Thursday, 22 September 2016

How To Be More Productive

How To Be More Productive

So last week I went back to college after what felt like the shortest summer break in existence which I'm sure many other students will agree with. Moving into a new job role had me busy at work for the whole summer and now my working weeks are going to be down to 4 days my productivity levels have to soar. I also can't forget all the assignments I'll have to fit in too - last year I wrote the equivalent of around 7 dissertations. So here are my tips for staying productive and getting things done that have worked wonders for me.

How To Be More Productive

Write everything down

This is probably my biggest saviour when it comes to being productive. I can see exactly how much I've got on and when it's due. It helps me plan if it's actually possible to do everything I had planned and ticking items off the list is also incredibly satisfying.
Writing things down not only applies to things to do. Writing small things down such as the name of a contact will also really help as you won't stress yourself out and spend 15 minutes desperately trying to find/remember it. So when I say write everything down, I mean everything. I also find this is a great excuse to purchase some new stationary to help you feel inspired, I'm currently loving this Autumnal Paperchase Notebook and this Rifle Paper Co Weekly List.

Give yourself deadlines & Prioritise

It's all good having a to-do list but by allocating deadlines to tasks you can visualise it being completed and nothing gets forgotten. This goes hand in hand with prioritising and writing things down. Deadlines allow you to see an order of what has to be done and priorities help you complete them in an order that allows non-crucial tasks to be re-arranged to suit. Working this way, whether in work or for an assignment, ensures that nothing important gets left to the last minute and rushed. For assignments I like to mentally and physically set my deadlines a week earlier than they are actually due, sort of like the idea of setting your clocks 5 minutes fast to ensure you're on time. This extra week allows me to be late by a few days if I really have to be or to double/triple check my work to make sure i'm happy with it. Using a monthly printable calendar like this one is a massive help for looking ahead at deadlines.

How To Be More Productive

Get the balance right

Sometimes when you're focused on getting something done you hammer away at your keyboard feeling stressed and exhausted without achieving your best. A recent study in Toronto had evidence that the most productive people weren't the ones putting in the long hours and that instead for every 52 minutes worked they had 17 minute breaks. Take a few minutes to catch your breath and refocus your mind. Grab a coffee, go for a walk or have a sit down away from your workspace. When you come back you're mind will be much more relaxed, focused and productive for the task at hand.

Making sure your work-life balance is right is another key point to being productive. If you slave away for long hours you'll mentally and physically exhaust yourself. I try and allocate myself at least a day a week where I don't work, blog or study and just focus on myself, family and friends. Don't feel that just because you have a deadline looming you can't go for a quick lunch with friends, it might just be the mental relief you need to come back and boss it.

Tackle one task at a time

Trying to do too many things at once can lead to utter chaos. Take a break, re-balance and focus on the one task which is top priority. Slowly work down the list or priorities and it will be complete in no time.

Have a place for everything

Having a place for everything enables you to find things when you really need to and saves you time and mental energy. It stops the stress of 'where did I put that?' and the time associated with working out where it is.  I also find that a messy workplace creates stress so by de-cluttering I work better too.

How To Be More Productive

Start Early

I've noticed recently that the earlier I get into work the more productive I seem to be. In the mornings there are less calls, emails, meetings to attend and distractions which helps me focus on the tasks at hand. I try and apply the same principle to my assignments too. If I can get them started earlier when I have my peak energy then I can finish quicker and relax when everyone else does too. I hate the feeling when everyone else goes home, or goes out and i'm still working through.

Drink more water

Being dehydrated makes you sluggish resulting in getting less done. Drink more water and swim in the benefits as it's not just productivity levels that it helps. Water is like the holy grail substance for improving health and many people overlook the effects being dehydrated can have.

Here's to many productive days ahead.

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