A day in the home office…
You’re brainstorming ideas for a presentation, you’re also checking emails and finishing that text back to your best friend before you take a break to make coffee. Next thing you know, the time has passed into the afternoon and you’re left feeling less than accomplished.
Even if your long-term goals are planned and on track, it’s your habits and day-to-day workflow that ends up creating your results.
We’ve all experienced these moments where our responsibilities feel unmanageable, leading us to waste more time sifting through a growing to-do list. Aside from our workload, the true key is our productivity level. Being busy doesn’t equate to productivity, and doing less may in turn be worth more if done in a manageable and organized way.
Close those extra internet tabs, put your phone down, and get out your to-do list. We’re about to jump into what habits are secretly sabotaging your success (and how to combat them).
1. Your Phone
Yes, we all knew this one was coming (much to our despair). Even though this device is your personal assistant, alarm clock, and note taker, this also means that you’re going to be checking up on it routinely. While looking up an event on your calendar, a few notifications later and somehow you landed on a cat meme account. It’s easy to wander from one thing to another on your phone, often without even realizing you’re doing it.
- Turn your phone off or put it on airplane/do not disturb while working on any given task
- Place your phone on the other side of the room/another place in the house so that you’re not constantly checking it
- