Some people are addicted to extreme sports or online shopping, but I get that adrenaline rush from being efficient and always prepared in any situation. I despise wasted time, and I try to make the most of my time by staying organized and also self-aware of what works for me and my productivity. Here are a few of my top workplace productivity hacks to help streamline your work process:
Don’t let emails dictate your work day.
It’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked by your email and spend hours sorting through and responding to emails before you’ve started on high priority projects. A few ways to manage this:
- Block out time to spend on emails and actually schedule time on your calendar like you would for an event or a meeting.
- Turn off push notifications on your phone or shut down email on your computer. Since my job is heavily reliant on what clients need from me, I don’t do this, but it can work for specific times where you need to hunker down and get a project complete without distractions.
Take exercise breaks.
Taking any type of break is great to give your mind a mental pause. At Martin Waymire, most of us work out a couple days a week during lunch together or take short walks together for a mid-afternoon break. Every Tuesday in the summer, we prioritize a one-hour walk or run session to do independently or with staff along the Lansing River Trail. These types of breaks keep you healthy and spur ideas from conversations with co-workers. Even short walks help you step away briefly and refocus.
Set deadlines for yourself.
Self-set deadlines can light a fire under you if you do it the right way. Keep these deadlines short – within a month, a week or the same day – to make them more urgent. If these are re-occurring deadlines such as a weekly newsletter or social media posting, set them for the same day and time and plug them in your Google Calendar.
Identify your distractions.
Distractions are everywhere. They’re your email, your iPhone, Facebook, co-workers, the smell of food from the break room. Once you identify what really throws you off, you can better prepare yourself to shut them out by scheduling alone time in a conference room, investing in a pair of noise canceling headphones, bringing in small snacks or putting your phone out of sight for at least a couple hours a day.
Write to-do lists.
My personal favorite to make me more productive is a to-do list. An anxious mind is less productive, and I’ve realized that it’s common to feel overwhelmed by all the tasks you may have to complete. But if you can write out the actions you need to do and plug them into a calendar, you can concentrate on what needs to be done first, without worrying and feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to complete. If paper and pen aren’t your style for tracking to-do lists, try one of these tools, which also work great to set and keep deadlines:
- Evernote, notetaking and list-making from any device
- WorkFlowy, an online notebook for lists
- Todoist, manage tasks and projects online or offline
- TickTick, create lists and set reminders with this task manager
As you conquer distractions and look for ways to maintain or even improve your productivity, remember you can still have fun in the process. With new ways to get your work done more quickly, you should have even more time for relaxing!