Getting enough out of your workday is an ongoing challenge. You may find yourself struggling to pay attention or wondering how you’re ever going to take care of all of those tasks on your plate. All the time management strategies in the world can leave you wondering if you’re ever going to actually manage to keep up. If you want to maintain and improve productivity at work, try some of these key strategies.
Strategy #1: Knock Out the Tough Tasks First
While no single schedule is the right choice for anyone, there are several benefits to taking on the biggest challenges in your day as early as possible. First, you’re more likely to have high energy levels in the morning, before your day becomes a bigger struggle. Second, taking care of those big tasks on your list will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will help propel you forward, making it easier to take care of those smaller pieces of the puzzle. If you’re struggling to find the motivation for a task that you don’t want to do, dive in and get started! Break it down into manageable pieces, then slowly start to work on them. That feeling of accomplishment might just drive you to excel.
Strategy #2: Tackle Small Tasks Immediately
Yes, you need to take care of those tough tasks as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should leave a huge list of little tasks sitting on your desk all day. If you know you can take care of a simple task in just a few minutes, go ahead and knock it out immediately. This will remove it from your To Do list and probably ultimately decrease the amount of time you’ll spend on that particular task since you no longer have to think about it (or even expend the energy to add it to your list). Knocking out simple tasks can also increase your feeling of accomplishment, which will increase the odds that you’ll get to work in other areas of your work day.
Strategy #3: Set Smaller Goals
Big goals can be daunting. While it’s important to have those big-picture goals, especially as they pertain to your work day, give yourself permission to set smaller, more manageable goals. The success high will push you forward to bigger things, and knowing that you’re working toward those goals will make it easier to accomplish the tasks on your desk every day that you dread the most.
Strategy #4: Know Your Break Schedule
How long can you work on a specific task before your brain starts to fry and it becomes difficult to focus, impossible to concentrate, and hard to do even the simplest things? Know your internal break schedule: the time when you simply need to break away from your work for a little while. Consider setting a timer to allow yourself ten minutes of chatting with a colleague or time for a walk around the office. These little brain breaks can actually increase and improve productivity and make you better ready to dive back in! On the other hand, don’t force yourself to take a break if you’re in the middle of a productive streak with an important task. Instead, move that break to the moment when you start to feel tired, overwhelmed, or unfocused.
Strategy #5: Create a Productive Office Setting
What does it take for you to create a productive setting in your personal office? For many people, that’s a highly organized system with exactly the right filing system, technology, and other advantages. For others, it’s a darker, more peaceful environment where harsh lights and frequent interruptions don’t interfere with their ability to function at peak efficiency. Whatever the perfect office setting looks like for you, do your best to create it! Whether you have an entire office to yourself or you’re working with a smaller setting, like your desk, a few small changes can substantially increase your ability to remain productive throughout the day.
Productivity is an ongoing challenge for many office workers–but it doesn’t have to be your biggest one. By following some of these simple strategies, you can significantly improve productivity and make it easier for you to meet your daily office goals.