Whether you’re working from home or working on-site, staying productive can be a struggle. Some days, staying productive comes easily, and you’re able to complete many tasks. Other days, it’s difficult to complete even one task. As summer and warm weather continue, distractions will multiply. Rather than focusing on work, you might be focusing on a trip you’re planning or something to do over the weekend. It happens to everyone. The following productivity tips will help you stay on task, even when you don’t want to.
The concept of buffer time is simple: give yourself more time than you need. For example, I give myself buffer time during my morning commute. I might get stuck by a train or an accident could be blocking the road in the morning. Rather than risk being late, I’ll leave earlier. If I still get stuck, I’ll be on time instead of late.
You can use buffer time when scheduling tasks as well. If a task will take one hour, it may be worth it to schedule the task for an hour and a half. The extra time will account for any needed restroom or snack breaks and maybe even a chatty co-worker. If you finish early, you can use that time to take a break or get ahead on other tasks.
Write everything down.
Write down every task that needs to be done for the week. A written, physical list keeps you from being overwhelmed. Instead of keep track of tasks in your head, they are in front of you. You can clearly see which tasks need to be handled and you can schedule a time to handle them.
Do the task you dread first.
Often, there’s a task that you don’t want to do; but you have to do it anyway. Start with this task. You’ll get the unpleasant task done first and can look forward to the rest of your day. If you save this task until the end, you’ll remind yourself of the unpleasant task all day. You probably won’t have a good day, and this will take the joy out of other tasks.
Multitasking diverts your attention between many tasks. Rather than give your full attention to one task, you’re splitting your attention between many tasks. If you multitask, you’re more likely to make mistakes and not notice. Instead of splitting your attention, give all of your attention to one task. You’ll be less likely to make mistakes, and you’ll put more effort into the task. It will be completed and have a better quality.
Double-check your work.
Double-check your work before sending it to another person. You can catch simple mistakes and clarify specific points beforehand. Your quality of work will increase and seem more professional. You’ll also spend less time correcting it later.
Schedule and take breaks during the day. Working without a break can quickly lead to exhaustion and burnout. Your productivity and quality of work will decrease. Unsure if you’re approaching burnout? Check here for signs and how to combat it.
Take 10 minutes to check tomorrow’s tasks.
Towards the end of your day, take some time to review tomorrow’s tasks. You can reschedule tasks as necessary. When you get to work the next day, you’ll have a clear idea of what needs to be done.
Have a cut-off time.
Choose a specific time each day when you are off the clock. At this time, you’ll stop working and stop thinking about work for the day. Instead, you can focus on yourself and what you want or need to do.
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