- Turn off distractions
We all know those times when it takes us hours to write one sentence of an essay or when we sit down to study but can barely read past the first page. Turning off distractions is a key to working effectively. This includes cell phones, social media, and loud music. Sometimes when it’s not possible to control these distractions such as in a loud hallway or a busy cafeteria, opt for locations where these distractions can be kept at bay.
- Are you HALTy? Halty stands for: Hungry Angry Lonely Tired
At my most stressed times in my life, focusing on a task becomes infinitely harder which is why self-care comes first. If you feel that any of these four needs are unmet, then aim to resolve these needs or at least reduce their impact before getting started on a task.
- Write tasks down:
For myself, writing down tasks functions in two important ways. First, writing them down helps create a list of actionable things to be completed before the end of the day. Second, the simple act of writing them down helps you stick with those tasks and commit to them.
- Take 10 minutes to plan your next day
One habit I’ve perfected in the last year is to plan out the highest priority tasks the night before. Each night I spend 10 minutes to reflect on tasks to complete in the next day and it has helped me tremendously in staying organized and not missing important deadlines
For myself when I feel unmotivated, taking a walk (yes, even in the winter) helps me clear my head and reorient my mind. Going for a walk has a number of health benefits in addition to productivity. Sometimes, my best ideas have their roots in these reflective walks.
- Ask for help or delegate
At times when stress is overbearing, asking for help not only improves your stress level but also helps you connect with others by being open and honest about your vulnerabilities. Another way to involve others include delegating tasks that can be accomplished by a significant other or a friend or colleague.
- Know when to say no
One of the hardest life lessons for me is to say “no”. Being an inherent people-pleaser, I would often burn-out from taking on more tasks than I can handle. Knowing when to say “no” is a life-long skill that will help in both the workplace and in personal life.
- Declutter your workspace
Having a large pile of clutter on my desk almost always signals chaos and physically impedes me from focusing on a task. While studying for example, I might find a shiny lipstick I haven’t seen in years and then fiddle around with the item until I’ve realized that an hour has passed. Thus, create the right environment that helps you think and work effectively will boost your productivity significantly.