Isn’t it such a fantastic feeling to look at your to-do list and see everything checked off? You ceremoniously close your laptop and get started on the “me time” you’ve been craving all day. But, that is not always the case. Sometimes, we get overwhelmed when there’s a ton of work to do and have an unproductive day. In our always-on, always-connected world, it is also easy to get distracted and lose focus on the tasks at hand.
Here’s the thing: you do not just accidentally become productive. Staying focused and productive throughout the day takes planning and consistent practice. Below are tips that could help.
Simplify your to-do list
A daily to-do list is your best friend in Productivity. However, if you’re not careful, you might end up over-scheduling and making yourself overwhelmed. Set reasonable targets, and remember that not everything on your list is urgent. So, the first thing you want to do is identify which task is the most urgent and work on that first. Get the most critical tasks off your plate first thing, and you’ll feel and be more productive.
Do deep work
To be consistently productive, training your brain to do deep work is the answer. Deep work means producing at the optimum level for an extended period. You can do this by allotting an hour or two each day, just focusing entirely on a task without interruption and distractions. This will allow your brain to use its power and be familiar with progress and breakthroughs on your tasks. Over time, this will become an effortless habit of yours.
Do not multitask
We all know by now that multitasking doesn’t garner great results. It may seem like you are doing more when you multitask, but in reality, you are cutting down on Productivity when you juggle multiple tasks. Give your full attention to one task at a time. This way, you are training your brain to maximize your resources and improve your mental focus.
Tune in to your body clock
Have structure during your workday. However, remember that not everyone’s productivity peaks at the exact timetable. Some people are productive early in the morning, while others are night owls, finding themselves accomplishing more things when it’s dark and quiet. Stay tuned with your natural rhythm, and match your most critical tasks with the parts of the day when you are most productive.
Exercise not only keeps you on track with your fitness goals but also boosts your memory, expands your learning potential, and improves your attention. Plus, it keeps your mood in check and reduces anxiety and stress. Many studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex, the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory, of those who exercise have volume more significant than those who do not.
Make mindfulness a daily staple
Practicing mindfulness can involve meditation, yoga, or simply doing deep breathing exercises. These activities can improve your focus, learning, memory, and attention. A study found that mindfulness meditation is associated with improvement in maintaining attention and concentration.
Clear your desk
Make it part of your routine to declutter your workspace before starting your day, putting you in a productive and clear headspace, ready to take on task after task. Research has shown that too many stimuli present in a person’s view can decrease attention and ultimately lead to unproductivity and loss of focus.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant, so a cup of coffee can help jolt our brains up at the start of the day. Caffeinated drinks are cognitive enhancers, aiding our focus and mental concentration. However, please note that taking too much caffeine can cause you to become tolerant over time, decreasing its impact. So, limit your caffeine intake to just a cup a day, and save that second cup for days when you need it.
When you’re focusing on a task for too long, the tendency is for your focus to break down. This is because you have probably depleted your mental resources. Give yourself brief breaks between tasks. Step away from the desk, look at greenery if you have it nearby, do some stretching, pet your dog, or go for a walk — anything that can help you reset. Aside from these brief breaks, also take leaves. Remember that your mental focus and Productivity can be optimal only if your mental health is in a good state. FMLA may cover leave for stress, anxiety, or depression, so take time off as needed.