Have you ever had one of those days where you sit down in front of your computer at work and suddenly it’s lunch time and you’ve barely gotten through all your emails? Or when you get home and sit down for “just a moment” to relax and suddenly it’s time for dinner? I feel like we all have these dilemmas that make us feel unproductive.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. Today I will give you 5 easy things you can do to instantly boost your productivity at work or at home. Let’s jump in:
Whether you are sitting at a desk at work or sitting on the couch at home, you need to get up. It has been proven that people who exercise on a daily basis are more productive than those who don’t. So take a walk around the block, go to the gym during lunch, or even just take a lap around the office. The important thing is to get your body moving in order to kickstart the rest of you.
It is easy to waste your morning on mundane tasks, but if you decide to focus on your hardest task of the day first, you are more likely to complete it (and everything else on your list) sooner.
When you feel like you’re hitting a wall, stop! Taking breaks is actually a good thing. Someone who takes short breaks throughout the day will be far more productive than someone who stays chained to their desk. Sometimes your brain needs a break in order to find out a new way to do something, so do your brain a favor and take it.
At this point, we have all been told that multitasking is actually less productive than focusing on one thing at a time and yet, for some reason, we keep multitasking. Make an effort to focus on at least your main tasks on a one-by-one basis.
Making something routine is a great way to boost productivity. You can make it part of a routine to take breaks, stop multitasking, or even focusing on hard projects first. When it comes to my personal routines, I have a secret weapon and today I am going to share it with you!
My secret weapon is an app called Fabulous. This app helps you turn anything into a routine. From making your bed each morning to blocking out distractions at work, Fabulous can help (and the best part is that it’s entirely free)!
For example, I have a set of 7 “habits” that I complete each morning. The app starts with an alarm at a certain time each morning. That’s when you start your “habits”. There is a timer for each habit and once the habit is complete you click a big, satisfying button. Once you have made it through your routine the app congratulates you and you continue with the rest of your day. Try it for a few days and you will see just how productive (and fabulous) you can become!
When I answer emails while on a conference call while having lunch, I get more done in less time, right?
As soon as I move attention from the conference call to the email, I will miss something important. Or I will hear my name following a question – and I will have missed the question. All while consuming my food without noticing the tastes, flavors and eating way more than I need. (Side note: we eat more when we eat mindlessly without paying attention to our food).
When I am multitasking, I am not actually doing more than one thing at a time. I am diverting my attention between several tasks, therefore not fully focusing on anything, getting distracted from all, and needing more time to do everything.
According to MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller, our brains are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”
Switching between several tasks wastes time and productivity, because our time and attention are used for the activity of switching gears. In addition, we don’t experience being fully “in the zone” and the amplified results it can bring.
A UCSF study found that multitasking negatively affects short-term, or “working,” memory, which is the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind for a period of time. That, in turn, affects our creativity.
Switching from task to task while multitasking does not save time. It actually takes more time. In fact, it reduces productivity by as much as 40% and increases the likelihood of errors.
If you are multitasking between two different things, it will take more time to accomplish both than if you did them one at a time.
All in all, multitasking is a bad idea… unless you are interested in increasing your errors and reducing productivity and creative thinking.