Have you ever had a friend who just seems to have it all? Her outfits always look pulled together, she’s dominating at work, and she’s always got time for friends, family, and socializing? Meanwhile, you’re sitting here under a mountain of unfinished work with unwashed hair and chipped nails, sending a happy belated birthday email to your mom. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Figuring out how to accomplish everything that comes up in a day is difficult to master, but there are a few tricks that help solve this problem instantly. Adopt these six simple habits and get ready to immediately have a much more productive day.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
One staple of being productive is keeping lists, but you can take that to the next level by prioritizing and organizing your daily to-do’s. Group the tasks that are small and take up short amounts of time together, and knock them out in one window of time. Schedule out longer blocks of time for longer projects, and work through them focusing on one thing at a time. Side note: as much as you may think you’re a multitasker, you’re not. That’s really just your brain hopping rapidly from one task to another, which is actually as mentally exhausting as it sounds. Focus on one thing at a time, and not only will you get more accomplished, but your brain will also be less tired!
Turn Off Your Notifications
You do not need to check Instagram every single time someone Likes something, and you do not need to peruse Gilt every time there’s a flash sale. The time it takes to check these little notifications adds up over the course of a day, especially if you’ve got multiple platforms to play with. It is also a huge distraction; you think you are just checking a quick message, and all of a sudden you’re in a social media vortex browsing pictures of your ex-boyfriend’s roommate’s sister’s dog.
During the day, your brain is constantly bouncing around– thinking of new ideas, remembering errands, working on current projects, and digesting media. Try doing a brain dump in a notebook where you write down all your thoughts, ideas, and errands that come to mind. Focus on getting them on paper so that you don’t have to constantly worry about remembering, which can distract you from your current task at hand. Once they are written down, you can forget about them and connect the dots later.
Accomplishing tasks at work takes a lot of mental effort, and your brain is wired to only focus for a limited amount of time. It is important to take breaks now and again to let your brain rest and recharge. Socialize, take a short walk, or grab a cup of tea so that you can sit down for the next task with fresh energy.
Shrink Your Time Limits
If you estimate that something is going to take you an hour to accomplish, try limiting it to 40 minutes. If you shrink your personal deadline, you’ll work faster and be more focused. Bonus: You’ll have extra minutes every hour to take those mental breaks.
Schedule Personal Time
Scheduling meetings and projects are common in your personal calendar, but try to schedule personal time as well. Block out 30 minutes twice a day where you stop what you’re doing and focus on some personal time. It can be time to be creative, to work out, or to think about the big picture at work. Whatever you need, it gives your brain time to refocus, which leads to greater productivity.