Burst Productivity: How You Can Get It Done Now
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It's a common dilemma. And not just for freelancers, either. Returning to our desks after a break can bring on a serious case of the post-holiday blues.
Master Your Time: 5 Daily Scheduling Methods to Bring More Focus to Your Day
And that spells disaster for our production levels. So how do you get going again? What will be the thing to make you love your job list and tick those tasks off happily? I turned to the creative community on Twitter to see how they boost their productivity after a little summer holiday.
You heard me. Clean that desk. Remove that clutter. Go through your shelves and drawers. Get organised to unleash the power of a "tidy desk, tidy mind" mentality. That way, you'll be ready to tackle your list of jobs you've been avoiding since you returned home. Designer maker Jane Dzisiewski agrees: "Clearing out everything physically is like hitting the reboot button.
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Lists might not be for everyone but they can kickstart work. That way I start back feeling organised and can focus on making progress. Crossing things off the list, even small activities, makes you feel good too! Plus there's less time faffing about on returning, as you already know what needs doing. And don't beat yourself up. Any progress is still progress.
Focus! 5 Ways To Be More Productive
Debbie Clarke agrees: "Piano, piano as they say in Italy! Slowly, slowly! Ease yourself back in, don't feel you need to answer all those emails or hop back on the work train straight away. Work out where your focus is and plan out your day. Overwhelm is not the way to launch back in!
No need to take any action yet, just check all you've missed. Set boundaries for yourself. Whatever you do, stick to it and make sure you get it done. The basic principle of the first 90 minutes rule is to start your day by spending the first 90 minutes on your most important task. You are most active in the morning. Do your best work when you have the most energy and willpower! To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day.
This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day. Plus, you are more productive and have a lot of brain energy in the morning. Or better still, identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. In every area of your life, you can work out the few things that are really important to you and the few methods that give you what you want. Your productive time should be spent on tasks that deliver the most results. Put structures and systems in place to measure and record your progress.
Schedule regular appointments to check in. It can be over email, mobile or in person. Move beyond mere talk and commit to specific actions that will move your goals forward, and agree with someone else to hold you accountable.
The Weekly Review: A Productivity Ritual to Get More Done
Learn to handle incoming tasks once and move on. How many times have you opened the same email only to close it and open it again at another time? Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times.
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Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks and focus on completing just one of those tasks at a time. Give yourself a fixed time period, like an hour, to complete the task. Just put in the time and get started.
The Pomodoro Technique, strictly about time-management was developed by Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. It focuses on working in short, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break to recover and start over. The technique requires a timer, and it allows you to break down your large complex task into manageable intervals. Once you break your work into focused time blocks, you can manage it for the rest of time allocated for it.
The act of timing can boost your productivity, not to mention what you learn about your real time usage. When you measure, you can optimise where necessary. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent. Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent and those that are not important.
Allocate blocks of time to work on your most urgent and important tasks and spend less time on rarely urgent and not important tasks. When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. Hit your target no matter what. And move on to the next one after a short break. Today, more and more people are realizing that when you constantly switch between tasks, you get very little done.
You actually tend to procrastinate on the important stuff, and use multi-tasking as a way to postpone doing things. Instead of cranking through a lot of tasks and multi-tasking, learn to focus on important tasks and single-task. If email takes up a lot of your day, the simple change of limiting yourself to 4—5 sentences per email will make a big difference. Seriously, cut out all the unnecessary meetings. And stop scheduling that 4 p. Most employees mentally check out after 4 p. The traditional way of doing business includes company meetings throughout the day, taking an hour or more usually.
This can eat up half of your day or more. Meetings can be vital for discussing goals and establishing a forward vision. Left unchecked, they become bloated affairs, eating up hours or in extreme cases, even days of your time without anything important being decided.
Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step. Refactor them on paper for greater efficiency. Then implement and test your improved processes. Repeat and stick to productive routines and processes that work best for you.
Learn to trust people with critical tasks in all areas of your life.