Has this ever happened to you? You start the day at your desk full of energy. You’ve got things to do today and you wait to get started. You anticipate a productive day.
However, when you get to the end of the day and look at what you’ve accomplished, most of what you wanted to complete is still undone. You were busy, but you can’t put your finger or what you actually accomplished.
If you’ve “been there and done that”, you recognize the need to be more effective in your productivity. Time is an important commodity, but it’s also the thing we are likely to squander and misuse.
We all start out with the same number of minutes every day. Some make good use of the minutes, others rarely do. What’s the difference?
Here are some tips to maximize your personal and professional productivity. They can also help you experience less stress in general.
- Set the Best Environment. This applies to your physical work area as well as to your mind. It is easier to work in an organized work area than in a cluttered space. In the same way, you will get more done if your mind is focused on what you need to accomplish. A cluttered work space generally reflects a cluttered mind.
- Define Your Goals. You need to know what you expect to accomplish in a day, week, month, etc. Once you have set goals, you can define the steps to reach those goals. Goals can also provide milestones or benchmarks to track your progress.
- Have a Written Plan. As efficient as your brain is, there are limits to your capacity to retain everything in your head, all at once. You need to get everything you have to do out of your head and into a physical system you can track or follow.
- Eliminate Distractions. What’s distracting you at work: instant messages; phone ringing; or text messages popping in? Don’t read every e-mail, as it arrives, or answer the phone every time it rings. Take calls from people you are waiting for, otherwise, use voice mail. Your goal is to have systems in place to ensure that you manage incoming communication within your schedule, rather than letting it manage or even overwhelm your schedule.
- Stop Procrastinating. Starting is often the hardest part of the process, but action trumps procrastination. Plunge right in and do it. Once you get momentum going it’ll actually require less effort to continue.
It’s not how much you do, but how much you get done that is important.