16 January 2019
Do you ever find yourself in a position with just too much to do and not knowing where to start? Maybe the backlog after the Christmas holidays has got you banging your head against the wall?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Yes, work can be stressful at times (or most of the time!), but there are several small habits that we can change to help boost our productivity and help us get more things done in a more structured and organized way… HOORAY!
Avoid multitasking (if you’re a guy, you can skip to the next tip…we all know you can’t multitask anyway)
Although this may seem like a super-power in most cases, multitasking might not be helping your efficiency as much as you think it does. In fact, several studies have shown that attempting to do numerous things at once may result in a loss of productivity. Instead, although I know how tempting it is to do just the opposite, try to work on completing one task before moving on to another.
For those of you who are too hooked to their multitasking habit to ever give it up, you can implement Steve Olenski’s “two-minute rule”. The idea behind this rule is that if you have a task that can be done in two minutes or less, then tackle it immediately, as this will actually take less time than going back to it later. Just make sure you don’t get carried away.
Schedule your time
Listing down a prioritized to-do list for the next day before you leave the office will help you to hit the ground running in the morning (unless you end up adding new things to your to-do list after finishing a task just to be able to FINALLY cross something off your list…not that I’ve ever done this myself, of course!)
Needless to say that an element of flexibility is still required here, as you may have to adapt to what the day brings along, but it will certainly save you time and improve your efficiency.
Eat that frog!
The reasoning behind this theory is simple – but truly effective: start off your day with your biggest, most dreaded task, and this way you won’t have to spend the rest of the day brooding over it.
Because let’s face it, we all find ourselves procrastinating and delaying that odd task once in a while. Getting it out of the way first thing in the morning (hence, ‘eating the frog’) will make the rest of your day feel easy in comparison…voila’!
Set self-imposed deadlines
When dealing with a task that is open-ended, try assign your own realistic deadline (and make sure you stick to it!).
And when it comes to a big project, split it into smaller bite-sized tasks so that you can actually get started. Chances are you won’t get lost in too much planning, and therefore manage to execute efficiently – after all perfection is only a direction.
This will also create a level of manageable ‘stress’ which will help you to pick up the pace, improve your performance, and actually finish that sprint.
How’s that for going Agile?
This is probably the most difficult tip to implement, but might very easily be the most effective. Try locking yourself in a meeting room to finish off that pending urgent task, or avoid stopping next to a colleague for a short chat if need be. Even the smallest of interruptions (like those tempting email notifications popping up at the bottom of your screen) can correspond to a drop in productivity.
So to summaries: Get at room, set your boundaries, and resist the temptation!
Take regular breaks
Your concentration levels will benefit from taking short scheduled breaks to fight against mental fatigue – try get into the habit of moving away from your desk every 90 minutes or so – go to the bathroom, fill your water cup from the dispenser, grab a quick coffee from the canteen, or go out for some fresh air (unless you work in Malta, in which case lock yourself inside and avoid breathing the second you step outside).
However, I must warn you – be prepared for some (and by some, I mean a ton!) of teasing from your colleagues about your obsession with all things organised. But don’t worry, soon enough they’ll realize the benefits too.
Hope these tips leave a positive impact on your productivity level…feel free to drop us a comment below with your top tips!
Written by Ylenia Gatt
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