Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well, sometimes it’s not fun that’s making you feel like there are not enough hours in the day, it’s truly just having a jam-packed schedule from morning until night. Increasing your productivity may be the only answer to making your day more manageable.
People are usually categorized into two different personality groups: Type A or Type B. I am Type A. Organized is an understatement when describing my typical day of tasks. I have a perfect system that yields at least three different methods of keeping track of what I need to do on any given day. Although being organized certainly leads to establishing and sustaining a productive life, organization and productivity are not one in the same. To help you understand this causal relationship, I analyzed my most productive days and the techniques that got me there. Below are some tips to maximize your daily productivity.
Prepare a To-Do List
For most people, to-do lists are essential for keeping track of tasks. You can decide on whatever method is best for monitoring your day-to-day action items, but unless you are some sort of mastermind who never forgets anything, preparing a to-do list in advance is an important start for any productive endeavor. I use a combination of my email, an online app and the traditional hand written list to assist in my productivity.
- Email – I leave emails unread in my inbox until I can check off the task they are referring to is finished. Even if I read the email, I make sure to tick the “unread” box right after to remind me to follow up with the client or coworker very time I check my inbox.
- Asana – Asana is a collaborative, task-organizing app that allows you to assign tasks to others on your team, keep track of upcoming tasks and set up new ones. The whole office stays up to date with the projects we’re working on through Asana.
- Notebook – There’s something special about putting pen to paper. It lets you take a step back from the digital age we live in and allows your mind to flow onto paper. From multiple sources of scientific research, the act of writing things down actually records it stronger in your brain.
As I said before, being organized does not mean being productive… But keeping a to-list allows you to physically check things off your list (the best feeling ever) and forces you to sit down and get your mind focused on that day’s action items.
You call your coworker’s name one, two, three, four times, and they still don’t respond. The culprit: noise cancelling headphones and two little earbuds. Headphones are a hit or miss for some people, but for me, they are a godsend. Listening to music while doing work helps me get in the zone. I set myself up for success with no distractions and am immune to any office disturbances. As much as I like my coworkers and collaborating with them on almost every project, there’s a time when headphones are necessary and I need to focus.
We all know the saying: “You are what you eat.” But have you ever stopped to think about how important eating well is for your body and your mind? People often only associate a healthy diet with the physical appearance and ability of their bodies, but eating well can also help with alertness, concentration and productivity. We need good nutritious foods to fuel our body throughout the workday and keep us focused on the day’s tasks. Planning ahead and packing a lunch in the morning is essential for surviving a long workday. While you’re at it, eat breakfast. Kickstarting your day with protein and a tall glass of water will do wonders to your productivity as it wakes up your brain to prepare it for the day.
Along with eating well, exercise is most often linked to a healthy lifestyle. Burning calories, working up a sweat or building muscle are all achievable from a good workout. But did you know it can also help you be more productive? The latest research tells us that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, sharper and more productive. And better yet, it does not have to be a high intensity, sweat-dripping workout, a simple walk or low-impact session can you make your mind smarter and more focused. Either early in the morning before work or later in the evening after work, your body will thank you for giving it time to move and be active. In the end, your newfound exercise habit will keep you shaper, give you more energy throughout the day and improve your productivity.
Just like keeping your house and living area clean, you want a clean workspace to ensure a quick and clear path to being more productive. Sticky notes pile up, keyboards get grimy, screens get smeared, and there’s probably residue from the thirty or so cups of coffee I consume during any given week. Once a week, make sure your work area is set up for productivity and take time to clean it to clear the way for all the hard work you do.
Unfortunately, there is no strict formula to productivity. No two days are the same in this brilliant agency world and anything can pop up to make it more hectic. However, just by having a clear outline of what has to happen day to day and sticking to these tips, I can make sure I actually manage to get things done.