I recently examined my daily schedule to evaluate whether or not the way I work is productive. In the process, I researched productivity and studied some habits of productive people. I learned that I have many of these common habits that can detract from the most productive work periods.
Frequently browsing the internet. Have you ever worked on a project or task, became bored, and browsed the internet instead? I know I have. I catch myself flipping back and forth between website to project to another website. It’s tiring because sometimes I feel I’ve been working for hours, but have accomplished nothing. The reason for that is because checking social networking sites, Youtube, Google, etc., can snap you out of a productive work period. Even if it’s brief, this interruption can make it difficult to get back into the flow of your task. So giving yourself mini “breaks” by firing up firefox is not a good way to keep yourself motivated. It is, however, a perfect interruption to your workflow.
What can you do? Stop yourself from using the internet for certain periods of time. Try setting a time frame, know that you will work on your project for 90 minutes, then give yourself a break afterwards. If you know you can’t keep yourself off the internet, try Freedom, an app for $10 that blocks the internet for a specified period of time. http://macfreedom.com
Constantly checking for phone notifications. It feels like an addiction, and the need to always have my phone within reach, or within eyesight, can end up being a major distraction throughout the day. But I don’t think I am alone on this one. The truth is, checking our phones constantly means giving ourselves about a hundred unearned breaks throughout the day. Although tempting, it’s best to leave your phone in another room, or on mute, where it will not cause a distraction to your work.
Losing track of tasks. I can keep lists that go on for days. The most effective thing about list-making is that they keep you on task, remind you of what needs to get done, and they let you know what you have completed. Every time you cross off a completed task, it is like a reward!
Working to music with lyrics. Music without lyrics, has been proven to help productivity. Lyrics, however, can be distracting while you are trying to read, write, study, etc.
Letting work pile up. I’ll admit I have let this happen, and it can get messy. The result was an enormous amount of work, and only a short amount of time in which to complete it. I felt rushed, stressed, and like my work wasn’t done as well as I would have liked. Instead, give yourself deadlines, and MEET them. Work ahead of schedule when you can, and give yourself the relief that you know you won’t have to worry about it later. Instead of saving things for later, complete your tasks as they are assigned. Don’t say “I’ll do it later when I’ll have more time.” Time is something beyond our ability to manage, it is something over which we have little or no control. Focus on managing your tasks instead. Complete tasks, one by one, and you will see how manageable they can be.
Do you have any tips on staying productive? Please leave comments below!