It happens to everyone – you start your day with plenty of enthusiasm to tackle your to-do list, but a few hours into your tasks, you start getting bogged down in unproductivity. Whether distractions are draining your attention, or you’ve hit an unexpected snag in a project, you end up throwing in the towel, promising yourself it’ll go better tomorrow.
How do the most productive people take charge of their time and accomplish what they set out to do every day? With some changes to your habits and your mindset, you can stay focused and end each day feeling energized, instead of defeated.
1. Break up Large Tasks
As the saying goes, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. In other words, prioritize your to-do list by breaking it into more manageable chunks. For example, if you’re compiling a report, write out all the separate steps you need to accomplish to get that done, and add them as separate items on your task list. You’ll be able to focus on each step in order, instead of getting overwhelmed with one monumental project.
2. First Things First
You have a finite amount of time and energy in each day, and the odds are good that you never feel like you have enough of either. Instead of trying to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously — and not accomplishing any of them – identify your highest-priority items, and tackle them early in the day, when you’re feeling most motivated. Working on one project at a time will help you defeat the dip in productivity that occurs when you try to multitask.
3. Build “Focus Time” Into Each Day
If you have trouble getting work done because of frequent interruptions, set a block of “do-not-disturb” hours on your schedule, and communicate to co-workers or family members that this is your quiet time to focus, engage and work on your most demanding assignments. Politely tell colleagues you won’t be able to accept any meetings or appointments during this time, putting it on your calendar if need be.
4. Put Your Phone Away
We use our tech to help us stay informed and in touch, but our phones also serve as a significant source of distraction throughout the day. If you have developed a habit of reaching for your phone every time it pings, designate specific times each day when you put your devices on airplane mode. Better yet, leave it in a drawer of your desk or in a different room of your house –out of sight, out of mind.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is much more than just a buzzword or a fad. Becoming more mindful can benefit you in almost every area of your life, including your ability to stay focused on your work. If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your concentration, memory and cognitive capacity, along with your emotional well-being, consider starting a meditation practice.
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