There’s a definite difference between being busy and being productive. Some people are busy all of the time, but they aren’t very productive with their work. Then there are the people who can get a ridiculous amount of work done every day with a consistent, high quality. The difference is organization. You can be productive and busy by taking these six methods into consideration as you structure your day.
#1. Give yourself daily deadlines. If you set timers for yourself throughout your day, then you’ll be able to track the levels of productivity that you’ve been able to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be a tangible system. If you keep track of work levels in your head per hour, that’s just as good sometimes as having deadlines put into your calendars.
#2. Keep a daily checklist. If you keep forgetting to get something done on a daily basis, then it really does become difficult to achieve your full attention. A daily checklist should have all the chores that need to be done during the day, but also include weekly and monthly tasks on it as well. This will allow you to prioritize your day and increase the amount of work you get done because there is less task switching.
#3. Eliminate all of the distractions. You don’t have to answer every email or text message when it comes in. You don’t need to update your Facebook status this instant. If you have to stop every few minutes because you’re switching tasks, then you could find yourself falling far behind because communication, not work completion, has become your highest priority.
#4. Keep track of your most creative ideas. There are some amazing ideas that have transformed the world that seem so simple, we wonder why we couldn’t have thought of them. Maybe you already have. If you keep track of your ideas that you can’t turn into projects right now, then maybe you can use them later in the future. Ideas that don’t get written down will be ideas that are lost. Your memory is not generally as reliable as you think it would be.
#5. Mentorship is a key component of productivity. The people who train you and encourage you have a surprising amount of influence in how you work. People are a lot like sponges. They soak up bits and pieces of the people around them to make a unique identity. If you have mentors who are encouraging bad habits like always checking email or wandering around the office with coffee in hand, then you’ll be less productive than you could be.
#6. Emotions will stab you in the back. Your feelings are important, but feelings that fester create an environment that emphasizes a lack of productivity. If you’re frustrated about something, then take 2 minutes to cope and then come back to a project. If you’re tired and feel like procrastinating, then take a deep breath, give yourself a minute or two of attention, and then knuckle down to get the job done. Barely keeping your head above water with work is no way to survive.
Being productive on a consistent basis at work takes some effort, but it is a habit that will eventually pay off in many different ways. Incorporate these ideas into your daily routine and you might just be amazed at how efficient you can really be.