Whether you need to do more at work or need a kick up the backside to study, some of the hard part is becoming more productive. This isn’t about working harder – but working better. Being productive will help you make the most out of your day. You will be able to get more done, spend more time with your family and feel like you’ve accomplished everything you needed to – without feeling like you’ve worked all day.
Since I’m self-employed and study part-time, while looking after a baby, I need to make sure I’m productive. I need the housework to be done, my work to take as little time as possible and to fit in the studying, while making sure my little one is fed, changed and has the right amount of attention. It’s a lot to fit in but I’ve developed a routine perfect for it. Here are some of my tips to help become more productive.
Don't Stare Out of the Window and Become More Productive
Take a Break!
Yes, really! One of the best ways to become more productive is by taking a break from your work. It’s so easy to work more than you should, thinking that you’ll get more work done. The truth is that you just end up procrastinating. How many times have you sat at your desk trying to work but found Facebook calls or a family member is calling for a chat?
Instead of forcing yourself to work, take a break and step away from your desk – or whatever you’re trying to do. Make a cup of coffee, get some of the washing up done or just spend some time with your kids. Once you go back to your desk, you’ll be ready to get back to working or studying again.
Worried about meeting that deadline? You’ll actually find that you get more done. Your brain won’t start straying from the task at hand.
Keep the Door Closed
This is a little harder for me since my main distraction is in the room – so I’ve adapted it to turn off the phone! Those who work in an office may find that the biggest distraction is people coming in and out of the room. If your door is open, you make it clear that you don’t mind being disturbed.
I used to keep my room door open when in halls because I didn’t like the feeling of being in a small space. I just ended up with people coming in and out when I was trying to work. I soon learnt that I needed to keep the door closed when I was studying so people would have to knock if they wanted to talk to me – and I could pretend that I wasn’t in, didn’t hear them or make it clear that I was busy.
By having the door closed, you will also find that you’ll be less distracted by the things that are happening on the other side. You won’t see the movement as much, so you’ll be more focused on the task at hand. You’ll get much more done so you can join in with the office antics sooner.
Remember when I said I’d adapted this one to keeping my phone off? You should try it too! Keeping the phone off – unless you really need it for business – will mean that you’re less likely to check text messages as soon as you receive them and your family won’t be so bothered if you don’t answer their calls. Messages can be left on your answer phone and you can get back to them afterwards. Even if you need your phone for business, if you have reports that need doing or something else with a tight deadline, you can have your phone off for an hour or two – the world will not come to an end!
Create the Best Work Environment
Sometimes it is the environment that is distracting and makes it harder to work. If you often daydream or are nosey, you will find a desk by the office is the worst idea. If you really need a break from the screen, get up and take a walk! Set out your office or workspace in a way that works for you.
Having as little as possible on your desk is often best for this. You will find that you’re less distracted with items and can find more. Organize your desk drawers so that you can reach the things that you need on a daily basis and will be able to get on with your work easier.
If you have a work environment that you enjoy, you’ll get on with much more. You’ll want to be there and won’t find that you’re as distracted.
Take some time to organize your work space and shut your door! These two simple things will change the amount of work that you get through during the day. Remember that this is not about working harder – you want to work better! If you really struggle to become more productive, take a break and walk away from the work. Just five minutes away could lead to your brain refreshing and you’ll be ready to get back on with work.