The distractions you face on daily basis could be hurting your level of productivity. You can set out to achieve more and get the best out of each day but every other thing that is not on your to-do list can take up your most productive hours of the day and leave you with nothing to show as tasked accomplished. Everyone wants to do more with less and get the best results when they put in the hours but few actually get work done as they expect.
Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher, was not a fan of work. In his 1932 essay, “In Praise of Idleness”, he reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. Such a small working day would “entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life. —C.W. and A.J.K.D.
These are a few ideas for getting inside your head to transform how you work.
1. The key? Think about your thinking.
David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, says, “It’s really easy to follow every train of thought and every email that comes along and get lost in every conversation. The most effective people are aware of their mental approach to every interaction.” Forbes
2. Multitasking is a myth
“If you didn’t get the memo yet, I have to break the bad news to you: multitasking is a myth. It’s simply impossible for us to truly focus on multiple tasks that require real brain power at once.
“Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not,” Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, tells NPR. “You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”
3. Front-Load Your Week
“Front-loading gives you the ability to stay on top of projects that take longer than expected without getting stressed or working into the wee hours of the night,” Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a self-described “time coach”, writes on 99U. “Since all of your must-do’s are taken care of at least a few days in advance, you can easily move would-like-to-do’s to the next day.”
Planning your schedule ahead of time helps you avoid missing deadlines and getting snowed under. When planning ahead, put the bigger, harder, more pressing tasks at the start of the week (or day) so you can knock them out first and relax more as the week goes on. Bell recommends.
4. Measure your results, not your time
“The whole idea of working smarter, rather than harder, comes from the problem many of us have of putting in more and more hours, only to find we don’t get more done. We want to find methods of being more productive in less time. One way to go about this is to adjust the way we measure productivity.
It sounds like a trick, but it’s not a way out of getting work done. It’s just that if you truly measure what you get done, rather than the time it took you, you should notice a difference in how you work, as well.
If you have big projects or tasks to get done, a good place to start is by breaking them down into completable sections. For instance, I like to break down my blog posts into sections and small tasks like adding images.
With a set of smaller tasks making up a big project, you can check off what you get done each day, even if it takes you many days to finish the whole thing. I get a nice little rush every time I check off a task within a blog post, even if it was just a 200-word section. It helps me to maintain momentum and keep going until the whole post is done.
Another way to measure what you get done each day is to keep a “done list”, which is a running log of everything you complete in a day.” Buffer blog
5. Declutter your calendar & digital life…fast
“Decluttering your day is about reducing commitments, and saying no to the non-essential things. So first make a list of your commitments. Make a list of what’s most important to you (4-5 things) and declutter the rest.
Say no to people with a phone call or email, and get out of existing commitments. Email newsletters, blogs, social networks, online reading and watching, forums, etc. — are they essential? Can you declutter them?”-Leo Babauta