There are so many things that demand our attention and things can get really overwhelming. Work-life balance is becoming work-life integration. In the rush to get everything done, it is so easy to lose focus and productivity.
It’s always good to stop and take stock of the things you’re doing and evaluate. Many a times, things can be done in a better way and all we need to do is stop to think about how we can improve. The 5 habits listed below are not new to us, but we all need a reminder every now and then. Here’s a little jerk to start you up again.
1. Keep a detailed project list with clear action items
A simple to do list with items like “To write article”, is not good enough. Instead, create a project list that has a reminder function and detailed action items. In this list, have a strong title, detailed notes with clear action items and date stamps. For example:
To Do: Write Article
25/05/2015 – Compile research
26/05/2015 – To complete first draft
27/05/2015 – First cut to be vetted by editor
28/05/2015 – Finalised copy to be published
You can include more details such as the people involved or if the action item is sitting with someone else. Set reminders so that the item is completely off your mind. Thereafter, you can better focus on something else.
There are many free apps out there for you to explore like Outlook’s Task function, Apple’s To do list, and Wunderlist.
2. Keep a clean and organised workstation
Ever spent hours looking for something and it’s not the first time? It’s probably not going to be the last if you have a messy desk!
Spend time at the end of each day to clear up your workstation. The little time you spend to sort out your working area each day adds up. Coming back to a clean desk the next day is a great perk too!
Start this and you will find yourself making this a habit with other things as well, such as email and work flow management.
3. Focus on the important tasks that have long term impact
It is easy to be distracted by tasks that demand your immediate attention (an email, phone call or WhatsApp etc.)
Always look at the bigger picture and tasks at hand. Focus a portion of your day on things that are important but do not require your immediate attention. These things will pay off handsomely in the long run.
For example, some of us put off exercise or reading. We know that these things are important, but because they can wait, we let them. Take a good look at them today and dedicate a part of each day on some of these things.
4. Find your motivation
Every now and then we have bad days and feel like we lose motivation. Always remember that it is easy for people to exceed expectations at their best. It is far harder to perform consistently.
Find your source of motivation and keep in mind that you are what you think and what you do. Be your biggest critic and best motivator.
5. Sleep enough, regularly!
Very often people wake up in the mornings wishing they had gone to bed earlier the night before. If you are one of them, do it tonight! Make sure you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep everyday. Sleep debt cannot be paid off over the weekends!
The next time you find yourself burning the midnight oil, ask yourself, is it worth the drop in productivity the next day?
For a more productive, healthier and happier you, don’t neglect sleep!
Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself not being able to adopt these habits straightaway. Habits take time and consistent commitment to form. Try formulating these habits with a friend. Check in with each other often and keep each other in check. Before you know it, you’ll be a productivity expert!