Don’t you hate coming into work on a Monday morning to 30 unread emails and a to-do list that is 50 tasks long? I know I do. We all share the same problem, the number of unread emails won’t change much and the task list won’t either. So how do you stay productive in this mess?
These 6 habits will get you on your way to staying insanely productive and I’ll give you a simple tip to implement these habits.
Plan Your Day
Whatever you do, no matter what, don’t go to your email first. Your email is a time suck, it is the trap of the urgency. Yes, at some point you need to get to it, but start first by looking at what you have control over, your to-do list. Sketch out your day on an app or a piece of paper.
Don’t just do it in your head, recording it creates accountability. When you start your day this way you are making an agreement with yourself on what you will get done. While you are doing this make sure to create the habit of this next productive tip.
Tackle 1-2 Main Things
I can hear many people saying, “I don’t have that level of control over my day.” Fair enough. This is why planning your day and picking 1-2 main things you want to finish will keep you focused and on track.
Pick 1-2 things that are not urgent but are very important for you to complete. At the end of the day, we will know we have accomplished at least one thing if not two. Being productive in this way is very encouraging and motivating, especially because you are choosing the tasks.
Do the 2-Minute Drill to Stay M0tivated
Inevitably, you will lose motivation. Even if your plugging away and have accomplished one of your main things for the day, motivation can fade. This is where the simple trick of doing 2-minute tasks can be hugely helpful.
When you plan your day, take note of the easy stuff. Find the emails, tasks, and phone calls that take two minutes or less. When you do this, you can plug these short tasks into your day to remain productive. Sometimes the 2-minute drill won’t work, your just flat fading. This is where breaks become key.
As the day wears on or as you get closer to lunch, make sure to take breaks. In some states, this is mandatory for hourly employees. If you’re on a salary, you have to keep yourself disciplined to take 5-10 minute breaks a few times a day to keep things going. Here’s a simple way to do it.
A great rule of thumb is every 60-90 minutes to take a 5-minute break. It sounds like a lot, but taking extra time to go to the bathroom, get water, get coffee, take a brief walk outside all can be simple 5-minute breaks.
The most important thing you need to take a break from is our 6th habit.
Say No to Work that is Not Yours
Stop doing other people’s work. If you are in a healthy work environment, you will be able to say no to doing work that is not yours. If you are not, you may want to talk to HR, your boss, or consider a different job.
Unless you are just helping or covering for someone, you have enough work of your own to do. It’s healthy to learn to say no.
How to Implement These Habits
If you want to stay productive in your workplace, implement these habits. You can do this in a 6-week time period and let them build on each other. Start with planning your day, every day of the first week. Then the second week add in the habit of 1-2 main things. Work through the weeks in this way. Using the “snowball effect” of building momentum and adding the new habits on top of each other one week at a time.
Here’s your challenge. Whatever you are doing right now, stop and plan your day. Whether you are at work or at home, plan your day or tomorrow if it’s later in the evening. What are the two main things you want to get done? Do this for the rest of the week and next week add the 2-minute drill. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.