Whether you work in digital marketing, consulting, ecommerce, healthcare, sales, or anything in between, productivity often precedes success. If you want to be more successful in your career, it starts with optimizing every week to maximize productivity. In this article, we’ll discuss several tactical ways to do this.
Try These Productivity Tips and Tricks
We all have different measures of productivity. However, it’s basically the measurement of getting stuff done in a timely manner. When you’re able to accomplish everything on your task list with few delays, that’s considered productive.
On the other hand, if you feel like you’re moving through quicksand and cannot accomplish anything without tremendous amounts of time, energy, and effort, you’re probably not being productive. That sounds pretty obvious and straightforward, but it’s easy for us to lose sight of the simplicity.
If you’re currently lacking in the productivity department, here are several tips that will help you get your week on track.
1. Start Each Day With MITs
Most people waltz into their days with very little idea of what they need to accomplish. They might have a vague idea, but there’s no tangible understanding of what a productive day would look like. In order to be more efficient, you need to have a plan every day. One way to do this is by starting with specific MITs.
MITs, also known as the most important tasks, are the three to five tasks that you absolutely, positively need to get done that day. These are the tasks that you prioritize and work through first. Everything else takes a backseat.
At the start of each day, list off your MITs. If you ever have trouble identifying your MITs, use the Eisenhower decision-making matrix to gain clarity. Anything that lands in the upper-left quadrant of the matrix is an MIT.
2. Batch Tasks
Most people think they’re pretty good at multitasking. However, it’s scientifically impossible to be “good” at multitasking. The human brain is incapable of focusing on two tasks at the same time. So what you’re really doing is switching back and forth between tasks – and it’s costing you!
Psychologist Gerald Weinberg discovered that each extra task you add to your plate diminishes your productivity by 20 to 80 percent. When you switch between two tasks, your brain is forced to switch “gears.” Every you switch, it takes time to readjust to the new task before you. This can lead to hours of wasted time each week.
Batching tasks is one way to avoid multitasking and keep your brain focused. With this approach, you group similar tasks together and do them all in a condensed period of time. If you’re a marketer, this might look like writing all of your social media posts on Monday mornings. Monday afternoons are then reserved for meetings. Tuesday mornings are for reviewing analytics, etc.
In order for task batching to work, you actually have to carve out time on your calendar and dedicate it to those specific tasks. Calendly is one good option, but, quite frankly, it’s not really worth the hype. Click here for Calendly alternatives that make it easy to protect your schedule and be more productive.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique
You’ve almost certainly heard of the Pomodoro Technique, but have you actually ever used it? This method is simple, but it really works.
The idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is that you split tasks up and assign them 25-minute time slots. You set the timer and begin the task. Once the 25 minutes are done, you take a short five-minute break and then perform another 25-minute segment of work followed by a five-minute break. This equals one hour.
This technique works because it’s so focused. You can do anything for 25 minutes when you know there’s a short break on the other end. However, it’s not so long that you lose focus or motivation.
4. Switch Up Your Work Environment
Your immediate work environment has a direct impact on your productivity. Everything from ambient sounds and lighting to scenery and smells can affect your focus. But not only should you have an optimized workspace – you should also change things up from time to time. Switching up your work environment – like working from a coffee shop one day – can help get your creative juices flowing. There’s something about fresh stimuli that helps the brain break out of creative ruts.
5. Put Your Phone Out of Reach
Your smartphone is killing your focus. Even if you don’t feel like you’re constantly using it during the workday, you’re definitely checking it. Every time your phone’s screen lights up with a notification or you get a ring or buzz, it zaps your focus and takes it away from the task you’re supposed to be doing. It then takes a couple of minutes to resume your focus. By that time, your phone’s screen may have lit up again (and the cycle repeats).
If you want to get more done, try placing your phone out of reach and putting it on silent. This might look like putting it in another room. Give yourself permission to check it once per hour.
6. Get Daily Exercise
We all know we need more exercise to enjoy better physical health, but did you know that it can also impact your focus and productivity?
“Increased productivity is noticeable within weeks of implementing an exercise regime,” health writer Helen Sanders explains. “Exercise raises your energy levels, combats stress, battles fatigue and improves general well-being. When you feel happier and energized you’re more efficient and effective at all tasks in life.”
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. This could include running, swimming, cycling, spin class, or even playing pickup basketball in the driveway. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – just that you’re getting your heart rate up and relieving stress.
Putting it All Together
Productivity alone isn’t enough to make you successful. However, it’s nearly impossible to be successful in your career without it. By optimizing each week to be more efficient, you can accomplish more and enjoy a greater sense of purpose.