With the end-of-the-school-year rush here on campus, productivity is vital, but learning how to increase your efficiency and stay productive is a necessary year-round skill. If you’re efficiency is lacking, you’re in luck. There are ways to change that:
Know your prime time
Are you a morning, afternoon, or night person? It’s natural to be more awake and alert during different parts of the day depending on your body and sleep schedule. I know that after 2 am, I’m useless. I’d be better off waking up early in the morning to finish my work. Therefore, I know that I’m a morning/afternoon person and should take full advantage of those optimal hours. And with that being said…
Take productive breaks
That sounds like an oxymoron, right? Well you may be taking the wrong kind of breaks without even knowing it. Take breaks in spurts – each one short. While on your break, do the opposite of what you were doing. If you have to read a 30 page write-up for work, don’t turn to a book for a distraction. Relax your eyes. If you were sitting at your desk, don’t sit at your desk and browse Facebook. Stand up and walk around. If you were doing tiring yard work, sit down and drink some water. Take full advantage of this time off.
Evaluate your work & Evaluate your surroundings
I’m not a huge proponent of turn off the TV, turn off your music, and avoid everyone in sight. It doesn’t work like that… only in some cases. Take a look at what you have to do, and decide how you work best doing those things. For most people, if you need to read, you should isolate yourself from noise and distractions. If you have to make notecards, update social media for your latest blog post, or read through your stack of mail that has built up, you’re probably okay with a little noise – maybe even better off. Interaction can help keep your spirits up and your will to keep going strong.
Get enough sleep
Don’t deprive your body of this necessity. If you are fully energized, you will be able to work more quickly and accurately than if your body is lagging behind. Even if you don’t get a full 7/8 hours of sleep, any rest is better than no rest.
Know your plan of attack
Make a plan and a to-do list but don’t make it too strict. Be willing to switch around what you do next in case your mood wavers. Sometimes doing a less important task that you look forward to instead of slowly, painfully going through the most important task on your list is the best way to go. At least you’re doing something, right? Just make sure you get to the important jobs eventually or you’ll have to force yourself to finish them in the end anyway.
Turn off your phone and focus on the task at hand. Checking texts, emails, and social media can be a part of your break, but while you work, make sure to focus on what you are doing in the moment. Set your phone in the other room or out of sight to help reduce the amount of temptation you will feel to check it. Often times if it is right in front of you, you will subconsciously pick it up out of boredom.
One step at a time
No matter how much you have to do, don’t stress. It doesn’t help to worry about the 10 other tasks you have to finish that day, because worrying only slows you down. The best thing you can do is work diligently on one task at a time and stay positive. It takes more time to worry about something than to actually do it.