It’s Monday. you have been sitting at your desk for two hours and haven’t done anything other than revise an email to a friend asking them to watch your dog when you go on holiday. Hey, it happens. Suddenly it’s Wednesday afternoon and you continue to haven’t accomplished anything notable. Where did the time go? We all have workweeks like this. are you able to turn it around?
Having some tips and tricks to pull out of your productivity bag for just such occasions can be the secret to salvaging your week. These five tips for improving your focus and being productive can facilitate your get back on track, no matter whether you work remotely or in a central workspace.
- Make a Morning Routine That Guides You
“Do your hardest task first.” You’ve heard that advice before, right? it is not helpful at all! It might as well be, “Muster up all of your willpower and force yourself to do something you don’t want to do.” Gee, thanks.
Instead, create a morning routine that guides you to the task you recognize you should do. It doesn’t need to be your hardest task, either. But set your intention on something. Here’s an example:
Make a cup of coffee
Sit down at your desk
Open your to-do list app and set your intention by deciding which task to specialise in
Mark that task as high priority
Gather the tools you would like to start the task, whether meaning opening files and programs or finding a phone number
Those steps are just an example. Notice that not one action is difficult, and yet they collectively set you up to try to to the task you want to be doing. It’s far better than relying on willpower alone.
Though opening a to-do list app may be a popular way to start, some swear by looking over their calendars and agendas very first thing instead. Reviewing a calendar is perhaps most helpful to people who spend much of their time in meetings.
Be sure to make your steps into a routine, meaning something you are doing habitually. Kick it off with something easy and enjoyable—that’s why I opened with making coffee. you would possibly prefer to put on music or adjust your lighting. If you anticipate to starting the routine, it makes everything that comes after a touch easier.
- save Your Busywork
Filing expense reports, cleaning out your inbox, wiping down your desk, scanning documents—these are all chores that has got to get done. Has someone convinced you that you simply shouldn’t do these kinds of tasks because they “aren’t productive” or have little value? Have you been telling yourself that these tasks only make you feel productive? Hogwash.
First of all, these tasks do have value. within the grand scheme of things, their value could be lower than that of your most difficult tasks, but it isn’t zero. you’re obliged to your boss and colleagues in accounting to complete expense reports on time. Emptying your inbox today makes for a smoother experience triaging email tomorrow. If you do not see a pile of papers nearby, you can’t be distracted by them.
Second, saving these tasks and doing them at the proper time is a highly productive time-management strategy. We all have phases during the workweek once we are able to concentrate and others when we’re not able to concentrate. Filing an expense report doesn’t take plenty of concentration. So save that task for a time when your ability to concentrate is low. For nine-to-fivers, Friday afternoon is usually the best time to water the plants, file paperwork, and do whatever other busywork you would like to do.
- rest on a Tomato for Motivation
What does one do when you know it’s time to tackle a certain task, but you only can’t seem to get started? When I’m at my lowest point of motivation, I address tomatoes.
The Pomodoro Technique may be a method of working that helps people push through a lack of motivation. It’s named after old kitchen timers that were shaped like tomatoes; pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Author and consultant Francesco Cirillo came up with the tactic as a university student and later described it (and trademarked it) in his book of the same name. You set a timer for about 25 minutes and work on the task at hand until it runs out. Then you reset the timer for five minutes and take a brief break. You repeat the cycle some times and eventually take a longer break.
The next time you can’t seem to get started on a task, see if committing thereto for just 25 minutes gets you over the hump. Then set a timer and obtain cracking. you do not need a tomato timer, as you’ll use now use an app or browser extensions designed for the technique. i prefer one called Strict Workflow, and Browser extensions inspired by the Pomodoro Technique also usually include URL blockers that prevent you from going to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, ESPN, or other guilty pleasure websites while you’re trying to figure . Windows 11’s clock app now includes Focus Sessions, a feature that gives the same functionality systemwide.
If you respond better to external motivators, try Caveday. it is a collective of people who do these work–break sprints together, usually online though they need been in person in the past. Having that gentle pressure of people around may make it easier for you to get the job done.
- Take Meetings During Your Slump Time
The worst thanks to schedule meetings is to pick any old time when you’re free.
Instead, have a default time of day when you’re free for meetings. What time of day does one tend to slump? Your slump hours should be your default meeting time.
Few people have total control over when meetings happen . If your boss’s boss invites you to a gathering , you go at the time they pick. once you are in control of the meeting time, however, like when someone asks you when you’re free, give them options that line up together with your slumps. That way you preserve your high-focus hours for work that needs high focus.
This tip isn’t dissimilar from one you may have heard before: Block off several hours on your calendar each day for deep-focus work. Here’s the difference. Few people actually block off time, whereas scheduling meetings during your slumps are some things you might actually do.
- Dump Any Productivity Tip that does not Serve You
Human beings contain multitudes. nobody can know how alike or different they are from another person. Where we discover motivation, what helps us stay focused, what makes us feel demoralized, and the way we recharge are unique to each of us. we will look to science to figure out what kind of productivity advice or tips work for most people, but we will never know what works for us until we try it.
Monique Valcour, an executive coach and contributor to Harvard Business Review, wrote an insightful article with tips for people that hate productivity tips(Opens in a new window). It’s for people that find motivation by looking inward at their intentions rather than outward at their to-do list. It’s for people that don’t jibe with tomato timers and feel better about themselves for making good progress on a task rather than finishing it by an arbitrary deadline.
With that all in mind, throw out any productivity tips that do not work for you. Give them a try, but toss them aside if they do not mesh with your personality. there is no shortage of productivity tips and strategies. do not feel like you’ve failed if some of them don’t work for you. specialise in the ones that do.