If you feel like you are not using your whole potential at work, maybe the reason is in the lack of focusing and planning. Whatever your job is, there are always ways to be distracted and less focused than you can be. The solution can be quite simple: you need a plan and self-discipline to follow this plan. You need to find the source of the problem and to make it go away step-by-step. Here is a basic plan that can help you to stay productive. You can add, exclude or modify some of the points to make it more suitable for you.
Exclude vague things from your to-do list
Your to-do list should consist only of the things you can actually do with no delays. For example, “start a new project” is not an item for a to-do list. It is too big and complex. “Defining the project goals for the next couple of months” is much better. Concrete actions are the best fit for such lists.
Get rid of distracting factors
Well, sure, you cannot do the whole day without chatting with your colleagues, checking your personal e-mail or social networks and reading the news. The best way out is to eliminate all the distractions, of course. If it seems impossible to you, you should set concrete time for getting distracted. For example, you can read news for ten minutes at the beginning of the day, gossip over a coffee with your colleagues after lunch for some time and spend 15 minutes on e-mail and social networks at the end of the day.
Nothing makes your brain wake up and work better than physical activity. If you feel you are not concentrated and focused enough, don’t rush to drinking coffee; try taking a small walk, doing some squads or simply stretching for a while. Only ten minutes of physical activity can increase your productivity in a massive way.
Listen to music
Listening to music is a great way to either get energetic or to calm down. It is the same as when you listen to music while running or exercising – it keeps you fresh and moving. The choice of music depends on your personal preferences. Some people prefer fast rhythms to keep them productive, some enjoy calm melodies that help them clear their minds and concentrate. If you are distracted by the words of songs, try to listen to instrumental tracks in different styles. Sooner or later you can find your own ideal “working” music.
Use the benefits of modern technologies
Every year you see a lot of very cool software created for us to optimize our work process. One of the biggest programs in the last several years that eased office work is Google docs. It allowed to save so much time on sharing documents with coworkers and introduced so many awesome features such as the ability for several people to work on a document at the same time. If you for some reason haven’t tried it, please do! It’ll change your office life.
Meditate at your working desk
Meditation and concentration exercises are a great way to get refreshed during a day. By the way, it is what Steve Jobs used to do from time to time while working on his projects. Researches show that even a couple of minutes of meditating per day lower your stress level and increase the ability of a tired brain to concentrate. In this period of time you should stop worrying about anything and that will save you a lot of energy.
Use your breaks right
Working eight hours without any breaks is impossible. Well, it is actually possible, but your productivity won’t be so great without resting for some time. You usually have a big lunch break and a couple of small ones during a day. What you do during a break influences your productivity in a big way. Naturally, you eat lunch on your big break. Try to make it nutritious but not too heavy on your stomach. And don’t overeat. If you do, your organism will spend too much energy on processing all the food and you will feel tired and sleepy.
After lunch, don’t just sit and watch some things online. Do something useful that will give you energy and help you rest a bit. Take a walk, read a book, write a diary, make a shopping list, watch some small TED lecture, etc. Make this time count for you and try to do something that will inspire you to do your work for the rest of the day.
Use the reward system
Self-reward system works very well if you get used to it. Do a big task in the morning and then reward yourself with a cup of coffee and sweets. Finish another task and watch a couple of kitten-videos. With such a system, you will have these tiny incentives to be more productive and to finish tasks quicker.
So, this was our vision of how you can be more productive at work. Of course, it is all very personal and subjective and what works for one person, can be absolutely useless for another. Try different things and change your every-day habits that you feel make you less than you can be. If you do at least something to be better, it will always pay off.
Alyce Fabel is a professional educator and passionate writer who dreams to publish a great american novel. Her primary interests are writing traveling and educational technologies. She loves to share experience so please feel free to contact her via social media.