Let’s face it. Sometimes we’re unproductive at work. It’s 4:30pm and we wonder where the day went. It happens to all of us, but there are some productivity tricks to help every day be a little more successful.
1. PLAN OUT TOMORROW… TODAY
It seems simple, but so many of us don’t do it! Before you leave the office, make a quick list of things you want to get accomplished tomorrow. For extra bonus points, assign each task a time amount. Knowing what has to get done and how long it will take you means when you walk into the office tomorrow, you’re ready to go.
2. SCHEDULE TASKS VS. JUST A TO-DO LIST
Once you have your list of tasks set for the day, schedule them out. You’ll return emails between 9am and 10am, then do last minute edits to a powerpoint 11am to 11:30, etc. This keeps you from dragging one task out too long (admit it, it happens.) and prep for the next event on your schedule. It might take awhile for you to estimate how long things will take you at first, but after a week or so, you’ll be a total pro.
As self-help guru Michael Hyatt says, “What gets scheduled is what gets done.”
3. DO THE HARDEST THING FIRST
This one is tough, but it totally works. Do the task you’re dreading the most first. Maybe it’s the one that will take the longest, or maybe it’s just super tedious. (spread sheets, anyone?) Get it done first, give yourself a reward (10 minutes on BuzzFeed, a latte, a text break with your bestie) then feel great knowing the hardest part of your day is over.
4. SCHEDULE BREAKS
Learn what time of day you’re the most and least productive. Try and schedule your day around those times when you can. Most productive between 8am and 10am? Don’t schedule meetings, phone calls, etc. so you can focus on what needs to get done.
Also—you are not a robot. You simply can’t sit at your desk for hours. Give yourself some breaks in your day, even if they’re short. A walk around the office or a quick doodle session (I’m obsessed with adult coloring books!) can do wonders for your productivity.
5. DITCH THE TIME SUCKS
When we’re procrastinating or we find our minds wandering in dozens of directions, many of us head to the biggest time suck on the planet- social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and IG are black holes of goodness. First you’re looking up a recipe for dinner, and two hours later you find yourself enthralled in your college roommates very public, very drama-filled divorce on Facebook. (don’t even—you know you’ve done it, too.)
If you’re anything like me, the only way to get off social media sometimes is to be forced off. Like, you are legit blocking the sites from opening. There are some great apps out there such as Self-Control (read a review here) and Anti-Social that help take care of this for you. Type in the websites you want to block, add how long they should be blocked, and you are all set. Also check out Focus.
You can also set your browser to not open specific pages (think parental controls, but for yourself) if that’s helpful.
Want to be more present with friends, but find yourself always on your phone? Check out Curbi, an app that tracks your time on Android and Apple devices, and also lets you set time limits.