6 ways to be more productive

We lead such busy lives in the tech-savvy 21st century that there are so many obstacles getting in the way of our everyday productivity. It’s any wonder we achieve chores, career goals and project efficiency at all! If you find yourself stagnating, check out these tips on how to become more effective at home or in the office.

Write a to-do list

Prioritising is no easy feat: it actually takes up a significant amount of mental energy. So, when you’re at your freshest in the morning, grab a pen and paper and write an old-fashioned to-do list to keep you on track. And, write a ‘not’ to do list. Yes, really! Steve Jobs said that the success of Apple had a lot to do with the projects they chose to ignore. By focusing on something long term, instead of continually trying to keep up with every new idea and not giving functions your full attention, you’ll find you’re far more likely to achieve success.

Declutter

Mess creates stress! So tidy up that desk, clean out the rubbish basket, and organise your office space if you want to be more productive. Don’t just move junk around, actually remove it and rejoice as a mental shift takes place. If you can’t bear to part with certain things, consider adopting a more efficient filing system or extra shelving. Instead of a foggy headspace, the cleansing affect of decluttering brings clarity that will put you in the nine-to-five frame of mind.

Ban social media

Social media is the ultimate time thief. Obsessive amounts of time spent on Facebook or Twitter is productivity lost. Of course there are networking and other benefits to social media so we’re not suggesting you nix it altogether, just monitor your time. Download an app such as Self Control that allows you to put a hold on using any particular websites for self-selected blocks of time. Once you’ve completed a set project, reward yourself with a YouTube video on your tablet before getting back down to business.

Allow breaks

Work in 60 to 90-minute blocks so your brain is actively focused the whole time. Extended periods of stimulation will only lead to stagnation. Allow at least a 10 minute interval in between to recover and refuel. Establishing a routine that incorporates breaks will maximise your brainpower by allowing you to return to the job at hand with a new sense of purpose. It’s as easy as setting a stopwatch or investing in a mini desk alarm clock.

Schedule email

It’s a myth that not responding to emails within five minutes will have your boss or clients berating you for being unproductive. The truth is that constant checking of your inbox is actually sabotaging your productivity. Rather than logging into your email first thing in the morning, commit to 30 – 40 minutes of office work, housework or even meditation first. Then tick off the email check-and-respond box before shutting it down again. That’s right. Set certain times where you’ll dedicate yourself to answering emails and the rest of the time get on with actual work. You’ll be amazed at how much you achieve.

Quit multitasking

While you might think multitasking is more productive, it simply isn’t! Why? Because nothing ever gets your full attention, and if you’re not dedicated to a task at hand, then you’re more likely to make mistakes and cut corners. In reality, multitasking is a just a buzzword people throw around to make themselves sound busy. Reality check, being busy is counterproductive, a real waste of time. Prioritising tasks, projects or errands and committing to them individually is much more effective.