We started 2020 with a can-do, organised attitude, determined to maximise our time at work and at home.
But admittedly, this is easier said than done… which is why we’ve compiled our top tips to keep focused and kicking goals.
P – is for preparation
If there’s one thing that’s saved us on a busy workday, it’s the packed lunch sitting in the fridge that we prepared the night before. But beyond just preparing your lunch and maybe your outfit, a bit of day-before preparation can do wonders for your frame of mind as well.
Meditation and positive visualisation are great techniques to prepare for a busy week. While meditation is great for centring the mind, and increasing feelings of groundedness, positive visualisation has been found to boost energy levels and work efficiency.
But how?? Studies have shown that the brain doesn’t differentiate between a real memory, and an imagined one. This benefits you in terms of productivity, because researchers have also found that people who visualise themselves doing a task, improve their performance of that task.
This is because the simple task of visualising a positive, productive day the night before can work to increase self-confidence, and genuine feelings of motivation to get you through the day or week ahead.
Basically, you can trick your brain into being more productive…Genius.
Set achievable tasks
Before you do anything, setting up your tasks for the day is essential. And with a good plan comes a good grasp of priority and practicality. Overloading yourself with a list of 20 to-dos everyday is hardly the way to keep your mind focussed and your day functional.
Instead, we recommend considering what tasks are priority, and then what is standardly achievable in the time you have (factoring in things like meetings as well). If it means setting yourself one big job to focus on the whole day, then that’s your day. Generally though, giving yourself 2-3 tasks to complete will keep you working smart but not too hard.
Knock over the difficult stuff first
There’s nothing worse than getting to 5 pm and still needing to tend to that mammoth email you’ve been avoiding or that difficult call you haven’t made. This is where we employ the ‘rip-off the band-aid’ method.
Jumping in at the beginning of your day and tackling these tasks first is the best way to keep your day as productive as possible. Not only are you taking advantage of the high energy levels of the morning, where you’ll be more alert and calculated to deal with the tricky stuff, but you’ll also keep your stress levels in check, as you won’t be worrying about these tasks throughout the day.
“Do not disturb” me!
We don’t need to tell you the total time-waster technology can be…From emails, texts, reminders and notifications, your phone, laptop and even smartwatch can now be more of a nuisance than a working aid.
The solution? Do not disturb mode, aeroplane mode, or total cold-turkey – switched off. (At least for the periods of the day when you really need to knuckle down and focus). As for emails, give yourself 3 set times throughout the day to check-in, allowing yourself about 10 minutes to reply before getting on with your work. By removing these distractions, you’ll reduce the risk of wasting time, and avoid the temptation of procrastination.
Give yourself quality breaks
It’s important to give yourself variety, not just in the work you’re doing, but also in the environment you’re in. In fact, it can actually boost your productivity. Without quality breaks, you’ll find yourself demotivated and struggling with things like ‘decision fatigue’ (reduced willpower and ability to reason), reduced positivity and also creativity.
To bump the slump, fill your day with a number of standard 5-10 minute breaks that involve leaving the desk for a little while. Meanwhile, at lunch, make sure you get out for at least 20 minutes. Go for a walk and a mental recharge, your brain will thank you!