In a fast-paced society in which we’re always distracted by email notifications, pop-up ads, and funny cat pictures, it can be difficult to stay focused and be productive. Oftentimes we’re our own enemy. We constantly check our phones, scroll through our Facebook feed and take unnecessary breaks that disrupt our workflow and undermine our productivity. But even being in the other extreme, where you’re overworked and have endless to-do lists on your desks, doesn’t necessarily imply you are being productive. We should be working smarter not working more hours per day. If you want to learn how to save time and become more productive, these hand-picked tips are for you.
1. Keep Your Desk and Surroundings Clean and Organized
A cluttered desk doesn’t really inspire productivity, does it? You don’t want to be distracted by books, dirty dishes, unpaid bills or misplaced USB cables. A clean workspace has been proven to help us work better and stay focused for longer periods of time. Ideally, there shouldn’t be anything on your desk that you don’t need. This includes your phone, which should be on Airplane Mode while you’re hard at work. Surround yourself with a clean, neat space and you will feel at ease and more productive.
2. Leave the Cleaning to Someone Else
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and you can’t ace both a heavy workload and cleaning your house, don’t feel hopeless. There’s nothing wrong in asking for help. In fact, investing in professional cleaning services will prove beneficial in the long run. If you work from home, you will have a tidy and organized space to create, have business calls, and work intensely. If you work in an office, you will feel relaxed and happy to come home to a spic and span environment where you can unwind and get ready for the next day of hard work.
3. Take a Break from Using Your Phone
We all know how addictive checking Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be. We want to stay on top of the latest posts, see the latest news and check if we have new likes or comments. But this really takes a toll on our productivity. It takes us at least 15 minutes until we can become fully focused on the task at hand. Picking up your phone every 5 minutes doesn’t allow you to ever get into the swing of things since you’re constantly distracted by notifications. Don’t worry, I won’t suggest taking your phone to the other room or burying it under a pile of cushions. The best way to deal with this is to switch your phone to airplane mode and lay it face down on your desk. As you start working and become engrossed in your tasks, you will forget all about retweets and trending YouTube videos.
4. Work Up a Sweat in the Morning
If you’re not already incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you should. Exercising has countless of proven benefits both for your physical and mental health. Why not tone up your body and also clear up your thoughts early in the morning? It’s a common misconception that exercising depletes your energy. On the contrary! Whether you choose to do yoga, cardio or strength exercises, you will feel more energized and your productivity levels will soar. Exercising also helps regulate stress levels and can put you in a better mood. As a result, your productivity and efficiency increase and you can perform your daily tasks better and faster. Who wouldn’t want that?
5. Prepare a To-Do List Before Going to Sleep
On occasion, we’re all guilty of oversleeping or lying in bed for a couple more hours than we should, swiping left and right, up and down on our phones. This is where a to-do list prepared on the night before comes in handy. Setting specific tasks and even adding specific hours for performing each task will help you get out of bed faster. Writing down a list usually takes 5 – 10 minutes, so there’s really no excuse for not doing it. Not only is this a healthy habit to be more productive, it also helps your mind adjust to the tasks it has to perform and even work on them while you sleep. As a result, as soon as you wake up you will be ready to start working with a clear mind instead of wandering aimlessly between unread emails and deadlines.
6. Take Breaks and Leave Your Working Space During the Day
This might strike you as counterintuitive but, in fact, taking breaks and even leaving your workspace will increase your productivity. Taking a small 5-minute break every hour is essential for your well-being. Sitting in front of a computer all day long can put a strain on your eyes as well as damage your posture. Make sure to take the time to get up from your chair, do some light stretching and maybe have a cup of tea. You can also go out for lunch for 30-45 minutes. Eating at the same time every day helps your body have a healthy digestive system and regulates your blood sugar levels.
7. Abide by the Two-Minute Rule
We all have to deal with small, tedious tasks in the workplace or even at home. Replying to an email, paying a bill online or taking out the trash are small tasks that can easily be done in two minutes. However, few of us actually do them on the spot. We tend to postpone them purely because they are boring and we’d rather engage in something more interesting. The Two-Minute rule aims to change this unhealthy behavior that sabotages our productivity. The premise is simple: decide if the task takes less than two minutes to fulfill. If the answer is yes, then you must do it on the spot.
8. Start Using Reminders
A hectic schedule makes it easy to forget to buy almond milk or pay the electricity bill. Recurring reminders will help you never forget things again. Some providers even have an auto-pay feature so you don’t have to bother with manually paying for certain bills every month. Reminders are super easy to use, especially if you’re a big fan of talking to your phone. Vocal commands make it simple to set reminders at a specific time and date. This comes in handy when you’re multitasking or when you don’t want to forget an important thought or idea.