It is sometimes difficult to be productive. The accumulation of tasks, distractions, the tendency to procrastinate or lack of motivation are all factors that ruin your effectiveness.
To get the job done, start by organizing yourself and create an environment conducive to concentration. Also, adopt healthy lifestyle habits that will help you maintain your motivation and improve your productivity.
List your tasks
You can use a piece of paper, an electronic document, or your phone. Write down all the tasks you need to complete in the day, week or month.
By visualizing them, you will be able to organize more easily. To be an effective management tool, your list should be concise, complete and up-to-date as you progress
Set a schedule
Begin by classifying tasks according to parameters such as urgency, importance, complexity, time or resources required. Then organize them according to a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
Depending on the situation, also consider including rest periods such as breaks or meal times.
- Your schedule should be a management tool. If a task proves to be longer or more complex than expected, take the time necessary to complete it and adapt your organization accordingly. If you have to postpone it because of an external event, do not hesitate to do it and replace it with a task. It is important to be flexible in order to optimize your time.
Prioritize your tasks
Organize yourself to accomplish important and urgent tasks first. Optimize your time by planning to do one task at a time.
Set precise and reasonable goals
Whether it’s working, studying, or doing everyday tasks, goals can be motivational and effective.
For example, if you have to prepare exams in a week, your goal may be to revise two subjects a day.
- You can maintain your motivation through a system of reward and punishment. For example, plan a meal with friends or a vacation if your goal is reached. Conversely, if this is not the case, you may decide to abandon a project. For example, if you have not finished your revisions on time, stay home to work instead of going out with your friends. For the system to be effective, the reward and sanction must be set in advance and be proportionate to the goal. You can also let a friend or family member choose them.
Evaluate your effectiveness
At the end of the day, the week or the month, take the time to study the factors that have favored or limited your productivity.
Setting up your organization, your ability to concentrate or the brakes at work are all parameters that you can evaluate. Take the opportunity to look for solutions to improve your efficiency and time management.
Prepare your work tools
To be effective, gather the necessary equipment for your task. For example, if you have to study a file, gather all the essential documents, launch your software and keep your phone and pen handy.
If you have a succession of meetings during the day, write down on a sheet or electronic calendar all schedules and locations so you do not waste time looking for them among all your messages
Concentrate on one task at a time
Contrary to popular belief, combining several activities at the same time tends to reduce productivity. One of the essential reasons is a simple biological constraint.
Indeed, the brain can only be solicited on one element at a time. Each new action, therefore, requires a time of analysis and adaptation, even if you alternate between similar activities.
To improve your productivity and maximize your effectiveness on each task, give it all your attention and finish it before moving on to the next one.
That said, you can combine the activities, provided that they do not require the same level of attention or that they solicit different parts of the brain.
Store your workspace
The disorder can be a factor of deconcentration. Indeed, your eye can be attracted by any object and distract you a few seconds. This can be enough to cause hours of reverie and affect your efficiency.
Before you start working, take a few minutes to tidy up and order your space to your liking.
Limit the sources of distraction
Television, telephone, family, friends, pets…are all factors of deconcentration. If you tend to get distracted easily, take the necessary steps, even if you isolate yourself completely.
- Block notifications from your personal email, social networks, news feeds, and other subscribed sites. If you need to consult your messages for business or personal reasons, take this one activity and spend no more time than necessary.
- If necessary, you can install applications on your phone, designed to block access to social networks and the most time-consuming websites. They allow you to limit access to sites for a specified period. You are no longer tempted to consult them, which optimizes your working time. If these measures are insufficient, you can isolate yourself completely. Put your devices in another room or give them to a friend.
- Depending on the circumstances, tell your family and friends that you need to work so you do not get bothered. If you have pets, do not keep them in the same room as you.
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits
Get enough sleep
An adult should sleep an average of seven to nine hours a night. In addition to the rest time, the quality of sleep is also a parameter conditioning productivity.
In fact, not getting enough sleep generates a vicious cycle of general fatigue, leads to a decrease in attention and concentration and degrades mood.
Do not procrastinate
By pushing back any tasks of only a few minutes, you can negatively impact all the activities of your day. If you have goals to achieve, stick to your own requirements.
For example, if you have to wake up at 7 am, set your alarm and get up as soon as it rings.
Healthy, balanced and consistent meals promote concentration. Conversely, other unhealthy eating habits tend to decrease productivity, cause stress and degrade mood
Look at: How to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Whether in the office, at home, in a café or in a library, it is essential to take breaks. Forcing yourself to work beyond your abilities can decrease your effectiveness and negatively impact your morale.
For example, if you have to study a complex file, take a break of fifteen minutes every two hours to stretch, walk, drink coffee or have a healthy snack. Or if you plan to do several household chores in succession, take a few minutes break between each activity.