Five Ways to Break Out of a Rut and Get Productive
Your time is valuable. There’s only a 24-hour supply each day, and at least part of that you need to spend sleeping! What you choose to do with your waking hours is important to achieving your life goals.
Unfortunately, time is very easy to let slip by or lose track of when you’re not using it efficiently. Situations will enter your workday that attempt to rob you of valuable time, cutting into your productivity. How can you effectively adapt when those distractions get you stuck in a rut?
Five ways to increase your productivity
If you’ve found yourself crossing less and less off your to-do list each day, you can take steps to use your time more wisely and improve your productivity. Try any of the following.
- Make a list of what you can reasonably accomplish. We all know what it feels like to begin the day with an intimidating to-do list looming over your head. This automatically sets you up for failure. Even if you’re able to cross a few items off, you’ll feel like you’re struggling against the clock and coming up short. This can be very discouraging and cut into your productivity. Instead, start your day with a list of items you know you can complete, with the plan to tack on more if you finish everything. Then when your list becomes complete, you’ll feel empowered!
- Maximize your commute. Use your smartphone to your advantage on the way to work! If you spend your commute on the subway or bus, why waste the time? Check your email from your phone, plot out your tasks for the day, plan, prioritize or even write your grocery list. Use that time to take care of smaller tasks that have the potential to become bigger roadblocks.
- Work in smaller blocks. Your brain functions best in short bursts, followed by a break. Working in 90-minute intervals, for example, can help you stay laser-focused on a predefined set of tasks without interruption, with the plan to take a 10-minute break at the end of each interval. If shorter intervals are a better option for you, try the Pomodoro technique which involves a series of productive 25-minute blocks with variable break times.
- Avoid interruptions. Things that cut into your concentration will definitely decrease your productivity. If you really need to focus, turn off email and text notifications, as these are almost irresistible. Also, try to minimize other distractions as much as you can – including coworkers who stop by, conversations happening around you or pets and children at home. Tackle your work in a distraction-free zone, and when things come up, let that person know you are working on a deadline but will get right back to them during your next break.
- Minimize meetings. Some meetings are out of your control, but before you agree to attend a meeting, consider what value it will bring to your day. If you find it will simply cut into your productivity, provide little to no value and you have the option to decline, let the organizer know you won’t be able to attend. Then, simply review the meeting minutes afterward.
Is it time for a change of scenery?
Sometimes, your lack of productivity may be a sign you need something new. You may just be bored with your current position and in need of a new opportunity. If you attempt to improve your concentration and find you still can’t focus, think about the advantages of a new job.
RightWorks can help!
We work with IT professionals to find new work you’ll love! To learn more, contact us today!