Everyone wants to be more efficient. Think about it – you spend less time on those daunting tasks and more time on the work you enjoy. Sometimes it’s not that easy; maybe you just got back from vacation, simply have too much to do or you are day-dreaming about your post-work plans.
No matter the reason, here are five tips for overcoming distractions and increasing your productivity.
1. Know Your Best Time of Day
Whether you’re a morning person, night person or, if you’re lucky, an all-day person, it’s important to take advantage of when you’re the most alert and ready to tackle the day. I hit a rough afternoon slump, so I get into work at 7:30 a.m. and ‘work it out’ before the slump hits because that’s how I can be the most efficient with my day. Maybe you work best right after lunch or after-hours when the others have called it a day? Listen to your body and focus during that time and you’ll be able to do some damage to your to-do list.
2. Plan Your Work
There might be 15+ things on your list, but take a step back and think about which tasks you need to realistically achieve in the day. Take into account things like:
– Due dates
– Access to necessary tools/people
– How long it will take
– If anyone is counting on you to get it done so that they can do their part on the project
Once you have a handle on those items, you’ll know your top initiatives for the day. So, focus on those tasks, and don’t stray from the plan!
3. Get in the Groove
Literally, get groovy. Put on some music that helps you focus, but doesn’t make you want to sing from the mountaintops. Something with a repetitive beat and calming lyrics is best, but that can mean different things to different people. Your ‘focus jams’ can also change daily based on your mood, so don’t put on the acoustic playlist and hope for the best because sometimes you really need some ACDC to get going. Find your beat, and let it play softly in the background while you work. In my experience, this helps dissuade wandering thoughts and small office distractions.
4. Tidy Up
Your desk doesn’t need to be spotless, but keeping it organized is a simple way to increase efficiency. If you have piles of paper all around you, pens strewn about and discarded coffee cups on the edges, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the clutter. Tidying up your space and organizing things in file folders, small piles, etc. … can refresh the area instantly causing your mood to lift along with your productivity.
5. Take a Break
Everyone needs a breather every now and again. It keeps you happy and can even help you focus better when you hit a roadblock with your work. Get up and go for a walk, talk to a co-worker, read a Buzzfeed article – anything that helps you relax and get your brain thinking about something besides work. A break can increase work productivity, keep you from becoming mentally stagnant and can serve as creative fuel. Taking a step back allows you to see things from a new perspective and, on a simpler note, encourages comradery and collaboration in the office.
So, there you have it, my five best tips for office efficiency. Not included in this list: vats of coffee to get you going, and keep you going.