Even people who like their job have a hard time staying productivity and focused day in and day out. The following nine tips will get you back on track so you can be more efficient during your nine-to-five.
1. Turn Off Phone Alerts
Inc.com feels that it’s extremely difficult to focus at work when you’re interrupted every few minutes with another phone alert. Put your phone on silent or, if you need to be able to answer phones calls, turn off notifications for e-mail, Twitter and other apps.
2. Watch the News at Night
Unless your job relies on your knowledge of the news, don’t get sucked into watching or reading the news in the morning or at work. If you end up interested in something that’s happening, you’ll have a difficult time focusing on your work. At night, put the news on TV or read the day’s major headlines.
3. Eat the Frog
Some people call this tip “eating the frog,” LifeHack.org refers to it as the Power Hour, but whatever you choose to dub it, bang out your hardest task first thing. Avoid small tasks like e-mail and reading posts from your favorite blogs and get right down to the task you’ve been dreading. Even if it’s going to take longer than an hour, you’ll make a major dent in it at the very start of your day.
4. Limit Meetings to 30 Minutes
Standard meetings tend to be an hour long, which ends up wasting a ton of time. Limit meetings to half an hour instead. You’ll get through the necessary items quickly. Remember, work often expands to fill the time allotted. You may be able to accomplish the same exact thing in 30 minutes as you would if you had a full 60 minutes.
5. Take Advantage of Your Commute
If your commute is more than ten minutes long, it’s enough time to make it count. If you drive to work, listen to a podcast that will help you with your job or career. If you take the train, your commute is the perfect time to schedule your day, setup meetings and answer e-mails.
6. Schedule Your To-Do Items
If the same to-do items keep falling to the bottom of your list, it’s time to get serious about them. Add them to your schedule so that you can’t use the excuse that you didn’t have time to tackle them.
7. Clean Up Your Desk
When your desk is cluttered, it’s not just hard to focus, it’s also hard to find the things you need to be productive. Make a point to clear your desk every evening and to give your office a once-over at the end of each week.
8. Consider Working on Sunday
Most people love taking the whole weekend off, but if something is nagging at you all weekend, it’ll be hard to enjoy your free time. Considering working for an hour or so on Sunday if it’s going to help your Monday go by smoother.
9. Take Frequent Breaks
Whether you have a five-hour day or a twelve-hour day ahead of you, you need to give your mind a break every so often. If you go full steam ahead all day long, you’ll burn out. A lot of people think the Pomodoro Technique reigns supreme. Work for 25 minutes, follow it with a five-minute break, and then every third break take 15 minutes off.