Whether you are working from home, in school, or just have a rather large to-do list, it is easy to get distracted by your surroundings, especially technology. So, how do you stay on task? Here are some tips to help you do just that!
1. Set Timers For Work Sessions
Being on my phone more and more, plus working from home, has really shortened my attention span over the last couple of months. Something that has really helped me to increase my levels of productivity day to day is setting timers for work sessions. Basically, I just set a timer on my phone, usually for about twenty or thirty-minute intervals, and do nothing but work or chores for that amount of time. Once the timer goes off, I can take a little break if I feel the need, or if I am ready to keep going I will just keep on working! Doing this has helped me train my brain that when the timer is set, it is time to work. It is a super simple thing to do, but it truly makes such a difference in the amount of work that I am able to complete in a short amount of time. It helps me to keep focused and motivates me to work really hard while the timer is counting!
2. Designate a Space Just For Work
Another helpful thing you can do in order to boost productivity and motivation is to designate a space that is only for work. Now, this is extremely critical if you are working from home. I have found that if I try to work in my bed or on the couch, I get too comfortable and my mind thinks that it is time to relax, not time to work. I recommend that you find a space in your home that feels structured, whether that be your dining room table or a proper desk, and sit there every single time it is time to get work done. This way, anytime you sit there with all of your supplies out, your mind and body will know it is time to be productive. It is kind of tricking yourself into being more productive and it is just nice to get into that kind of routine.
3. Take Mental Breaks
While productivity and getting things done is important, so is allowing yourself to take mental breaks throughout the workday. Working at your computer for hours and hours is draining for both your beautiful eyes as well as your brain. In order to avoid burn out, it is important to allow yourself to take small breaks here and there during the workday. Going along with the first productivity tip, setting timers for work sessions, I also like to set certain time limits for the breaks that I take. I used to limit my breaks to about ten or fifteen minutes, but then I just found myself taking breaks too often. So, what I like to do is taking fewer, longer breaks. My favorite way to do this is to watch an episode of whatever show I am currently binge-watching on Netflix or whatever streaming service it is on. Depending on the length of the episodes in the series obviously affects the length of the break, but usually, I like to watch a thirty to forty-minute break, and by that time I am pretty much ready to get back to work.
4. Make a Realistic To-Do List
I used to make such long to-do lists and just try to accomplish way too many things during a single day. This would raise my levels of anxiety and would make me more irritable and end up actually hindering my productivity levels. I have had to learn to make small, realistic goals, which means keeping my daily to-do list fairly small. Choosing about three to four things to focus on and work towards accomplishing on a daily basis is a good amount to shoot for. This way, you will not get too overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that you have to get done in a day, and you will feel way more productive and accomplished much more often. Obviously, the number of tasks you need to complete each day can vary depending upon your career, but celebrating each accomplishment and reminding yourself to set realistic goals that you can actually accomplish is so important no matter if you are a defense attorney or a social media influencer.
5. Come Up With a Work Routine
This last one is something that I discovered and cultivated when it came to writing poetry last year, coming up with a very specific work routine. In one of my classes, we had to come up with a writing routine that included the time of day, the location where I wrote, if I listened to music or wrote in silence, the materials I used, etc. I know it sounds a little extra, but experimenting with these things really showed me what I liked and what worked for me productivity-wise. The same thing can be useful when it comes to getting work done for your nine to five job! The time of day you work may not be up to you, however, if you are working from home especially, I suggest you play around with the location, atmosphere including sound and light, the materials you like to use, etc. Like mentioned earlier, designating a workspace for yourself can help you stay focused, these other factors can either aid in raising those productivity levels or work to hinder it. For example, when I write creatively, I like to do in the mornings with a warm cup of coffee, at a table or desk, on good old fashioned pen and paper, with music playing softly in the background, and I have to be alone. I have discovered these preferences of mine because I took the time to do so, and the reward has been such an increase in my productivity when it comes to writing and the routine of it all has been the reason it was possible in the first place.