Home Lifestyle How can I work more productively?

How can I work more productively?

by Alessio Bianchi
3rd Sep 19 7:55 am

If you want to improve your productivity, you may be frustrated by interruptions, distractions and the challenges of organising your day. But you can make yourself more productive by using a few powerful organisational tools.

The key to being more productive is to be organised, but you can’t just wave a magic wand to achieve this. By thinking carefully about how you approach tasks and distractions you can be more effective than you ever thought possible.

The 2-minute rule really boosts productivity

If you have a busy to-do list then the 2-minute rule can really help when used properly. The idea is that while you are getting yourself organised for the day you may identify a task which will take less than two minutes to complete.

Do that task immediately so it won’t get in the way of the bigger tasks later.

But it is important to only use the two-minute rule while you are processing and preparing, not while you’re working. If you try to use it while you work then you can find yourself pursuing an endless string of small jobs as they pop into your head. Jot those down and prioritise.

Do tasks in batches to work more productively

You can make some serious inroads into your to-do list by avoiding the temptation to break tasks up and spread them over a day or week. Instead, try doing your work in batches. This means setting aside a chunk of time and doing a series of tasks back-to-back or one task in one go.

By doing this you can prevent your day becoming fragmented, as the “blitz” approach means you can throw all your effort into one task at a time.

One example of this approach is to schedule several meetings one after the other, so you can the focus your energy for the rest of the day on other tasks without interruption.

Prioritise your most important tasks

To really get on top of your workflow, you have to know what you need to get done. Prioritising reduces the risk of distraction, and one approach to setting your priorities is to make a short list of your “crucial results”.

This list should only be two or three items long and gives you a focus for the day. You can use paper, a spreadsheet or a mobile phone notepad, whatever works best for you. That list guides your whole day.

Eat healthily to power your work day

One way to give yourself a big leg up when it comes to productivity is to ensure you are well fuelled. Your brain uses about 20 percent of your body’s total energy, so you only have to skip one meal or be a little short of sleep to feel the effect when it comes to mental tasks such as concentration, memory and creativity.

Eat a healthy breakfast, with plenty of carbohydrates and fibre, and keep lunch light. Your body needs energy just to digest food, which is why processing a heavy lunch can make you feel sleepy in the afternoon.

Exercise boosts your ability to work productively

When you’re facing a busy day of work it may seem wasteful to try to fit in exercise as well, but there are lots of upsides. Even just a short run or workout can prompt your body to produce a range of hormones which are incredibly useful for mental work.

There have been numerous studies which show regular exercise improves memory and cognition. For example, Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise appears to encourage growth of the part of your brain involved in verbal memory and learning.

Review your work environment

Whether you work in an office or at home, check your desk, chair and screen height. If you have your own office, is the door kept open or closed? By addressing small elements like this you can improve productivity by making yourself more comfortable.

If your workplace offers the opportunity to work remotely, then you may benefit by getting away from the office. As useful as it is to have colleagues nearby for their support and energy, you may get more done at home without the distraction.

Reward yourself as motivation when working

You can give yourself a real boost on a busy, demanding day by rewarding yourself occasionally. It can be anything you feel excited or pleased about, from a stroll to a café to five minutes spent booking your next holiday.

Our brains are wired to respond to rewards, which is why the best video games are so addictive: they offer a constant stream of rewards from levelling up to new equipment and abilities. You can use this by creating a rewards system of your own.

When you achieve something on your to-do list you can accompany it with a reward that makes your brain produce happy hormones. This encourages you to get to the next goal.

The power of routine: Do recurring tasks at the same time

Routine can sound dull, but you can use it to really improve your productivity. This is because established routines reduce the need to make decisions and make prevarication less likely.

Time-intensive activities like thinking about what to do next are eliminated, so you can just get on and do it.

A great example of this is setting aside a time at the start of the day to go through your email inbox. You can apply the two-minute rule to emails needing deletion or a quick reply, while flagging others for greater thought or action later, and then get on with your day.

Even in a busy job you can exercise some control over how you plan your work and respond to unexpected events. By using some of these tips you can become more productive and, hopefully, happier in what you do and how you do it.

Alessio Bianchi is a lifestyle blogger who is passionate about living his best life and helping others to do the same. Read more at his blog  https://www.alessiobianchi.co.uk/

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