Whether you are Mark Zuckerberg or you’re just starting out in your first job, we all are bounded by the fact that there are only so many hours in a day.
At times, you may even find yourself getting overwhelmed by the number of tasks and feel stuck at the same spot. It can be a daunting prospect when you approach it just by putting in more hours.
The good news is there are ways of getting things done without burning extra hours. Essentially, your output is determined by how well you invest in your input, not by the quantity. And it starts with making small changes to your current habits.
So if you value your time and want to fully maximize it, here are 10 useful guidelines to help you regain control of your productivity level at the workplace.
1. Get seven hours of sleep the night before
You probably heard this classic health advice many times before. Lack of sleep will indefinitely disrupt your workday regardless of your age or endurance level. And after a prolonged period of late nights, burnout is sure to occur. Several sleep studies have found that seven hours is the minimal amount of sleep to stay focused the next day.
2. Say goodbye to multi-tasking
Humans can only process a certain amount of information at one time that is why, for example, we are not able to listen and understand two people talking to us at the time. The same can be said for handling multiple tasks at one go. Multi-tasking compromises the quality of work, and if possible, focus on completing one task at a time before moving on to the next.
3. Plan a realistic to-do list
We all want to impress, don’t we? But is it reasonable to assume that you’ll get everything done within the timeframe that you said you would? If you fail to make deadlines, you’ll start feeling discouraged and lose momentum. This causes unnecessary stress when you tend to over-promise and under-deliver.
4. Take intermittent breaks
We’re not suggesting skive but the brain can only take so much. Take a couple of minutes to clear your mind, especially when you are working on an important task that takes more time to complete. Studies have found that people who work in intervals of 90 minutes are more productive than those who overstretch.
5. Hit the gym at least once a week
If you are a fitness junkie, you understand that there are more benefits to just weight loss. Not only will you stay in shape, a regular exercise routine also helps to sharpen your awareness, prevent illness and improves overall state of mind, making work stress easier to manage.
6. Clean up your workspace
No matter how efficient you think you are, a messy desk won’t do you any favors. We subconsciously react to what we see, hear or experience in our daily lives. By allowing your desk to be in an unpleasant state, you send a signal to your brain saying that it is perfectly normal to be disorganized. You’ll be amazed how easier it is to get things done when you have a clean, organized environment to work in.
7. Turn off push notifications
Schedule time to check and respond to your personal messages on your smartphone. Keeping to your priorities at the workplace is easier said than done. But consider this. If it were a real emergency, wouldn’t you receive a call instead?
8. Make the most out of meetings
Most people find themselves in a lot of meetings, leaving them with little time to focus on their tasks. While meetings are often unavoidable, it’s better to prepare for each meeting with proper time keeping, agenda, and talking points. There’s also some evidence to suggest that standing meetings helps to increase productivity by improving group participation.
9. Review daily progress
Set specific milestones or bit-sized goals especially if you are working on a task that requires you to invest more energy and time. Checking on your progress at the end of each day helps you keep track of shortfalls, allows time for adjustments, and instills a sense of accountability plus achievement.