Are YOU a procrastinator?
We're all a little bit guilty of losing our focus from time-to-time (your mobile phone creeps out... that group message MUST be discussing something ultra-important right?)
STOP! If you want to be super-successful, then productivity will get you everywhere!
Do you think the likes of Richard Branson and President Obama ever snooze their alarm? Or have a "little scroll" of Facebook during working hours? Probably not.
Whether you're guilty of procrastination, or simply can't seem to get things done, try out the 10 unbearably easy tips on our list this week and watch your output soar!
1. Exercise before work.
Exercise makes your brain better. That's a fact.
Getting up a little earlier and doing your exercise before work, will benefit you in many ways...
- It will (certainly) wake you up!
- It will warm up your brain, ready for your (ultra productive) day at work.
- It will save you some time in the evening to get other important things done.
[caption id="attachment_23663" align="alignright" width="300"] Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]
It also means that you won't spend the entire day, dreading going for that run in the evening and bailing last minute, because the weather is 'too cold' (or too hot). Get it over with.
Of course, this strategy will require a little bit of organisation on your behalf; it's a good idea to pack your bag and lay out your work clothes so that you can jump straight into them when you're finished!
2. Take advantage of your commute.
We know, commuting is really annoying... especially when you've got to deal with terrible fellow commuters like these lot.
But the best way to combat the commuter blues is to use your time wisely; think of each journey as the perfect opportunity to do something productive.
Read a book, learn a new language; whatever helps you to switch off, whilst also getting stuff done.
If you find yourself spending the first couple of hours at work checking (and deleting) emails, then you could save time by doing it on the train!
3. Set aside some quiet time, first thing.
Most people are more productive in the morning (stop trying to kid yourself with that 'I'm not a morning person' malarkey...)
So, a great way to get a lot done, it to set aside about an "hour-of-power" each morning, without any interruptions.
[caption id="attachment_23665" align="alignright" width="300"] Boaz Yiftach at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption] That means...
- No mobile phone.
- No co-workers.
- No social media.
- No food.
- No making a quick brew.
No interruptions of any kind.
You should prepare yourself rigorously for this productivity session (switch your phone off, make yourself a brew first...) and you can let everyone else in the office know what's happening too!
Put up a sign, send around an email, put earphones on, but whatever it takes, do not be disturbed.
You'll be shocked and surprised by how much you can achieve!
4. Set personal targets.
Chances are, you'll already have a set of 'big-picture' targets that you have to reach at work... but setting yourself smaller, personal goals will help you to keep focus and stay motivated.
Recruiter Pro Tip. Make sure that the targets you set for yourself are SMART. S... Specific. M... Measurable. A... Attainable. R... Relevant. T... Time-based. Be fair on yourself. Setting unrealistic goals is not going to get you anywhere!
[caption id="attachment_23666" align="alignright" width="300"] renjith krishnan at at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]
Successful people like world-class sportsmen, business owners and achievers of all kinds set themselves personal goals because it gives them extra motivation and feelings of achievement every day.
If you only look at the big picture, you can easily lose focus, but small deadlines will make you feel great (hopefully you will reach them) and spur you on... whilst always adding to your greater goal.
5. Reward yourself!
[caption id="attachment_23669" align="alignright" width="300"] Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]
Seriously - this does work.
On completion of each little target you set for yourself (within reason) give yourself a little treat to make it worthwhile.
Your reward doesn't have to be a sweet treat... it could be something simple like a 5 minute break to check your phone, a wander across the office to stretch your legs or (goodness forbid) a brief check of your Facebook.
Recruiter Pro Tip. We do advise our clients to allow social media at work, but only during certain hours of the day... (See our blog: Should you ban Social Networks in the workplace?) You see, social media is good for a business in certain ways - it can increase employee happiness and therefore engagement - however, some employees abuse it. If you're one of those employees stop! It's too tempting and you really are wasting hours of your day (and you wonder why you have to work late!)
You'll subconsciously work harder as you look forward to your little treats and feel proud when you complete tasks!
