often we know what to do in our head, but putting it down on paper allows us to separate these things from the other wild and wonderful things going on upstairs. Besides that, the dopamine rush that comes with crossing things off your list is unmatched.
To-do lists are great but even something as simple as a shopping list for your weekly shop or a list of topics you want to cover while doing revision can help you achieve a lot more. So for your next project, how about starting by making a list of things you need to get/do and meeting those goals one by one.
Tip 2 – Clear your workspace
Your workstation is a reflection of your mind. Keeping it clear makes it easy for you to find what you need and produce those vital ideas you need to keep the workflow going. A messy workplace on the other hand is filled with distractions and therefore more stress! If you really want to make solid progress without veering of the path to productivity, tidy away all the things that may push you away from your goal.
A lot of home workplaces are riddles with useless paperwork, empty envelopes or wrappers and sometimes (frequently) bowls or plates reminiscent of your lunchtime meal. More clutter = more stress!
Tip 3 – Prioritise
Tip 1 was about lists and we’re building on that here. List’s are great but one of the major limitations is that there can be too many items for you to complete within the time that you have. Former U.S President, Dwight D Eisenhower stated in one of his most famous speeches; “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” From this idea, came the Eisenhower matrix.
It’s important to separate your to-do list using these two concepts as a guide. This helps you focus on what needs to be done now, what you need to schedule into your plans, what can be delegating and what is frankly, unnecessary to add to your workload. This is one way of prioritising, and we all have our ways, what’s important is that we actually prioritise so we don’t wast our precious time!
Tip 4 – Take more breaks
We can only focus for so long before we start to seriously despise the task at hand. Some people can focus longer than others yet we all universally like to force ourselves to sit still, stare at the page or the screen and produce what is required of us. We may let our standards slip a little or go into autopilot, hoping that the finished result will be acceptable. Working through the fatigue often leads to more mistakes and less focus.
Taking a minute just to recharge and think about something else might be the spark that we need to reignite that internal flame of passion for our work. Often it helps us regain focus that may have began to slip away.
Tip 5 – Don’t multitask
It’s a dangerous game cooking your dinner while trying to watch that last episode of your favourite TV show. Chances are, you’re going to miss that important plot twist, or you’re going to burn your dinner. It really only makes sense to do one before the other. That’s the attitude you need when trying to juggle three projects at one. Take it one by one, to create something of the best quality, it’s difficult to try and start or continue other work alongside it. Multitasking can lead to more mistakes, wasting your own time so just don’t do it!
Image one – Andreas Klassen (@schmaendels – instagram)
Image two – Andrew Neel (@andrewtneel – instagram)