Do you sometimes find yourself drifting out of focus? Are the endless to-do lists disheartening, because it feels like you’re never quite getting enough done?
Being productive can be difficult, especially in a world that offers so many distractions. From scrolling for hours on your mobile phone, to staying up late watching TV, keeping focused can sometimes feel impossible.
What are the biggest challenges to being productive?
We all know what a productive person looks like. They always finish tasks first, they have their priorities straight, and most importantly, they never seem to waste time.
On the other hand, if you struggle to maintain an efficient routine, it is very likely that you procrastinate a lot. Procrastinating on tasks, whether these are small things on your to-do list or the big assignments looming over you, is one of the most consistent factors affecting your productivity.
Moreover, a lack of interest or passion for a task can make it harder to find the motivation to remain productive, not to mention learning how to juggle multiple tasks at once.
Unproductive people are incapable of prioritising important projects and focusing on those first. This in turn results in a failure to maximise efficiency in the workspace.
Does this sound like you? Then read on to take a look at some great time management tips and productive skills you can learn to make the most of your time.
Five Tips to Boost Your Productivity
Are you looking to learn how to be more productive at work? Or is remote working damaging your efficiency levels? These five tips have you covered:
Sit down and make a to-do list for all the things you need to get done today. You will immediately notice that some tasks are more important than others. These are called MITs: Most Important Tasks. The theory behind this technique is that you should select a few MITs at the start of every working day. The aim, then, is to complete those tasks no matter what.
This will ensure you focus on the most important tasks, and prevent you from procrastinating the harder items on your lists by ticking off the easy stuff and ignoring everything else.
The most productive people are able to discern high-priority tasks, enabling them to maximise not just their efficiency, but their effectiveness during every working day.
2. Learn shortcuts
Are there any tasks that you find yourself having to do over and over again? Learning some shortcuts for these can impact your productivity by saving you precious time to dedicate to other things.
Shortcuts can come in many different formats. This could include simple things, like learning keyboard shortcuts or improving your typing speed. Or this could look like more in-depth techniques, such as creating standard operating procedures for common tasks.
Moreover, you might find that delegating smaller tasks to interns or other employees, where this is appropriate, can save you time dealing with admin and less crucial tasks. If they can be done by someone else, delegating can improve your efficiency and productivity considerably.
3. Always have a backup plan
It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how good your intentions are for a productive day. Sometimes, things just go wrong.
Highly productive people plan for potential crises that might occur in a working week. They acknowledge that tasks often take longer than we think they will, and are good at reacting quickly when things don’t go to plan.
Make sure you leave yourself enough of a window should things go south, and try to think beyond this working week to save yourself from overscheduling your days in the future.
Productive people never leave tasks to the last minute, and this is because they always have a plan - and a backup plan - to help them manage their very busy schedules.
4. Complete one task at a time
This one is fairly self-explanatory. Research has proven time and time again that human beings are bad at multitasking.
By multitasking, you force the different tasks to compete for the limited resources in your brain, slowing you down and tiring you out faster. It also distracts you, making you more likely to leave a task half-finished.
This makes you less efficient, so cutting multitasking out is one of the best habits you can develop to improve your productivity.
5. Look after yourself
You can implement all the techniques in the world: improve your habits, prioritise tasks, delegate items, and countless other strategies. But if you don’t look after yourself, you will never be able to improve your productivity.
Productive people know that recharging is key to success.
Make sure you are eating healthy, exercising regularly, and most importantly, sleeping enough. Otherwise, you will find yourself drifting out of focus and finding it harder to break bad habits.
Download some productivity apps, and continue to research new methods to help you stay focused. Being mindful of how you use your time is a great first step to becoming a productive person.
Which of these techniques are you most excited to implement in your own life?
Becoming more productive isn’t easy, and you won’t develop healthy habits overnight. But a more efficient lifestyle does await you. It’s just a matter of working hard at your dreams and never giving up.
Caroline Winter is a current MA student in Creative Writing, based in London. She has experience working as an editor, translator, and writer on a series of different projects and topics. She is excited to be collaborating alongside The Industry Leaders as a content creator, and can be found on LinkedIn.