If you’re anything like me, procrastination can be your best friend at the worst of times. Making sure that you are spending your time wisely and maintaining focus on particular tasks can feel like climbing your own version of Mt. Everest. There are only so many hours in a day, and constant productivity can be draining without knowing the methods to finding the perfect balance between work time and break time. Here are a few useful tips on how to increase productivity throughout the day, just as long as you aren’t using this to procrastinate getting that spreadsheet done that you have been putting off.
1. Take Breaks
If you can think back to your Elementary days, there was this thing called a “brain break” to give the students a break from learning and allow them to return ready to learn again. This method can be applied to your daily life now as well. Taking short breaks in intervals are a great way to ensure that your brain doesn’t go into overload and reach full capacity within one sitting. Allowing yourself time to relax and regroup will give your brain the break that it needs, and allow you to return ready to focus again.
3. Say No to Multitasking
When multitasking, your brain is focusing on multiple things at once, which means that not one thing has your full attention. This can make it harder to fully focus and lead to frustration, unhealthy stress, and a loss of motivation. Your brain is on overload mode, which will amount to less-efficient work, along with the need to take more frequent breaks. It will also cause the task to stretch out even longer, which has the opposite effect of our goal; productivity. It’s best to focus on one thing at a time to ensure that what needs to get done gets done quickly and efficiently.
2. Set Deadlines
Setting personal deadlines can help to increase productivity by giving yourself a healthy stress. It can provide you with the ability to focus and hone in on completing the task before said deadline, and will increase the likeliness of completing your goals. If you work best last minute, this one is definitely for you.
4. Throw the Phone
Although we are all looking forward to the announcement of the next iPhone, that doesn’t mean we should check for it every few seconds. Phones can be a huge distraction when trying to complete a task, so the best thing to do is to make sure that it is on silent and separate from you and your work space. Grant yourself some time on your phone during your brain breaks to ensure that your mind stays clear and focused when getting back to work.
Exercising in between tasks can be a great way to keep your mind clear and blood pumping as you are working. Research shows that exercise has been proven to help increase focus, productivity, and an overall positive state of well-being throughout the day. Taking a brief walk, stretching, and doing some desk exercises are good ways to keep your mind ready to get back to work after a short break.
Although not everyone is incentive driven, it can definitely be useful for those who struggle to complete tasks without rewards. Rewarding yourself for completing a task is a great way to stay motivated and focused on your goal. Keeping track of small accomplishments can be rewarding when struggling with progress and can help to motivate you to keep working. That feeling after completing a task will be accompanied by a reward to keep your motivation going and your mind happy.
7. Change of Scenery
Changing your work environment can produce positive changes in productivity and give you something pleasing to look at while you work. Adding plants, family pictures, or aesthetically pleasing elements to your work space can emit that positive energy that you need to keep working. Changing your work location can also promote productivity and give you a clearer mind to focus on the task at hand.
Although maintaining a productive mindset throughout the day can be difficult, as long as you are doing your best, you’re succeeding. Make sure that you are including time to take care of yourself, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep, for those have a greater impact on your day-to-day productivity than you might think. Unfortunately, motivation doesn’t grow on trees, but working hard, maintaining focus, and staying diligent might just get you one step closer to finishing that spreadsheet that you’ve been putting off.