Maximize Your Schedule To Boost Your Productivity
We all have habits that we fall into—some good, some bad. A good habit might be going to the gym every day, while a bad habit might be eating a bowl of ice cream before bed. At work, our habits shape our productivity and, in turn, our career success. Simply getting into the habit of showing up to work fifteen minutes early every day can make a huge impact on how you view your career.
You might assume that the key to being the most productive is working non-stop. In fact, taking short breaks to recharge is one of the best ways to make sure you’re continually engaged and energized throughout the work day. According to this Forbes article, taking a small break every 90 minutes or so to recharge and renew your energy is a huge productivity help. Take a few minutes to grab a snack or take a short walk, checking in with your body to see what it needs. By paying attention to how you’re feeling and addressing those needs instead of trying to work through them, you’ll put yourself in a better work headspace. Small things, like taking a moment to stretch or go outside instead of drinking another cup of coffee, can set your day on a more positive trajectory.
Even if you don’t have a lot of control over your day-to-day schedule, taking whatever small measures you can to make your day feel like your day make a huge difference. For instance, if you feel most alert in the mornings, plan a few hours first-thing to just make calls, starting the day by accomplishing a bulk of your call goal. But if you struggle to feel fully awake before the afternoon, start your morning off sending emails or organizing your inbox, to segue into a productive headspace. It’s all about finding the best way for you to achieve your goals, and those strategies are different for everybody.
I always like to start my day with two hours of calls. If I have a big project to tackle, like a blog post or a collaborative project, I will save that until after I complete the smaller tasks of the day, so I can dedicate all my focus to that larger task later on, without distractions. Compartmentalizing tasks into time blocks can also minimize distractions. For example, setting aside half an hour at the beginning and end of each day to answer email instead of checking it throughout the day will allow you to pay complete attention to other tasks during the rest of the day, rather than abandoning a task each time you get an email notification. The same could be said for returning voice mails—anything that you might compulsively check throughout the day can often be condensed into an hour or so of attention. Not only will your other work get the benefit of your complete attention, but you’ll likely find that the quality of those emails and voicemails improves as well, as they are being intentionally addressed, not done as an afterthought or in a slapdash fashion.
It’s hard to get the most out of each day if you don’t have goals to shoot for. Goals can be as cut-and-dry as trying to make 50 calls in a day or as abstract as staying positive. People at work might set goals for you, but it’s important to do this on a personal level as well, finding an objective that matters to you and pushing yourself to attain it. Setting personal goals is a great way to regain some control in the workday, and to remind yourself that, no matter your role in the company, you can always be working towards self-improvement. Writing down three intentions for the day as soon as you get into the office will get you immediately in a productive headspace. Additionally, having written records of your daily goals is a great way to track progress and keep tangible records of your contributions to your company.
Overall, the most important thing is to continually reassess your daily work routine. What’s working for you? What isn’t? By identifying and analyzing your habits, you can pave a road to career success that works best for you.