It’s a phrase uttered by us all at one point or another. You have too much on your plate, too many emails to answer, too many project deadlines. You’re overwhelmed. So you sit there and stare at the screen of your computer and wallow in how you’re going to get all of your work done.
How can you avoid the unavoidable? The answer is simple: Habit. Create good habits. Break the bad habits.
1. Start out your day by planning it.
Making a to-do list is key in productivity. But instead of jumbling all of the things you must do from now until eternity into one list and staring at it blankly, try to prioritize. There are a few ways to do this. Make a “must do today” list and a “may do today” list. Make a “must do this week” and “may do this week” to do list. An important thing to add here is a time estimate. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate, but mapping out blocks of time helps to make these lists seem more reasonable. Here is another kind of to-do list proven to be more effective than the traditional list.
2. Identify your perfect work environment.
There’s a lot of variation in which types of environments make the best workplace environments. Some people need a dull roar. Some people need complete silence. Some people need to have friends around them engaging in the same task. Everyone is different. But finding your environment is key in your productivity. Here is a link to a great article to help you determine which working environment is optimal for your success.
3. Have a notebook handy at all times.
We all get a little distracted with thoughts like, “Oh! I have to get a birthday present for Martha this week! I can’t forget to do that!” Instead of shoving it to the back of your mind, write it down into a notebook, and park it until the work is done.
4. Take breaks.
The science is clear about breaks. You remain more focused when you incorporate frequent and short breaks each work day.
5. Set achievable, incremental goals.
This one is key. Setting easy-to-reach, base-level, and short-term goals can really increase productivity as well as overall workplace happiness. If you’re in a sales job, set a block in your calendar for a minimum of 15 cold calls in an hour. Once you reach that goal, you get to put a big, fat check mark next to your to-do list.
6. Get the worst stuff out of the way first.
A.K.A. "Eating the frog." Not everything you do in the work day is necessarily your favorite. So get the tough stuff out of the way right off the bat. Then, it won’t be hanging over your head for the rest of the day.
7. Challenge a colleague.
Competition can help motivate all kinds of people. Setting up a little friendly competition can be healthy for your workplace productivity, as long as your work doesn’t get sloppy.
Just remember: Break. It. Down.
Looking at a plethora of tasks can get daunting very quickly. Keep your work to-do list and your home to-do list separate. Break your giant list of things into a day by day progress report. You’ll be happier with the results. You can do this, people! Nothing is impossible.
Kate Jacoutot is the Marketing Coordinator for Spire Workforce Solutions. If you're interested in Kate's freelance marketing services, please visit www.thronemarketingtm.com.