As a former productivity analyst and manager, let me tell you that one of the biggest causes of inefficiency is typically interruptions. But lately, with everything going on in the world, chances are there are many other things coming into play that are affecting productivity. Below are a few tips on How to Improve Productivity during uncertainty.
How to be more productive?
The first thing is to ensure that you have clearly established measurable goals. Once these are in place, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning your day, to improve productivity, in relation to your goals. Whether your goals are personal or professional, it might be a good time to reevaluate things. What was a goal a month ago nay have changed due to present-day circumstances.
Note: Feel free to print my free goal setting template to help you stay focused.
1. Prioritize what you need to do, based on what you are trying to achieve. For example, if one of your goals is to write a business proposition, and another goal is to respond to emails in 24 hours, and another is to plan your dinner menu for the week, you will have to pick which is more important at this given time. Yes, sometimes you can multi-task, but only if the tasks are relatively simple, but the truth is, our minds are not able to multitask effectively. Prioritize your goals to determine which tasks need to be completed.
2. Determine how much time to allocate to each task and make a daily calendar. Schedule blocks of time for each task you hope to complete throughout the week. If you have 1 hour but have to accomplish three different tasks, it helps to estimate how long each task will take so that you can plan accordingly. Having a calendar helps you stay focused and less distracted.
3. Control your environment as much as possible. If you can, do not answer the phone, check your cell phone or read email when you are focusing on another task. This means closing the other tabs on your computer at work. While this may not always be possible, try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. If you are working at home and can let your family know that you shouldn't be disturbed for an hour or two unless it's important This can help reduce non-urgent interruptions.
4. Check your email just a few times a day. If you check your email constantly, it will distract you from your other tasks, most likely they will be tasks that do not even relate to your own goals. Set up a scheduled time to review and whip through those babies within a set end time. Tip: Before you read your emails, take note of your goals for the day. This will help you in your focus and approach to emails. When you are focused on responding to emails, you tend to be more productive in responding. See more email organization tips here.
5. Limit news consumption. During these times, the news is constantly updating and discussion is happening 24 hours a day. Check for updates a few times a day from a reliable source but limit how much time you will allocate to this. Change from the current situation is going to take time and while we all want to do what we need to, we don't want to perseverate more than we have to.
6. If you are a digital marketer or blogger, consider scheduling some of your social media posts in advance so that you are not on these programs dozens of times a day. Unless your job is in social media, you probably do not want to be on these platforms more than you need to be, at least until you have accomplished your other tasks. Social media will consume much of your time if you let it.
7. Take some time to connect with others outside of your family via phone, electronically or old-school letters. As we all respond to the current situation, many of us are doing less of the things we normally do in person with others. Gatherings are on pause, public spaces are closing, and many of us are now working from home on our own. And we are all sitting with fear and grief about this unprecedented situation. Set up a zoom or conference type of call with friends, clients and extended family. The connected contact is necessary for our well being.
8. Make sure to set aside time for yourself. Not just family time, but time for yourself to decompress and reboot. Things will eventually get better, but the uncertainty of when makes us all a little anxious. Chances are if you do not schedule breaks or downtime, it will likely catch up with you so learn to navigate your day. Get outside for some fresh air and take in the beauty of the day. Unplug for a while. A clear mind does wonders for productivity.
What helps you be productive?