Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean that you will experience better results at work or in life. However, working smarter will cause your productivity to skyrocket. We collected the six best productivity tips, strategies, shortcuts, tricks, and hacks that will enable you to achieve the best version of you that is possible.
TACKLE YOUR TOUGHEST TASKS FIRST
You march into the office in the morning you are (ideally) well-rested, fully fueled with a hearty breakfast, and maybe even did a pre-work workout. This is the best time to attack the biggest challenge of the day. You should tackle the toughest task while you’re bubbling over with energy, there are fewer distractions, and hopefully no disasters that need to be fixed.
It’s extremely easy to procrastinate and wait to do something you really don’t want to take on. But if you want to be more effective at your job then you should handle the toughest order of business first thing in the day. Once you complete your most difficult responsibility you’ll not only have a sense of achievement and satisfaction, but your remaining duties will seem like a piece of cake.
Mess creates stress. If your work space or your computer is unorganized you are adding anxiety to your already burdensome day. Time wasted on you searching for a document on your desk or an important file you can’t find on your computer is lost time that you can’t get back. Organizing your files will equate to greater productivity.
Clear your desk of clutter and organize your work area at the end of every day. Don’t be a hoarder and make sure to discard unnecessary items. Develop a filing system for physical and digital items. Try to create a personal filing system that appeals to you so that you are more inclined to maintain the organizational method. Create folders that Keep folders for “urgent” documents as well as one for priority files that you use daily or regularly. Name the folders with names that you’ll remember and not lose track of.
You were supposed to submit a proposal, respond to an important client’s email, and complete your TPS reports yesterday. Now you’re feverishly jumping from task to task in an effort to complete them all. Don’t do that. Multitasking is detrimental to your productivity.
While you might believe that you’re getting more done by multitasking, in actuality you’re losing focus on one task. Your concentration suffers when you’re going back and forth between projects. While you may feel like you’re being more efficient splitting time working on multiple responsibilities, you’re slashing your productivity.
With the internet temptingly beckoning you to look at everything BUT your work, staying focused on your job can feel downright impossible at times. Not to mention that you have a second mini distraction device on you at all times with your smartphone. You’ll be firing on all cylinders with work and then your phone will *ding* with a text message and completely derail your laser focus on work.
Perhaps, you may need to self-block websites on your work computer that may cause you to stray away from your work. Another productivity hack is to disable notifications on your smartphone. And if you find yourself regularly taking peeks at your phone to see if anyone liked your latest Instagram photo, maybe it’s best that you turn off your smartphone during work hours.
Do you get into ruts some days at the office? Those times when no amount of coffee will spark your brain? There’s a chance that you didn’t give your brain enough time off. Working more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more work done. If you’re staring blankly at your screen while the gears in your head grind to a halt then you’re not helping yourself or your employer.
Work fatigues your brain and breaks, even for 5-10 minutes, can rejuvenate your mind and bring you back to life. Not to mention the health benefits of taking a walk during your break and avoiding sitting the entire workday.
The Draugiem Group, a social networking company, found that workers who put in more hours did not have the most productivity. The company conducted an experiment that found the most productive workers took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work. You might not be able to step away for 17 minutes nearly every single hour, but every couple of hours it is healthy to walk away from your work area.
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING
You may think your brain is a steel trap that captures every brilliant idea that you devise, but you’re only human. We are bombarded daily with so much pertinent and unnecessary information. Like a computer, our short-term memory can get overwhelmed. This is why you need to record ideas, thoughts, and reminders.
Taking notes not only keeps a record of your thoughts, but it also reinforces what’s important to you. Plus, you won’t be distracted that you need to remember an extra piece of information. Writing things down allows you to prioritize goals and maximize your time thus making you more productive.
Every meeting, commitment, and deadline should be written down in a checklist, calendar or whatever is most appealing to you. Whether you write it down in a notepad or you store it electronically in a file on your computer or an app on your smartphone, document everything. Then when you do complete something on your to-do list you can check it off and you’ll have an immediate feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own.