Productivity is essential when reaching for success and working towards your goals.
The effort and effectiveness of being productive can take you from your plan, to achieving your goal, which is why it is so important to get in the habit of practising productiveness when you are working and in your daily routine.
When times are uncertain and you have to continue working, it’s easy to get distracted and break off from your usual routine and focus streams. With changes, we have to adapt, find our new normal and check we are doing everything we can to be positive and productive.
1. Time management
Time management is crucial to the structure of our lives, such as university schedules, deadlines for coursework and timetabling in part-time or full-time jobs.
The most productive people manage their time so they can spread their focus effectively and efficiently across all aspects of their lives.
Planning ahead and budgeting your time for the entire week are really good tools to use. It means that if you have extra activities you can fit them in around your focus time, and you can stay on top of your agendas.
Due to unpredictable factors, such as cancelations or absences, we have to be flexible and be able to move things around if needed. So be cautious that you aren't overloading your day - be realistic and prioritise the most important tasks first.
One thing that helps me manage my time and split up my tasks by day is to set my top three priorities. This means setting three tasks that need to be finished by the end of the day, regardless of what the day will bring. Anything else that I get done after that is a bonus!
My daily priority list sets my focus points clearly. This is the time where I tackle my most important tasks. It gives me so much satisfaction of ticking things off at the end of the day, knowing I have used my time wisely.
But make sure you set buffers and breaks for lunch and time for self-care. It’s all about being realistic with the time you have to fit in all of your tasks. Don't overwork yourself so you can also have plenty of time for your family and friends.
2. Positive mindset
The key to changing your mindset is consistency, creativity, and determination. You need consistency in practising every day and creativity contributes to adaptability in your daily routines. Determination is what gets you through to your desired goal.
These days, we’re likely to grab our phones as soon as we open our eyes in the morning. But emails, text messages, and social media posts may add anxiety and stress to our days. We set our days up straight away with factors that could be damaging to our positive mindset.
Make a change by replacing the phone grab with three positive thoughts about what you’re thankful for, or what you’re looking forward to that day.
This way, you start the day with peaceful feelings. To go the extra mile, delay the start of your social media day – don’t grab your phone until you’ve had breakfast.
3. Make a list and enjoy crossing items off
List making is an excellent practice for feeling better about yourself on a day-to-day basis.
Every time you cross off a “to-do” from your list, you get a sense of accomplishment.
You can include small, easy tasks such as “go for a walk,” and “stretch,” just for the pleasure of crossing them off the list once they’ve been completed.
Of course, you also need to include bigger tasks, such as “finish project,” “or “submit an essay.” But having tasks clearly laid out will reduce your stress, allowing your mind to focus on the task at hand and leaving the big picture stuff on the paper.
4. Find people you can call for support
Sometimes we just can’t get out of our own heads, and we need a bit of help getting through a rough patch. It’s important to know who’s on your support team.
Who always has a positive outlook on life, a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of person? If you surround yourself with people like that, not only are you more likely to pick up some of their attitude and energy, but you can rely on them to help you stay positive!
Be aware that not all of these tips are going to work for every brain. This is where your determination and ability to be consistent and creative will come in handy. You need to find what works for you and keep on moving forward, even when you think it’s not working.
A positive mindset gives you the chance to express the best of who you can be. This journey, like any other, will have its ups and downs, but with consistency this can bring you huge benefits.
Staying focused can be hard especially with all the modern distractions we have, like our phones, pop-up ads and notifications.
The key is to minimise these distractions and allow ourselves a break to let our brain have a breather.
In order to acknowledge and move away from our distractions is to create a ‘distraction list’. Have a notebook, or even an open file on your laptop ready, and when a distraction comes to your head, write it down and then go back to your task at hand.
You can come back to these notes later and review them at the end of your working day
Energy comes from wellbeing. This can mean different things for different people but often it can be improved with a sufficient amount of sleep, regular exercise and recognising what your body needs as an individual.
If you are tired, rest - your body will thank you for it.
Also, maximise your emotional energy by surrounding yourself with people who are goal orientated, motivated and push you to fulfil your potential.
Happiness will give us even more energy too, so mental wellbeing, as always, is very important and helps our productivity levels!
7. Managing our inner critic and Meditation
Your inner critic can sometimes be your worst enemy, many people are too hard on themselves by seeing mistakes as failures, not lessons, and using perfectionism as their sole model for success.
Negative thoughts will dampen your mindset and therefore affect your wellbeing, energy levels and consequently alter your productivity. To reverse these thoughts and feelings into more positive ones, meditation is proven to be very effective.
Bringing the practice of meditation into your routine, will make you become aware of the negative thought patterns that you may possess. Through practice and determination, you will learn and be able to replace those negative voices with more uplifting ones, resulting in a more positive mindset.
For example, if you’re worried about a deadline, your inner voice might sound very negative: “You’re not going to be able to finish on time.” After meditating and observing this voice, you might replace it with a more benign message: “I’m worried about this deadline but if I work hard and try my best, I’m going to make it on time.”
Trusting in yourself that the end result will come is something we all need to practise more, and this will promote our own wellbeing, productivity, energy and focus together!
We all strive to be productive and successful. My tips work for me and they may work for you too, we are all different, so we all have our own ways that work for us.
What are your top productivity tips?