For many of us, productivity in work or school is a constant battle. Working from home highlighted the struggle of getting motivated to accomplish a day of work with the temptations of turning to our phones or binge watching tv shows at the same time. Many workplaces like Twitter and Google are embracing the work from home setting while others are introducing a hybrid work model or returning to fully in-person employment. No matter what format you are working under now, these tips and tricks will help you increase your productivity.
Utilize and Organization System
Organization is the foundation to a productive work environment. Planning out your week, month, or quarter and easy accessibility to your files and work portals is key. Using the tools in front of you like the Google Drive or Microsoft Suite system to coordinate your content in one location in your workplace is critical. Other hybrid database-organization systems like Notion give freelancers, small businesses, and students a more creative customizable system. Similarly, a good old-fashioned paper planner with color pens and highlighters does wonders for planning out your week. Regardless of what method works for your, color coordination within these systems do wonders to draw distinction between projects and meetings.
Overview Your Week
Having a planner is just the first step. Knowing how to use it properly is crucial. Before each week read through your calendar and pinpoint any deadlines, meetings, or social events you scheduled for the week. This will make sure no plans or deadlines sneak up on you and will reduce the stress and anxiety of feeling like you are forgetting to do something.
Set Goals for Each Week
At the beginning of each week set goals for yourself! These goals can be big or small, professional or personal, but use them to motivate you throughout the week. A goal can be as simple as going for a walk every day or motivation to finish a project days before the deadline. It is also important to set self-imposed deadlines as part of these goals to keep you from procrastinating throughout the week. Don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving your goals since goals are meant to be celebrated!
Recognize Signs of Burnout
Burnout is the downfall to productivity and recognizing your signs of burnout is crucial to a more effective work environment. For some burnout is a lull in creativity, reading but not processing what you just read, or an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. Whatever it may be in you it is important to know your signs since you cannot be productive if you are overworked. If you are feeling burned out don’t be afraid to take a short mental break to help collect yourself so you can get back to work refreshed. Similarly, knowing your limits when it comes to burn out is key. If you are already feeling stressed or overwhelmed don’t be afraid to say no or ask for help if you have taken on more than you can handle.
Designate YOU Time
With many of us still working from home the line between work time and personal time is now hazy. Designate a work cut-off time for yourself so your work day does not creep into the evening hours. For example, if your workday is typically 9-5, stop work at 5:00PM. If you have the opportunity to work freelance and on your own time, make sure you schedule these breaks and hard end times into your day. When you are in your free time or breaks try to spend some time away from your phone and computer. Staying active in these breaks will help mentally recharge you. Use these opportunities to exercise, walk the dog, or spend time with family and friends. Reward yourself with whatever self-care or personal time activity brings you the most joy!
Have a Designated Work and Personal Space
As I have mentioned earlier the lines between work and personal life have become blurred with increased stay-at-home work. Ironically, working where you love to relax is a detriment to productivity! If you are continuing to work from home continue to define work boundaries by creating a designated workspace. Many of us have worked from our bed or couch for its comfort but this is causing more harm to the quality of our work. Studies have found working or studying from bed or your bedroom reduces productivity, limits focus, and harms sleep. Your brain is your most powerful tool when it comes to being productive. Location associations can either hinder or enhance your productivity so it is crucial to use defined spaces so neither your work nor personal time are affected. If you continue to struggle to create a defined location in your own home go to a local coffee shop, library, or other suitable locations to get your work done.