Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in an ever-growing list of shit that needs to get done? As soon as you finish one task, 3 more pop up in it’s place like a mythical hydra.
Nowadays – especially at the start of a new year – there are endless blog posts that provide useful productivity strategies for you to weed whack your unruly to-do list. But be warned: productivity can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful.
On one hand, you can’t deny how good it feels to check, check, check (!) things off but on the downside, the days you aren’t as effective, you may fall prey to negative, punishing thoughts that you could’ve done better or the day was a waste.
Instead of enabling you in the toxic practice of tying your self-worth to productivity at the expense of burning out, approach it in a more balanced way. Here are 8 Surprising Methods To Increase Your Productivity (In A More Balanced Way):
1/ Ground Yourself In Routine
Routine gets a bad rep, especially in comparison to its sexy counterpart – spontaneity – but it’ll provide a stable foundation that will support productivity. Developing a morning routine – meditate, make yourself tea, eat breakfast, read the news – will get the wheels in your mind turning till you’re ready to shift out of automatic mode. The ritual will prepare your mind to get crackin’!
2/ Have a Plan
Things always work out better when you have a plan of action. A lot of time is wasted, dithering over decisions like what task you want to attack on the fly so make a list of what you want to accomplish the night before. Highlight your top 3 priorities for the next day then stick to it.
3/ Feed Your Body
Ever try to drive a car with an empty tank? That’s what it’s like to work when you skip meals. What you eat matters too as it’s like the difference between diesel fuel versus premium. In order to facilitate the nimbleness of your mind and get the creative juices flowing effortlessly, opt for healthy, energy-boosting proteins and greens. Save the huge bowl of carbs for when you have time for a nap after.
4/ Disconnect & Unplug
At some point, we start checking social media out of habit more than anything else which distracts us from the task at hand. Every time that bing goes off, our focus is pulled away so put on notification-blinders. Turn off alerts on your computer and put your phone on Do Not Disturb or leave it in another room. Out of sight, out of mind.
Every time that bing goes off, our focus is pulled away so put on notification-blinders.
5/ Multitasking Is For Suckers
When you work, does your mind feel like a browser window that has a million tabs open? If you’re spending all of your time jumping from idea to idea and task to task, you don’t accomplish very much. Remember, it takes 20 minutes of focus for your brain to stop fidgeting so quit ineffective multitasking. Put on mental blinders and hone in on one task at a time.
6/ Work in time increments
You know how fitness instructors count down how many burpees you’re going to do? This is to make the hellish exercise seem more manageable. Perception is a powerful thing – if you leave the amount of reps ambiguous; with no end in sight, you’re much more likely to give up. Apply this to your workflow and plan your tasks in 2-hour increments. Work for 2 hours. Take a break. Work for another 2 hours.
7/ Beneficial Breaks
When you’re on a tight deadline or have an immense workload, you may think the best way to get things done is to chain yourself to your desk. This actually hinders your productivity. Eventually you get mentally fatigued so the best thing you can do to produce better work is to take a break – take a walk, chat with a co-worker, etc..– to recharge your brain. This way you bounce back refreshed and avoid banging your head against the keyboard.
8/ Focus On The Physical
Everyone experiences the frustration of creative block or hitting a mental wall. Sometimes there’s no forcing your way through so jump off of the spinning hamster wheel in your head and into your body with a quick workout. By shifting your focus to the physical you’ll get an adrenaline boost that will jumpstart your creativity again.
9/ Don’t Do Anything
Some days, all you feel fit to do is roll around in your pjs and rewatch episodes of Friends on Netflix….and that’s ok! Take it easy and forgive yourself, give yourself permission to invest in self-care. In the long run, you will prevent burning out and end up making more progress in achieving your goals.
Have you made a dent in your ambitious list of goals for the new year? Which one are you the most excited about?