How does your workday look? Do you feel like it ended, and you barely accomplished anything. Do you feel like you are constantly working and never get a break? Check out the below tips to get more out of your day.
Do one thing at a time. It’s been studied and the result is multitasking is not beneficial. Both Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness and The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz talk about how beneficial it is to be present and focus on one thing at a time. When we are multitasking, it takes our brain energy and time as we try to refocus from task to task. Instead, it is recommended to have more intense bouts of focus with a break every 60 to 90 minutes. The duration of the break should depend on how mentally strenuous the bout of work. It’s very easy to get sidetracked by answering email, checking your phone, or scrolling social media, especially when we hit a challenge in our work. Be sure to turn of dings for incoming email and set aside specific time to check it. Keeping your phone out of sight and reach can also be extremely helpful. By focusing on one task at a time, you will be more productive. It will also help with your mental health because when you are off work you will actually be off and spending quality time with family, friends, or doing something you enjoy.
Define your priorities and make sure how you spend your time reflects those priorities. It’s easy to say we value on thing and then when we reflect, realize the way we spend our time does not support that. For example, if spending time with family is determined to be priority, but when you look back you realized you are gone before breakfast, home after dinner, and barely spend time with them on the weekends, is it really? If it is, how can you change your schedule to reflect that? When deciding your priorities choose no more than three high priorities. Once you know what your priorities are, it will be easier to say yes to what’s important and no to the things that are not as important.
Plan/Schedule your time. Don’t let the day get away from you. Plan out what you need to get done in a day, what times you will check your email, when you will work out, if you have anything after work. You will have a focus and a purpose for your work for the day making it a little harder to get distracted. It also helps to keep track of work projects and deadlines. Keeping the same schedule from week to week can also be helpful. You spend less time thinking about when you will go to the gym, what night your kid has soccer practice, and when you need to be fully focused on work.
Set your environment up for success. How can you make your day easier? How can you help yourself focus? The pandemic changed a lot of jobs from the office to permanently at home. The commute time is fantastic, but it can also come with a lot of distractions if you aren’t intentional. Do you work from the couch with the TV on? Do you have a designated space to work at home? Is your cell phone within arm’s reach? Do you have your email constantly open and check it every few minutes? Is the lighting good? Is it an organized environment or is there a ton of stuff everywhere? When our environment is clean and organized it makes it easier to focus. When we keep our cell phone out of sight and reach, we won’t be able to grab it when we are stuck in our work. When we only have tabs/documents open that we are working on, it takes away distractions.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a lack of focus, trouble making decisions, difficult problem solving, and so much more. Sleep is recovery for our body and mind. It allows us to solidify things we’ve learned and refreshes us for the day ahead. When we get 7-9 hours of quality sleep, we are better able to handle hard situations, think on our feet and focus. We also just feel better.
Nourish your body with fuel and water. Our bodies and minds need energy and hydration to think and get through the day performing our best. If we eat a high sugar lunch with no protein our blood sugar will spike and crash leading us to being exhausted and groggy. Another detrimental habit is skipping lunch. By the end of the workday, we will feel exhausted and may even skip out on enjoying time with family, cooking dinner, or seeing friends. Give your body the nutrients it needs. A meal that has protein, healthy fats and carbs, and veggies would make a great lunch. For example, a burrito bowl with rice, chicken, sauteed veggies, lettuce, guacamole, and salsa would make well rounded meals. Drinking half your weight in ounces of water, can help support your work as well. Headaches, brain fog, and tiredness are all symptoms of dehydration.
What action will you take to make your day more productive?