Given I work with a pro-productivity and pro-smart work organization that is Brightpod, it is (now) second nature to me to look for ways to improve the way I work. And for a while I have been spending a good chunk of time, every few weeks, looking for exciting new productivity hacks and productivity tips and tricks for the new age professionals. You’d surprised how much the internet spoils you for choice with all the cool tools and apps!
Presently, I am solely glued to two productivity tools for professional work management — brightpod and google sheets. Other tools that I come across (these aren’t always work management-related) are typically put through a short probation period before being adopted, although I lose interest pretty quickly. *Read (again): The internet spoils you with choices! *
Tools aside, I love incorporating positive tweaks into my routine, whether they are inspired by the habits of a colleague or a tip found on the web. I guess at this stage in my professional life, when I am constantly working, even on weekends, I try to work on my life choices and behaviors as and when I can. Just to make sure I don’t lose my mind at the end of every day and I have enough strength and sanity left in me to effectively take on the days as they come.
Last week, on an impulse, I decided to put all the interesting (and easy to do) productivity enhancing tips to use in one-day. Just to get a feel of the impact of making conscious positive choices. The result was a day of a lot of positive outcomes, achieved with ample amounts of energy, and a clear mind (and desk!).
This was the easiest thing from all that followed throughout the day. The good apart about getting up sooner than usual is that you get a head start to the day, and that’s about it. The sooner you take on the day, the better the position you are in to make some time off for yourself later that day. And that’s precisely why productivity gurus stress on the getting an early start — to make time for yourself to revive, however, you like to, and effectively clear mental space to take on the next day.
A strewn desk will not do much for your ability to focus, your creativity or your productivity. A clear desk, however, is as calming as the summer breeze and pulls your attention to all that’s really important. With that thought, I cleared my work stations — both at home and work — and parked around it, in as orderly manner as possible, all that I needed to pay attention to that day. And that alone. With no unread book or sticky notes tugging at my attention all day, I managed to stay glued to the necessary for most parts of the hour.
One of the biggest challenges for me is to stay on just one task at any given point. My attention is always split between what’s urgent and important, and as a result, I end up taking more time than usual for everything.
That day I choose to work on the task that was the most important for the day. I started on it first thing in the day, sitting at a clear desk and with a well-rested mind, and managed to work on it straight into lunch hours. Upon completion is when I allowed myself the liberty to peek into other, lesser important things. The realization for me was that the human mind is most active and attentive in the early hours of the day and that’s the time you really ought to work on things that feel like an effort. Fact: I managed to stay on the task longer than ever.
Meetings are draining and you do not want to use your most productive hours on them. Meetings should be pushed to the lazy hours when listening is the most that you can manage. For me, those are the post lunch hours, when my ability to deliver peak performances literally slides south.
I took this whole meeting-in-the-afternoon up a notch by insisting on crisp agendas. A stickler for time management, it agrees with me to avoid going on tangents. But I guess that’s true for all of us.
I like setting up expectations for myself (and then achieving them). And I do that by planning my next day. Or at least penning down the most important tasks for that day. This way my mind is ready to take on it well-prepared and I do not find myself reeling under an overwhelming sense of effort and exertion.
Here are the outcomes of spending a well-planned day that was set for productive outcomes:
The day was all about incorporating small positive tweaks into the routine, and that was a successful attempt at accomplishing a productive day. I was most thrilled at my ability to remain focused throughout the day and that was the best take away from this small exercise.
At the end of the first super productive way, I realized that people who manage to do it all aren’t exceptional beings. They have simply made positive choices in their life — some simple, some more thought-out.
Share with us how you manage to get the most out your regular work hours, from the moment you get up till the time you call it a day.
Meeta Sharma is a content specialist and regularly writes on topics pertaining to her domain and general productivity.