Somehow, it’s the end of the day. You’re exhausted, and feel like you’ve been running around panicking all day - yet you don’t seem to have achieved anything.
Lack of productivity is often viewed as laziness, but that’s not the case at all. You might feel as if you’re constantly on the go, constantly working, yet you aren’t getting your tasks completed.
So, what’s the problem? What’s getting in the way of your productivity? How can you have a productive day?
Let’s find out.
What’s Getting In The Way Of Being Productive?
There are plenty of factors that can affect your productivity. If you’re struggling to focus, distracted by other things, or simply working on too many tasks at once, you can find that a whole day goes by and nothing gets done.
For remote workers, productivity can be a real issue. Working from home presents new challenges (you may not feel inclined to open Netflix in the office, but at home, on your sofa - well, that’s a different situation!). However, working in a traditional office setup can also create too many distractions.
Your problem could also have a deeper root. You may not be prepared for the day, you could be disorganized, or simply working on too much at once. Let’s discuss a few tips and tricks to have a truly productive day.
8 Ways To Get Productive
First of all, it’s important to realize that everyone is different. What works for one person may only irritate another. So, it’s good to experiment a little and see what helps you be truly productive.
Pre-Plan and Prioritize
The first step to a productive day often starts before your day even begins. Take some time to organize your tasks of the day, either in the morning or the evening before, and set aside time to work on each one. Remember to add regular breaks.
Prioritizing important tasks is the best way to make sure the most time-sensitive tasks get taken care of first. Planning out your day ahead of time means that you won’t waste valuable time. It’s also a good way of keeping down your stress levels and making sure important tasks aren’t overlooked.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Rather than starting work groggy and hungry, try and wake up a little bit earlier and eat a healthy breakfast.
However you choose to start your day, whether it’s with a huge cooked breakfast or a banana and a cup of coffee, breakfast is a good time to take a break before your day begins. You can use this time to prepare for the day’s tasks, exercise, practice mindfulness, and make sure you’ll have enough energy to get through to lunch.
Warm Up your Brain
You would warm up before exercising, so why is exercising your brain any different? Taking the time to write something out or do a quick “practice” task before the real work begins can help you get into the “zone”.
Starting work with your brain already geared up and ready to go means that you can hit the ground running when it comes to productivity.
Don’t Work Through Lunch
Skipping meals won’t improve your productivity. You may feel as if you have to work through your lunch breaks to get your work done. However, if you’re hungry and tired, you won’t work as quickly or as well as you would if you were refreshed and rested.
Try and schedule a full lunch break into your daily planner, and then make sure you do take time off over your break.
Take Regular Breaks
You may be surprised to hear that regular breaks aid productivity. The fact is, focusing on tasks is mentally draining. That can lead to mental fatigue, which slows us down, impedes creativity, and means that we’re more likely to make mistakes.
Taking regular breaks (5 minutes for every 25 minutes of focusing on a task is a suggested idea) can keep you fresh and properly productive.
Let’s be frank. Multitasking usually ends up in several half-finished tasks at the end of the day or several badly executed tasks. Focusing on one task at a time means that you can finish the job quicker and better than you would if you were focusing on several at once.
Essentially, multitasking is a false economy. Your tasks take much longer when you try to do them all at once than they would if you completed them separately - and none of your tasks gets your full attention.
Give each task its place in your schedule, starting with the most important or time-sensitive. When you’re working on the allotted task for that time, focus on that task - not the next one, and not the one you’ve just completed.
Create a Schedule - and Stick To It!
We’ve already touched on the importance of pre-planning and creating a slot for each task in your daily planner. When you create your schedule for the day, factor in everything you can think of.
This includes breaks, lunch breaks, traveling time, and anything else that might take up time in your day.
Of course, even the best schedule in the world will do you no good if you don’t stick to it.
Celebrate Your Successes
When you’ve completed a task, take time to celebrate. The celebration could take the form of giving yourself a short break, getting up and moving around or simply congratulating yourself on a job well done.
Job satisfaction is an important part of productivity. Job satisfaction is what motivates a person to push on to the end of the task, and gives us a glowing feeling of accomplishment when we finish a task.
Of course, job satisfaction is not crucial to getting things done. However, it can be a powerful motivating factor to having a full, productive day.
The Bottom Line
Try as you might, not all days will be completely productive. How much you need to accomplish will depend on your circumstances.
However, while you’re focusing on productivity and completing tasks, don’t forget to make time for yourself and your loved ones. Long-term productivity comes from a place of happiness and contentment. Don’t burn yourself out.
Not sure if you’re burning out or not? Take the stress test. Find out if stress is impacting your health or ability to lose weight.