Procrastination is not a new concept. During your career, it will grab hold of you in some form. Now, we all know the basics. We know that, in order to complete the task at hand, we need to turn our phones/IM off, close the browser and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. We know that; we rarely DO that.
I am the first to admit that I procrastinate. If I’m not careful, I can spend an entire day being very unproductive. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 10 sure-fire productivity boosters, which helps me to get things done.
1) Clear Your Desk/ Workspace
Don’t be fooled by those telling you that there is order in chaos. Clutter can, and will, slow you down considerably. Before you start your day, spend 5 to 10 minutes clearing your desk. Do not exceed the allotted time; organizing a desk could just be another way to procrastinate and put off all the tasks that need your attention.
2) Make a List
And stick to it. List all the tasks you need to complete that day. Once you have compiled your to do list, decide in which order to tackle it and assign priorities.
3) Tackle the Least Pleasant Task First
Your list might be so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start. Don’t despair, tackle the biggest task first. The task you loathe doing. Not only will you get your biggest obstacle out of the way quickly, all the other (smaller) tasks will feel like a walk in the park.
4) Do Not Multitask
Multitasking slows you down. When you divide your attention between multiple tasks, you also cut your productivity in half. Instead of completing ONE task to the best of your ability, you will end up with a mountain of incomplete tasks.
5) Divide Your Tasks Into Chunks
Group specific tasks together, like making phone calls or sending e-mails. I have a notebook dedicated to this: It is divided into three sections. 1. A list of things I need to do. 2. Phone calls to make/e-mails to send. 3. Messages. At set intervals during my day, I’ll put everything else aside and just concentrate on the chunks of tasks.
6) The 2-Minute Rule
While going through your mail and messages, you will undoubtedly find a myriad of small tasks that need your attention. If these tasks can be completed in less than 2 minutes, do them right away. Set a timer if you have to; you’ll be surprised at how many tasks can be completed this way.
7) Set Up Email Filters
This might not be an Instant Booster, but it is easy to set up and saves a lot of time in the long run. Create folders and set certain emails to be delivered to those folders, instead of your priority inbox.
8) Use Headphones
This will definitely help if you work in an open plan office. Use head phones to listen to anything that helps you relax, be it music or soothing nature sounds.
9) Take a Break
Take 15-minute breaks after every 90 minutes of work. This is especially important if you spend the biggest part of your day in front of a monitor. Walk around the block, stroll about and get some fresh air.
10) Set a Timer
Dedicate a set amount of time to a certain task, or for your Two-Minute-Rule-Tasks. During that time, devote all your energy and attention to that specific task. Only when the timer goes off, are you allowed to check your mail, check your IM, etc. Chances are by the time the alarm goes off, you might not even feel the need to stop.
All of these tips have benefited me in the past and can help you to become more productive and successful.
by Cheryl-Anne Roelofsz