When it comes to productivity, we all know it has its ebbs and flows. Energy, focus and stress all impact our ability to stay on task and the efficiency in which we perform those tasks. But as someone who places great value on her personal time, my goal is to continually work smarter, not harder, in order to achieve my tasks as well and as efficiently as possible. With that being said, below are some basic tips to boost productivity without adding time:
Anyone involved in agency life knows work is fast-paced with multiple clients, projects and everyday tasks to juggle. The key to staying on top of things without feeling overwhelmed is to get organized. Set aside time every day for planning and prioritizing. I start every morning creating a to-do list, starring the tasks that absolutely need to get done and noting deadlines for others. Additionally, studies show it’s best to do important tasks in the morning when your brain is freshest and to save the afternoon for less focus-intensive activities. If you find you’re more productive at certain times of the day than others, work with your natural rhythm to schedule the most important tasks at that time.
Forget the Multi-Tasking
Studies show time and time again productivity goes down the more things you attempt to do at once. Instead, give your undivided attention to one task at a time. This means no checking email, no Facebook, no texting and no chatting with co-workers. The key is immersion, not distraction. When tasks build up, make a list, prioritize and block off specific time for each individually. And as for email/social time? You can schedule that in too. Allowing your brain to fully rest during short breaks will increase your focus while working.
Nothing zaps productivity faster than feeling lethargic. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime not only boosts physical energy but also your mood and focus. Personally, I try to avoid carbs at lunch to avoid crashing and eat light meals/snacks throughout the day to maintain a consistent blood sugar and energy level. Drinking plenty of water keeps your body working at its optimum level and also increases energy (just try drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day for a week, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel). Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle strengthens your immune system, and I’m sure we’d all prefer to use our PTO on vacation instead of sick in bed. I maintain a regular yoga practice and haven’t had a cold in nearly two years!
The ancient practice of meditation has benefitted humankind for thousands of years and science has proven regular meditation improves concentration, decreases stress, increases compassion and helps the healing process. Basic meditation involves closing your eyes, sitting quietly and concentrating on the movements of your breath. When thoughts enter your mind simply acknowledge them, release them and go back to focusing on the breath. Online tutorials and local meditation centers are also great resources to learn how to meditate. Studies have shown meditating regularly for as little as eight weeks can have drastic improvements on health and happiness. There’s a reason many of the world’s top CEOs incorporate it in to their daily routines. Try it and experience its benefits first hand both professionally and personally!