We all know that one person. The one who despite deadlines and curveballs manages to get their work done early, always appears calm and composed, and somehow still has time for leisure and vacation. It’s a little infuriating. How do they do it?! How do they maintain increased productivity in today’s world of constant stress and distraction? Meanwhile, our hapless attempts to get organized and focused leave us feeling spectacularly disordered and frustrated.
It’s true that some people are just born self-starters. They see something they want and then systematically set about attaining it. They plan, prepare, and execute before the rest of us have even had our morning cup of coffee. So is there hope for us woefully unprepared procrastinators? Of course! Unlocking productivity doesn’t need to be complicated. We simply need to discover what it is we’re willing to spend our time and energy on, and then go about making the most of that time. We need to have faith in ourselves, and the people who make up our teams. And we need to set realistic goals. After all, perfection is the enemy of good.
Find What Motivates You
The masters of increased productivity are very often the masters of motivation. They know what they like and they’re not afraid to work for it. Tapping into that inner passion is essential to producing results. If it feels like work, it will be.
Obviously not every job or chore is going to be completed with gleeful efficiency. But a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. Next time you have a long list of phone calls or emails to tackle, start with the correspondence you’d most like to answer. If you find that you keep putting off that spring cleaning, why not begin with the simplest chore, or the one you least mind doing?
And if you can’t find the silver lining within the work, try envisioning the reward you’ll get when it’s over. A quiet night on the couch… a clean house… a very large and perfectly chilled glass of wine. Making the simple intention to actively seek out the positive aspects of a tough job will increase your sense of control over matters. With that mindset, the feeling of authority will translate to increased productivity and ultimately, accomplishment.
Know Your Limits
Finding the bright side of a tough situation or a laborious task will undoubtedly make it easier to succeed. Although, it’s equally important to recognize when you’re struggling and need a helping hand. It’s a skill that’s not often taught in a world where everyone seems to be grappling with self-absorption and insecurity. But to truly unlock an environment of increased productivity, you must learn how to ask for help. Don’t let pride or uncertainty hold you back. People like to feel useful; let them be! And by showing others that you value their opinion, you’ll build a strong rapport of trust and respect.
Similarly, it’s important to know when you need a break. You can’t be productive when you’re exhausted. Studies have shown that a simple fifteen minutes spent away from work, chatting with a friend or watching an adorable cat video can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
With emails pinging and push notifications lighting up the phone, group texts and social media updates, how does anyone get anything done? Staying focused is essential to increasing productivity. So silence those phones, turn off the TV, and channel some mindful energy. Banish the clutter and get organized. Make yourself comfortable – put on some music or white noise, grab a bottle of water or a hot mug of coffee. And stop looking at the clock. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how such simple changes can majorly boost your level of productivity.
Set Sensible Goals
Earlier we mentioned that perfection is the enemy of good. And it’s true. Time spent agonizing over unnecessary details and unrealistic expectations is time wasted. Have faith in your decisions and learn when to proclaim “Finished.” By asserting control over your endeavors, you’ll find a greater impetus to work harder and follow through on your goals. You’ll see yourself accomplishing more, worrying less, and enjoying newly liberated down time.
Find What Works For YOU
Don’t stress about modifying the entire way you approach assignments. Instead, determine what seems to be affecting your productivity the most, and then try making one or two simple changes. Distracted? Try blocking Facebook on your office computer or putting your cellphone on silent for a few hours. Overwhelmed? Try some quick meditation techniques or a stress ball. Even better, ask a superior for some advice or a coworker for a brainstorming session. Unhappy? Reevaluate what it was that facilitated your entry into this job/major/project. Maybe it’s time for a new challenge or even a new environment.
Ultimately, increased productivity comes when you make it a priority. Sometimes it might feel like you’re taking the long way to a place you’ve visited a thousand times. But in order to truly beat the burnout or avoid performance malaise, you have to make a conscious effort to make strong decisions and use that time wisely. Tracking your work hours, drawing up a family cleaning schedule, creating a budget for vacation – these things take time. However, the future benefits reaped from investing that time will be well worth the effort.
It’s all about how you look at things. What gives you perspective and helps you stay on task? Let us know in the comments how you encourage productivity at work and home.