Have you ever caught yourself staring aimlessly at your computer screen at work? Do you ever think that you’re not achieving much but others are getting things done? Well, we’ve all been there, and we can all improve productivity!
There’s no definite explanation for why we experience unproductive episodes. Perhaps we’re burnt out after days and weeks of continued hard work. A state of being unproductive is just our brain’s way of telling us to take a break. Perhaps the things we’re working on don’t excite or inspire us enough to give us the motivation we need to complete tasks. If not, maybe we’re just distracted by other things. Whatever the reason, rest assured that every problem has a solution, and in the case of being unproductive, there are many!
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1. Identify and Avoid Distractions
One of the core factors affecting productivity is being distracted. Research shows that every time we’re distracted, it takes us approximately 25 minutes to get back to the task at hand. In fact, we waste around 60 hours a month at work purely being distracted. Imagine all the things we can do with that time! If you ask me, it’s more than enough to come up with a career-defining brilliant idea that could improve our productivity.
Lost time can never be recovered. More often than not, the time we spend being distracted never bears fruit. This is why we should try and avoid distractions whenever possible. If the constant buzzing on your phone distracts you, turn on silent mode and turn off notifications. If you chit-chat with your co-workers more than you should about matters that are not work-related, tell your co-workers to let you know when they feel you’re straying from work. While we can’t control the occurrence of distractions in our everyday lives, we can control how we react to them.
2. Prioritize Tasks on Your To-Do List
When we have too many things to do, we may not know what to focus on and this can make us feel overwhelmed. When this happens, we may feel stuck and demotivated, which ultimately affects our productivity levels.
One way to combat this is to have a look at our to-do list every morning and prioritize our tasks. We should assess the value of each task and identify important ones that require significant effort and those that have fast-approaching deadlines and list them in order of importance. This way, we’ll have a clear focus and won’t feel as pressured as when we don’t prioritize.
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3. Minimize the Duration of Meetings to 30 Minutes
Personal experience and extensive research on the human mind tells us that our attention span is more or less 15 minutes. However, most corporate meetings last an hour or longer, which is counter-productive considering the fact that we’re only able to focus for a quarter of this time.
Our productivity improves when meetings last 30 minutes or less. If everyone’s aware of the time constraint, members will come to the meeting fully prepared on the topics they want to discuss. This eliminates any buffer time needed for thinking on the spot. Stand-up meetings, which are meetings without chairs, can help. Since standing for too long is uncomfortable, members discuss agendas quickly and efficiently.
4. Find Something that Boosts Your Energy and Do More of It!
Maybe a song from your favorite artist moves you, a favorite quote inspires you, or maybe a snack puts you in a good mood. Whatever your energy boosters are, identify them and stock them in your playlist on your phone, your vision board in your room, or your snack drawer. This will help you to find an energy boost easily!
Personally, one of the things I do is reread inspirational words from people I connect with. It works for me every time as it helps me remind myself of my priorities and their level of importance to me.
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5. Work Hard, Play Harder
The original saying goes “Work hard. Play hard”. However, we still sometimes feel stressed after work or on weekends. We’re never really off-duty.
It’s important that we enjoy our time off to the fullest without pressuring ourselves with work-related matters. We should ‘play harder’ and do activities that make us happy. Whatever we do to relax, we should enjoy the experience to the fullest. This promotes a healthy work-life balance and relieves us of our stresses. As a result, we’ll be more productive when we get back to work.
As you follow these tips and tricks, remember to ask, “Is this important and interesting to me?”. If your answer is anything other than a resounding “yes”, then no hacks will make you productive if you dislike what you do. It’s time for you to explore the endless possibilities there are and find your true passion.
About Andres Pira – philanthropist, real estate tycoon, author, speaker, and global citizen. Andres Pira enjoys living in Thailand where his journey began from Homeless to Billionaire.
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