There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world today. With Twitter, SMS texts, video calls, and plenty of other distractions, it’s understandable that some things don’t get done like you’d intended during the day. Yet some people always seem to come out on top. What are their secrets? What habits do they have that make them consistently productive?
1. Highly Productive People Don’t Multitask
To be a team player, many managers like to hear how you can effectively multitask multiple projects. If you’re switching back and forth between different jobs every 15 minutes, however, you’ve got a recipe for getting nothing done very quickly. Your brain reacts negatively to multiple switches, so highly productive people will focus in on one task, complete it, then start on the next task. The myth that people who multitask is simply not true.
2. Set Realistic Tasks for Yourself
What are the things that you need to get done today? If you’ve got macro-goals listed, then chances are you’re not going to accomplish them whatsoever. Macro-goals, or the completion of a major project, are generally not completed in a work day. Instead, look for micro-goals that you can complete, which are the tiny steps required for the macro-goal to be realized. You’ll feel like you accomplished a lot more in a day if you can accomplish several micro-goals instead of zero macro-goals. Inch by inch, life is a cinch.
3. Schedule Time for Your E-mail
One of the worst distractions there is today is the e-mail. Many people have a work account, a personal account, and a mobile account that will all notify you when you’ve got a new message. Instead of immediately responding to each and every e-mail you receive immediately, set two or three times during the day where you dedicate yourself to answering messages. This will help you be more effective with your answers… and more effective with your other work. Some very successful people actually turn off their email notifications so that they are not constantly being distracted.
4. Don’t Let Your Day be Dictated
If you know that you’ve got specific goals that need to be accomplished, then work on your own terms and get that stuff done! The world won’t end if someone needs to have a request delayed for 24 hours in most circumstances in most jobs. There might always be that emergency situation that demands an immediate response, but for the most part, you can control how people influence you. Ignore the negative, focus on the positive.
5. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Have you ever felt tired after a long meeting? Do you feel hungry after a creative session? Your brain consumes a lot of glucose during the work day and long sessions of output can actually drain you of the ability to create a professional level of work. Every hour or so, get up, grab a snack or something to drink, walk around for a few minutes, and then let yourself get back to work. The short break will help you produce more, with better quality, and that will make everyone happy and you more productive.