I mainly work On-The-Internet, which means there are an untold number of distractions that can turn my productivity scale down to 0.
Shiny new thing! Doge! Weasel on a woodpecker! (I mean, come on!)
I also work from my home office surrounded by fun things such as laundry, 3 crazy animals that want playing with, and Netflix. This week I’m going to be concentrating on increasing my productivity without totally altering the way I work, want to join in?
There’s nothing extreme or bullshitty here, no massive life-altering changes, just small things that’ll help you be more productive for maybe 1-2hrs in your work day. That might seem small, but it adds up to over a day’s worth of work over the course of a week!
1// Only answer emails/check your inbox at certain points during the day
This one always works for me, as I’m quick to jump on emails as soon as they hit my inbox. I always find myself glancing back at the gmail tab and checking if anything’s come in. Instead, I’m going to be checking my email first thing in the morning, and replying to anything that needs a response, and then having another check in at lunch time and the end of the day.
Previous daily time spent on email: 1.5-2hrs, new daily time spent on email: 1hr.
2// Checking in with RescueTime to see where I’m getting most distracted.
Have you used RescueTime? It’s a great app that really lets you see (in time and percentages) how productive you’re being. My big distractors are Facebook and Twitter, so I’m going to aim to decrease the amount of time spent on those each day.
Previous daily time spent on twitter/facebook: 1.5hrs, new daily time spent on twitter/facebook: 1hr.
3// Have some Pomodoro sessions
The Pomodoro technique is great, but I find it pretty intense. I work flat out during the 20-minute stretches, which yeah.. is brilliant for productivity, but then I feel exhausted after a couple of hours. I’m going to aim to do 3hrs of Pomodoro each day this week.
It’s hard to give a time for this kind of thing, but I would say (based on RescueTime graphs) it makes me about 25-30% more productive during those sessions, leading to an increase in productivity of around an hour.
4// Schedule time for workouts/laundry/non-work things
You might typically class these as distractions, but scheduling in time for non-work things during a working day often makes me more productive in all aspects. If I don’t schedule things in, I end up trying to do 10 things at once and not doing any of them well. Whereas, if I schedule 15 minutes to laundry-sort, or 20 minutes for a workout, then I set myself to task and don’t waste time.
Again, hard to pin-point the actual productivity increase here, and really.. workouts & laundry, though not productive in the making-money-work sense, are productive by way of having-your-shit-together. Here, it’s more about scheduling things in and making sure things get done, leading to less stress, rushing and “ARGH LAUNDRY” anxiety.
5// Add more to your to do list that you think you can achieve
Having a big daily to do list might seem daunting, but it also revs you up for crossing off as much as you possibly can. The days when my to do list is a little bare? I end up taking it easy and just doing what’s on there. Beef up your list, and make sure you’re listing out small, achievable steps for each of the day’s goals.
Other tiny ways to be more productive:
- Reward yourself with a coffee/tea/biscuit whenever you’ve finished something big.
- If you have an idea mid-work, write that shit down and leave it for later. It’ll still be there.
- Listen to a playlist that gets you in the zone, this might be one of Spotify’s “focus” playlists, or an album you can have on in the background.
- Recognise your productivity traits and use them to your advantage. Whenever I’m in a “get shit done” frame of mind, I always yank my hair up into a high-pony. Sometimes you have to put the cart before the horse, so by yanking my hair up my brain goes “oh, right! let’s do this!”. This analogy got really horsey.
- Stay hydrated! Your brain will thank you by being more alert.
Do you have any small changes that make you more productive? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments :)