Every once in a while I like to reach out to you guys via the blog, social media, or email and just find out what you’ve been struggling with lately and what I can help you with. And I get the same answer. Every. Single. Time. You guys want to know how to manage your time and increase productivity at work and at home.
I totally get it, because it’s something I struggle with as well (I think we ALL do). But I have spent a TON of time figuring out how to increase productivity in all parts of my life. In this post, I’m sharing with you all some surefire ways to boost your workday productivity!
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Keep Your Workspace Organized
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a little stressed out by clutter. And when I’m stressed out, I’m going to have a hard time focusing on my work and being super productive. I learned pretty quickly from having a sometimes chaotic day job that if I’m going to be at my most productive, my desk needs to be clear. Or at least organized.
Sure, not everyone is stressed out by clutter like me. Some people can focus just fine surrounded by clutter. But you also end up losing time in the long run, because it takes longer to find things and you have to navigate through ALL the stuff to get to anything.
I like to take a little time each week (it’s seriously only like 5 on Friday afternoon) to make sure my workspace is organized and that any papers I don’t need have been disposed of. That way I know it won’t bother me the rest of the week!
Also, keeping an organized workspace these days doesn’t just mean your desk. Since a LOT of what we do is on computers now, our digital workspaces can get pretty cluttered too. So many sure you’re keeping that digital space organized!
Eat the Frog
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of “eating the frog”, which is a concept Brian Tracy talks about in his book Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. Basically, the book teaches you how to organize your entire day to be most productive, and for those as nerdy about planning as I am, you’re going to want to check it out.
Okay, but what does this mean? Well, Mark Twain supposedly once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the day.
And how does this translate to productivity? It means you should get the worst task out of the way first because then nothing the rest of the day will be quite as bad! That worst task is going to be different for everyone, but we can all understand that feeling of a weight being lifted when we get it done!
When it comes to running a blog and online business, there are SO many random little tasks to get done. There’s the actual writing of the blog posts, along with creating the graphics and scheduling promotion of the post on social media. Then there are the administrative tasks like business finances and website maintenance. Then there are all the things that need to get done for my Etsy shop like designing new products and filling orders.
Basically, there’s a LOT to do.
One thing I’ve implemented that has helped me to increase productivity in a huge way is to batch tasks. So basically, I time block my work week and each block is filled with a different type of tasks. So I sit down and schedule all of my social media promotion at once. Or I sit down and design all of my new Etsy products at once. Or I create graphics for a bunch of blog posts at once. You get the idea.
When you’re batching tasks like this, you aren’t shifting from task to task, meaning you aren’t losing the time you normally would jumping around and having to refocus.
I find that I spend a LOT less time on each task when I do it like this. Plus when it comes to scheduling social media promotion, for example, I sit down and tackle it ONCE and then I’m done for an entire week, rather than having to hop on every day and post on social media.
In my example, I’m obviously using my online business, but you can definitely translate this strategy into any type of work!
Close Your Email
Raise your hand if you spend way too much time in your inbox during the day.
Okay, so now that everyone has raised their hands, let’s talk about how to fix it.
I used to spend WAY too much time in my inbox. Full disclosure, I still spend too much time in my inbox, but a LOT less than I used to. I used to have email notifications on my phone, meaning I’d get a ding with each new email. I would also keep my inbox open whenever I was on my computer, whether it be at work or at home. And honestly, it just got to be way too much.
The first thing I did was turn off the email notifications on my phone. Those HAD to go. And I definitely notice myself checking my email way less without that number bubble to tell me how many emails are waiting for me.
I also stopped keeping my inbox open all the time, especially when I’m trying to focus on a task. I found that my brain would instantly jump over to email when I saw a new email come in. Now that I don’t have my inbox open at all times, I get to control when email takes over my focus.
I still spend more time in my inbox than I would like to, but the changes I’ve made have definitely made a difference!
If I’m being honest, I spent MOST of my life thinking being able to multitask was something to strive for, and that it would make me way more productive. Boy was I wrong!
Turns out, multitasking is NOT productive. Our brains just can’t give 100% to more than one thing at once, meaning if you’re working on more than one thing at a time, you’re half-assing everything.
Sure, there are times where multi-tasking work (folding laundry while watching your favorite show). But multitasking on two different things that need your focus just isn’t happening.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t just sit down and focus for nine hours at a time. It would be really freaking nice if I could because I would get SO much done, but that’s just not happening.
When you’re staring at your computer screen trying to get shit done for too many hours in a row, your productivity is definitely going to start to wane. Start scheduling some breaks into your day to make sure you’re giving your brain a break and coming back to your task feeling refreshed and energized. If you’re batching your work, just scheduling in a break after each time block!
You could also try using the Pomodoro Technique, which calls for 25 minutes of super-focused work followed by a break, and then you repeat that over and over again.
Are you doing any of these tricks now? Implement all 6 and I guarantee you’ll be able to increase productivity at work!