We have all been in a situation where we find our workday spiralling out of control? You start each day with a plan to get things done, but soon find yourself distracted, focusing on mundane tasks and procrastinating. So what does it mean to take control of your time and be productive?
Productivity is a measure of organisation by a person completing a task. We often tend to assume that productivity means getting more things done. Wrong! Productivity is getting important things done consistently. So no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important. In other words being productive is about maintaining a steady and average speed on a few things rather than maximum speed on everything.
How can we use a few simple steps in our day-to-day lives to plan out a productive workday.
Make small additions. It is impossible to change years of working habits overnight. Having said that we can start with small changes and gradually move up the ladder. Strategise what works best for you.
Take Ownership. Be it weekly meetings with co-workers or setting your own deadlines. If you have to answer to someone higher up force yourself to get the job done.
You are only human. Accept that you are going to slip up at some point. It is better to stop dwelling on your own mistakes, and move forward.
Some of us wear many hats at our jobs here in Malaysia. While this can be overwhelming, the question you need to ask yourself is what to prioritise.
If you are a Multitaskers and you end up juggling three things at the same time, chances are you are accomplishing very little. For instance, if you’re talking over the phone while typing an email and updating your company’s social media, you may think you’re being productive, but you’re not getting any of those tasks done efficiently.
We all have a limited amount of cognitive bandwidth — the number of thoughts and memories we can hold in our minds at any given time. Yet, we often think that we have the capacity, when in reality it’s very difficult to handle multiple thoughts when you are going back and forth between tasks. Your ability to get things done depends on how well you can focus on one task at a time. Multitasking can cause you to make more errors and be less creative.
Getting an important task done and done well involves concentration and dedication. Monotask, to the best of your ability, set up a work environment that encourages the performing of one task at a time. It’s probably not realistic to think that we can block off hours at a time for a single task, but even committing to monotask for five minutes can yield productivity benefits. If you’ve set out to write a client brief work on just one screen. Put away your mobile phone and set aside your iPad. Set a timer for five or 10 minutes and commit to focusing on your assignment for that amount of time. Forgive yourself if you get distracted and get back on the task at hand.
There are many ways we can stay focused to be more productive every day.
Manage your energy, not your time. Take a moment to analyse and think about it, you’ll probably realise that you are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. What type of energy do you have in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Assign tasks to maximise which tasks can be handled at that particular time of the day.
Prepare the night before. If you only do one thing each day then spend a few minutes each night organising your to–do list for tomorrow.
Work in a cool place. Have you ever noticed how you feel sluggish in a hot room? Turning the temperature down or moving to a cooler place is an easy way to focus your mind and body.
Short Breaks. Stand up and take a quick walk around the office and you’ll find that you can recharge your body, breathing easier and more fully. Your brain will get more oxygen and you’ll be able to concentrate better.
A pre–game routine. Some people kick off their day with exercise or meditation. Similarly, you should have a sequence that starts your morning ritual. This tiny routine signals to your brain that it’s time to get into work mode.
The talk in the tech world is the four-day work week. Tech start-ups, tech giants like Microsoft, governments and city councils globally are implementing or trialling a four-day work week system. The goal of the four-day work week is to increase worker productivity and mental well-being. But not everyone agrees with this system, of course. Remember we all need to find what works for us as individuals. Go on now, rock that workday productivity!