These days, people are busier than ever before. From work, to study and socializing, everyday life becomes a balancing act. But with only 24 hours in the day, how do you get everything done?
With a little self-management, it’s entirely possible to up your productivity levels and master your to-do list. Check out the following productivity hacks, and see how much time you’re able to reclaim for doing the stuff you really love.
- Assess your workspace
It’s simple: you’re not going to feel inspired to work if your designated office space looks like Gollum’s Cave. If your workspace is light, bright, and cheerful, on the other hand, you’ll be happy to settle down to your day’s tasks.
There are a few key ingredients to a productivity-inducing workspace. The first is lighting. If you’ve got a choice, pick a room in the home or a corner of the office with lots of windows. Second to lighting is good ventilation. You don’t want to feel stifled in the summer, and nor do you want to freeze in the winter.
Now you’ve got the space bright and comfortable, you can evaluate the aesthetics and décor. Do you need a fresh coat of paint to lift the mood of the room? Is your office fitted out with furniture that’s both sleek and functional?
- Refine your to-do lists
Many people make to-do lists. The most productive people, though, have a proper to-do list methodology. Rather than scratching down jobs as they arise, productive people immediately sort them into classifications. “Urgent versus non-urgent”, “delegate versus delete” – the list goes on! It’ll depend on the scope of your work-life agenda as to which classifications you use to systematize your to-do lists. As a general rule of thumb, however, try not to overload your to-do lists with an insurmountable mountain of tasks. Try, too, to break larger tasks down into bite-size chunks.
- Take care with tech
The most commonly cited barrier to productivity is technology. We all know the dangers of the “Youtube black hole” and its equivalents: you log in to look at one thing, and suddenly you’ve squandered half the day.
Since that just isn’t going to fly when you’ve got deadlines to meet, you need to be strict with yourself about technological distractions. Turn your phone to airplane mode, and block your favorite time-wasting websites for the day. The world’s not going to stop revolving if you’re offline for a while!
- Trial a productivity app
Even though technology can hinder your workflow, digital apps – when used correctly – can actually increase your productivity. A whole tranche of apps are geared towards those who need a certain level of accountability to stay on track. For people with long reports to write, the Pomodoro app – a self-timer which encourages short bursts of concentration – is ideal. For task management purposes, you can’t go past Trello.
- Break often, break well
It’s time to rethink the way you break. Try to plan your breaks around activities essential to your health and well-being. We all need to eat, to move our bodies, and to talk to other humans. Taking a stroll to grab a coffee, making a healthy snack, or attending a yoga class with a friend are all fantastic ways to get through the afternoon shift with renewed enthusiasm. Once you’ve had your fill, get back to work.
- Curate a productivity soundtrack
Make your own soundtrack to work to – but curate it carefully. Classical music has been proven to sharpen focus and to enhance recall, so it makes the perfect accompaniment to desk-based work. Pop music with lyrics you want to sing along to? That’s not so good.
- Inspire yourself
If you’ve forgotten why you started a pursuit in the first place, then of course you’re not going to want to keep at it. Sometimes, it just takes a little reflection to refresh your productivity reserves. What do you want out of the pursuit you’re struggling with? Is there some kind of end-goal that won’t materialize if you don’t put the work in? Whether you write your thoughts down in a journal or have your objective plastered on your desk, you’ll find that the best source of motivation is the future version of you.
Thank you Cloe Matheson for this awesome guest post!
Cloe Matheson hails from the beautiful city of Dunedin, New Zealand. She usually spends the best part of the day in her home office, penning articles for various blogs and local businesses including Hercules Gazebo. To keep her creativity flowing, she makes up a delicious cup of Matcha latte every afternoon. Check out more of Cloe’s work here.