6. STOP multitasking.
[caption id="attachment_23670" align="alignright" width="300"] jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]
Now, that might sound a little counter-intuitive to you... surely you're saving time by doing multiple things at once? False.
If you give one task 100% of your focus, then you're bound to get it done quicker (and better).
If you're doing multiple things, stopping and starting and getting distracted, then you're simply not working efficiently.
"Multitasking splits the brain. It creates something researchers have called "spotlights". So all your brain is doing is to frantically switch between the activity of eating, to writing an email, to answering chat conversations." lifehacker.com
You're definitely not going to do as good a job as you could have done!
7. Take a break.
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Shockingly 2/3 of British workers don't even manage to squeeze 20 minutes for their lunch break! The Telegraph.
But it really IS OK to take a break - in fact, it is actually a good idea to do so! Your brain needs a rest too.
Taking a short break (it could be one of your rewards for completing a task) will stop you from getting bored, help you to retain information and enable you to assess goals more efficiently.
Check out this brilliant article from Buffer to find out the true benefits of taking a break - and how to stop yourself feeling guilty about taking them!
You're really no use to anyone when you're burnt out and overtired!
8. Delegate and ask for help.
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If you're anything like me, then you may have been looking at this list and thinking 'I already have NO time in the day - how the heck do you expect me to implement any of these things!'
But have a think about what you do in a working week...
If you can't take a break without falling behind and you find yourself working horrendous hours, then try delegating simpler tasks to others or asking your boss for help (or to re-assess your workload).
If this doesn't help, perhaps it's time to rethink your career?
Recruiter Pro Tip. Lack of work-life balance is one of the main reasons that people hate their jobs. If you can't get help and you find yourself working around the clock with no support, then it's simply not worth suffering. Think it's time for a career change? We can help you with that!
We all need balance.
9. End the day on a productive note.
[caption id="attachment_23674" align="alignright" width="300"] Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]
Once of the best and most productive ways to end the day is to put together a to-do list and plan of action for the following day.
With that day's completed tasks still freshly on your mind, it'll be easy for you to quickly jot down a starting point and smart target for the following day.
(Much better than faffing around in the morning trying to work out exactly where you're up to.)
You could even take advantage of your commute home, using it to write your to-do list!
Recruiter Pro Tip. We live in a highly technological world and there's pretty much an app for everything these days. Yes - you can even get apps that aid you in becoming more productive. Evernote, Letterspace, Humin, LISTEN and Workflow are examples of popular productivity apps... if you're interested, check out this great article by Entrepreneur!
10. Set yourself a bed-time!
Ever said those fateful words... 'early night, tonight?'
We've all had good intentions and then suddenly realised that it's somehow gotten to 1 am and we're on our 6th episode of Breaking Bad.
But - you're just not you, when you're tired!
Recruiter Pro Tip. Now, you've probably heard that old wives' tale 'you should be getting your 8 hours...' but that's not necessarily the case (as doctors are now starting to attest). It has a lot to do with genes and what you are accustomed to, so try experimenting to work out exactly how much sleep you need to be functional and awake! And then stick to it!
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Setting yourself a bedtime may seem a little bit extreme, but it can really help if you're strict with yourself!
Instead of saying 'early night' say 'I will be in bed by 10!'
If you get yourself into this routine, it'll be easier to keep up and you might even start to feel guilty for having a late night!
Watch your productivity (and general liveliness) soar!
So there we have it; if you stick to the ten tips we've highlighted above, then you should see a marked improvement in your productivity, energy and output!
For more hints and tips about how to manage your time better, check out our recent blog post: Time Management: more than just a fancy Filofax?
Recruiter Pro Tip. According to a careerbuilder survey, the top office productivity killers are...
- Mobile phones.
- The internet/ social media.
- Gossip/ e-gossip.
- Smoking/ snacking breaks.
...so the more you cut these out of your lives (easier said than done, I know) the more productive you will become!
Good luck on your new path to productivity!