Getting More Out of Your Day

multi tasking womanWe live in an increasingly competitive environment, with demands raining from all sides and we’re still expected to perform at top level. If your boss is smart, they’ve already done what they can to boost your productivity, motivating you enough for you to do your best. Still, there are ways that could help you be a great performer at work without risking burnout. Here are ten.

1. Identify your maximum productivity period

No one is constantly productive throughout the day. Some of us are larks, others are owls, and it would save you a lot of unnecessary strain to organize your workload around the periods when you’re in top shape.

2. Take breaks

Overstretching yourself to get a job done is all too likely to compromise the quality of your work, so don’t hesitate to take short breaks when you feel you need them. A five-minute pause can do wonders for your concentration and, ultimately, save you time and effort.

3. Kill distractions

Easier said than done, perhaps, but surely you can dispense with going through your email twenty times a day just to see if there’s something catchy in your subscriptions, or going on Facebook or Twitter to see what’s new. Forget they exist for a while. It will probably take some time to get used to it, but it’s worth it.

4. Get the worst done first

Yes, you’re probably making a face right now, but starting with the most dreaded tasks clears your head and leaves you looking forward to things you enjoy, rather than worrying that you still have that boring report full of numbers to write, for example.

5. Make daily schedules

Common sense, right? When you put things in writing (pen and paper, preferably), they suddenly start looking more organized and more doable, somehow. After you make that schedule, try to follow it as much as possible. You might surprise yourself with how much you get done.

6. Forge out a comfortable routine

Routine is all but considered a dirty word these days but it’s invaluable for productivity, regardless of the type of job. Doing stuff habitually means you don’t have to concentrate so hard on what follows what or wonder if you had done everything that needed doing. If you can, habitualize as much of your work as possible. It’s like driving a car, really.

7. Clean up your desk

Chaos is not conducive to productivity, unless, of course, it’s your very personal sort of organized chaos where you can easily find everything you’re looking for fast. In all other cases, clean up, organize your working space and you’ll find working gets easier and more enjoyable.

8. Keep yourself in check

Take a minute a few times a day to ask yourself if you’re doing things in the most productive way. Maybe you got carried away with a particularly fascinating research you were doing, or maybe you slipped too deep into the routine, spending too much time on something that, thanks to experience, you can do in half that amount.

9. Don’t miss your beauty sleep

Yes, this can be hard when you have a deadline staring you in the face, but it’s essential for being able to keep in optimal shape, productivity included. Sleep deprivation messes with your concentration and general mental processes. If you’ve had at least one 24 hours-plus stretch of no sleep in your life, you’ll easily believe how true that is.

10. Take a deep breath and just get on with it.

Procrastination is a monster demotivator, we all know that. Even though sometimes taking a step back and delaying something could be actually productive, you should know your mark and not make a habit out of it. When it’s time, it’s time. The fastest way to get a job done is by starting.