4 Genius Tips That Will Make You More Productive
Maintaining productivity despite the pace and flow of work can be a challenge. Some days are overwhelming and you can feel like you’re drinking from a firehose, other days are like molasses through a straw. Whatever the pace, we have to develop strategies to handle the work flow. Are you a multi-tasker or do you like to focus on one thing at a time? As much as possible, you must be intentional about structuring your workflow to suit your strengths. We all respond differently, but here’s some food for thought from someone who prefers to focus on one thing at a time:
1. To Do Lists
Every office seems to have a person with a “Post-It note addiction”. I’m not quite on that level, but I can’t deny their utility! If you make a list, you’re setting clear expectations and prioritizing your tasks, which can help you maintain focus if you get interrupted. I prefer to list my tasks in the order I want them done instead of just writing them down as I think of them. I usually end my day by writing out the top three or four things I want to get done on the following day. This gives me a reference point and a plan of action as soon as I come in the next morning.
2. Know your limitations
There are days I have to shut my door and ignore my email for an hour or two so I can get something done. “Knowing how to say no” and “is this something time sensitive or could it wait?” could also go here. I know I’m not an accomplished multitasker, so I have to manage my work flow and interruptions accordingly. But, we also need to…
3. Maintain perspective
If someone is waiting on you for something, and it’s only going to take a minute or two, it might be best to knock it out even if you have a bigger task to work on. While I prefer to focus without interruption, I am trying to get better at pausing and being able to jump right back in where I left off. I try to look at it this way: handling small things as soon as they hit your desk means you only expend effort on them once, you’ll have less on your mental radar, and others get what they need from you quicker. It also means those things won’t come back around to interrupt you again later, or worse, be completely forgotten.
I know my responsibilities and I have certain expectations for myself. Admitting I need help on a task or project is hard for me; I prefer to fully own the tasks I’m given. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. Thankfully I work in an environment where this type of communication is encouraged and others are able to assist if needed. If you mostly self-manage and start getting in over your head, be professional enough to speak up. While it’s hard to ask for help, it’s respectable to put the needs of the business front and center. In doing so, you are actually taking your responsibilities more seriously because you are doing whatever needs to be done to ensure a successful outcome.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut my door for a couple of hours while I work on something big…
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