Updated: Feb 9
Depending on how you work best and your work environment, one of the following productivity tips might spark some ideas on how you can get more done in a day with less stress...
1. Limit interruptions
Do interruptions seriously derail you and your ability to plan and focus? If so, you are not alone. While it is true that some people thrive on interruptions and switching quickly and often between tasks, others need to focus on one thing for a set time to be productive. If you need time to focus, using the “do not disturb” features on technology or a physical “do not disturb” sign, when needed, can help you keep interruptions to a minimum and signal to others that you are in focus mode. If you have team members, clients, or other people in your life who tend to interrupt you, plan set meetings, time frames, or “office hours” to give them time to communicate with you freely within a set time.
2. Create deadlines
When you have too much time on your hands to get a task done, does it fall off your radar? If so, setting shorter deadlines for yourself might really boost your productivity. If racing against the clock lights a fire under you (in a good way), assess your highest priority goal and set challenging deadlines for tasks that will get you to the finish line faster. If you are a deadline-driven person, be aware that other people could be stressed by quick deadlines, so check in with people to see what kind of time frame they need when you are collaborating with others. Even if others need more time, you can still make your own personal productivity-boosting goal to get your tasks done quicker.
3. Make a detailed priority list
Do you live by your to-do list? If so, taking it to the next level of detail and priority might increase your ability to check more items off your daily list. Breaking tasks out into even more detail might help you get the ball rolling on any dependencies and get a head start for certain smaller tasks when pockets of time become available. Prioritizing items as they are added to the list will help you avoid dropping the ball on the most important tasks by the end of your day. It is important to note that, for some people, making a detailed and prioritized list would take more time than it’s worth, so check in on whether this sounds like something that is right for your working style and/or if you can potentially delegate this kind of detailed prioritization to someone else.
4. Meet with people in person
Does meeting in person really make your productivity soar? If so, you might benefit from increasing in-person meetings to communicate, demonstrate, and be present with team members, vendors, and clients. If you create, move, fix, or select physical goods and materials as part of your job, this might be a no-brainer, but since virtual and remote work have increased significantly in recent years, it’s important to recognize if this has gotten in the way of your personal productivity. If you must meet virtually, using video and visual demonstrations and taking time to make your physical space more functional could be a huge productivity boost for you.
Most likely at least one of these productivity tips appeals to you most, and at least one of them sounds inefficient or stressful to attempt or maintain, based on your innate way of working. Listen to your gut as you read through them to discover clues about sources of stress that might be showing up in your work and where you might need to hire, automate or delegate more strategically.
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Andrea MacKenzie, Founder of Lead With Harmony, is an MBA, multi-certified coach, Kolbe-Certified consultant, and leadership and team-building expert with over 20 years of combined experience in corporate roles and business consulting. Andrea enjoys working with growth-oriented business owners and executives who advocate for the advancement and well-being of the people they serve, hire, and inspire.