We all slack. We all have off days, slow hours, “extended” lunchtimes, and boring weeks. But not bring productive can pile up into approaching deadlines, and minimal motivation. And they aren’t going to keep us reaching our bosses’ targets.
But the problem is, staying productive is hard. It requires this thing called self-control, and that fails us far too often. Whether it’s reaching for one too many biscuits, or maybe skipping out on the gym now and then, taking control is never easy. Yet this self-control and learning how to be productive is more important than at first glance: The University of California worked out that when we lack self-control, we are more likely to face stress and depression. And they add no ease to the situation.
Plus, when we turn to Twitter instead of answering emails, we can be creating a domino effect which could be rippling across your office. Maybe that report isn’t reaching the person it needs to as soon as they would like, or those emails just aren’t being answered when they need to be.
And whilst your wavering work ethic might be a greater sign of the care you need to take for yourself, the effects could go much further than the edge of your desk.
Does this sound familiar? If so, here are the four pro-tips to keep productive.
Make some time for yourself
When our productivity falters, we spend too much time doing things that we shouldn’t be getting paid for. If you’re swapping out prep for your presentation for Pinterest, this could be a sign that you’re burning out. And if you’re burning out, you need some me-time.
There’s plenty of resources that can tell you how to get your self-care on, and thus how to be productive, but the fool proof method to chill out and get ready to refocus, is meditation. Beyond getting away for a bit, which you really need if you’re stagnating at the keyboard, meditation trains your brain to sharpen its self-control. Techniques like mindfulness help us become more aware of our surroundings, and make sure we can avoid the impulses that keep us checking our phones every 10 minutes.
Plus, meditation only needs a couple of minutes to be effective, and prepare you for the challenges ahead. Guided meditation apps, and quick guides are only ever a few taps away, giving you easy access to learn how to be productive.
But aside from deep breathing, other methods of self-care are just as effective. Simply taking the time out to look after yourself can boost your self-esteem, and get you feeling those positive vibes. The resulting motivation will give you the push you need to be productive again.
The next step to learning how to be productive certainly won’t fall short of looking after yourself. Exercise is a great form of self-care – both mentally, and physically – and the endorphins are just what you need to perk up and get more productive during the day. But even if you can’t workout three times a week, make sure you shake a leg every 60 minutes. Well, a little more than shaking a leg.
Try a five minute walk to stretch out and get away from it all. Literally, walk away from your work, and when your brain has had a pause, you can return to your desk, ready to move forward.
Plan your day to suit you, or, how to be productive for you:
We are all different. We are all unique characters with unique jobs and unique lives. But despite this, we all love to turn from productivity to procrastination. Thus, if you want to keep productive for the whole day, youre going to have to schedule you day to suit you.
If you’re a night owl, or catch the worms with the other early birds, match your schedule to you. If you know that Facebook is stopping you from facing your piling up to-do list, block your access to it. Is your phone flashing every few minutes? Turn it off, or leave it face down. Knowing your greatest weakness is your greatest strength.
When it’s the workday, get working
We love a good distraction. Checking our phones, praying someone might send a text, or checking out that online sale when we should be prepping for a meeting. And it’s this which keeps us from achieving our productive potential.
To take back control, click your phone onto ‘do not disturb’, shut your door, and focus on that to do list. You’ve turned up to work, and that’s what you’re going to do.
Try limiting yourself to the number of times you check your emails – refreshing them every few minutes is just as bad as looking at your phone. Better yet, declutter that desktop. Minimalism is in, and the less eclectic style should channel some clear thinking. And while you are cleaning things up, you might as well do the same for the real world. Clear your desk, and get organised.
And if you work from home, keep your office as your office. Ensure that it as separate from the rest of the house as you can, and get down to business. The bottom line is, there’s your career, and then there’s you. There’s a difference, and it shouldn’t be keeping you distracted.
Your greatest enemy will always be yourself, so work out your weaknesses, and learn how to be productive for you. You deserve it.