Getting work done on time not only makes you look great to your boss, it gives you more free time after work and creates a sense of accomplishment. But staying productive throughout the week can be difficult, especially if you have a lot of big tasks on your plate.
Next time you find yourself in a workday rut, try out these 6 productivity hacks to help you focus on your work and get things done, one step at a time.
#1: Use Your Commute To Your Advantage
Chances are, you spend some time traveling to work, whether you’re walking, driving, carpooling, or utilizing public transportation. Why not use that time to and from work every day to your advantage?
If you’re walking or driving, think through your schedule for the day and record a voice memo outlining the day’s tasks. If you’re carpooling or using public transportation, why not knock out a few emails while you travel to get a head start on your workday?
#2: Set A Timer
If your work involves a lot of unstructured time, segmenting your hours into smaller chunks can help you to stay productive. This method is called the Pomodoro Technique, and it’s incredibly effective at helping employees stay focused and productive throughout the day.
To give it a try, choose a task and set a timer on your phone or computer for 30 minutes. Work solely on that task until the timer goes off. Take a 3-minute break, then start over. After you’ve done 4 cycles, give yourself a longer break.
#3: Use An Out Of Office Message, Even When You’re Working
Most people only turn on “out of office” automatic replies when they’re on vacation. But what if you used this email feature to let your coworkers know the best hours of the day to reach you?
If you’re working on a large project, consider setting an “out of office” message every morning, so your coworkers know they should reach out to you about other projects in the afternoon. This way you can dedicate every morning to the largest task on your plate, while still remaining available for other tasks at the end of the day.
#4: Plan Tomorrow at the End of Today
Once the clock hits 4:45 PM, most of us are ready to check out for the day. Instead of spending the last few minutes of the day mindlessly scrolling through old emails, use those minutes to outline the tasks on your plate for tomorrow.
Brainstorm the meetings you have coming up the next day, what tasks are urgent, and what you haven’t completed yet. This will allow you to hit the ground running once you step into the office tomorrow.
#5: Turn Your Phone Onto “Do Not Disturb” Mode
Studies show that it takes over 23 minutes to regain focus after a distraction—even something as simple as a text can be tough to recover from. In order to minimize distractions during periods of high productivity, set your phone (and computer, if you’re able) to “do not disturb” mode.
Your notifications will still be waiting for you when you check your phone later, but instead of responding to texts in a frenzy during the workday, you’ll get to respond while sipping wine on your back porch!
#6: Break Big Goals Into Small Action Steps
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of putting huge tasks off until the last minute! Instead of getting overwhelmed by the biggest thing on your to-do list, break it up into smaller steps you can work on for multiple days. This gives you the satisfaction of checking lots of little items off your list, and it can help you to stay on track with big, time-consuming projects.
With a few simple productivity hacks, you can have a fulfilling and productive workday that wows your boss and leaves you feeling proud of yourself.