I don’t know about you, but when I am less than productive, I am grouchy!
I get irritable when I get behind. Interruptions annoy the crap out of me. Not only do I get short with others, but I also beat myself up.
At times, it is in fact, very hard to stay focused! But it doesn't always have to be.
Unproductive days = Bad mood
You too likely feel this level of irritation on less than productive days. You also know the consequence of how an unproductive day can spill into your evening. Being terse with your staff is certainly not optimal, but a cutting remark with your child can leave you feeling inept in the parenting department. Adding to the guilty parent syndrome is insomnia. As you lay there ruminating through your list of undone tasks, the cycle begins again. The pressure increases the next day, to more, in less time.
Turn that frown upside down
This all too familiar cycle was the norm for me for years. The more determined I got in the last few years to meaningful work, the more necessary it became to be productive. Changing a few things has made an incredible difference for me. I still have less productive times, but they are fewer and farther between. I end most weeks ticking everything off of my weekly list.
Planning + Prioritizing + Hacks = Productivity
The last couple of weeks I walked you through my method of weekly planning and prioritizing. This week, I’m giving you 3 productivity hacks that will help you take that weekly and daily to-do list and get them done. The result, you can shut off at the end of the day knowing you completed what you needed to. Being productive at work frees up your mind and your energy to shift into the rest of your life. Feeling upbeat when you come home at the end of your workday results in a much more enjoyable evening with your loved ones!
The 3 Productivity Hacks Guaranteed to Boost Your Mood
1. Batch Similar Tasks
Batching refers to doing the same things at the same time. It also relates to completing similar types of activities back-to-back.
You likely already know that multitasking is ineffective. That is because your brain can only do one thing, at a time. Multitasking is when you are trying to switch from one to another. The problem is, it takes your brain a bit to catch up.
Remember Newton’s law: An object in motion stays in motion? The same happens with your brain. When you are focused on performance reviews and then switch to opening up an Excel spreadsheet with budgets on it, your brain is still moving in the direction of staff growth and development. It takes effort to stop that train of thought and switch to thinking about numbers. Don't work your brain so hard. Batch similar items together, so your brain is going in the same direction.
Another benefit of batching is reduced preparation and cleanup. If I am working on one project, I have files out, and binders flagged, There are a multitude of windows open on my computer. I won’t lie to you; it’s a mess. To shift to a different project, I either have to spend time cleaning it all up (only to pull it all out again tomorrow) or open folders, books, and tabs on top of the current mayhem. Starting something new before finishing the old adds to the clutter. Both of these options make a messier workspace. They also take up more time. Batching items together cuts down preparation time and minimizes clutter.
When you are working on a project, stick to it. Batch projects together to keep the brain focused, save time, and eliminate clutter. Here are some examples:
2. Make the best use of your productive times
First, figure out when your most productive times are
Second, know the tasks necessitating your peak focus
Typically, just like in school, the things that require that level of diligence are reading, writing and arithmetic. If you need to read over and digest a report, you’ll need high focus. Composing a letter, a review or proposal are duties that demand attentiveness. It goes without saying that for most of us, spreadsheets call forth a need for concentrated attention as well.
Finally, use your time wisely
Schedule the activities requiring intense concentration into the times that you are best able to focus. I think I say this in every blog post….don’t do email first thing! Save email as a before lunch activity when you are already a bit fried. Do your reading, writing, and arithmetic when you need peak energy, focus, and willpower.
3. Minimize and eliminate interruptions
Create your environment, so you are least likely to be interrupted
Set your boundaries
Get clear that you’re unavailable and for how long.
Reinforce your boundaries
Practice what you’ll say to people when they interrupt you.
“I will time at 10:00 am. Right now I am focusing on these reports needing to be completed. If it’s important before then, Crystal can help you out.”
Be strict ---> with yourself
You are your own worst enemy. Your lack of focus comes more often from inside than outside. Focus requires an incredible amount of willpower. Read these blogs to discover more about staying focused.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.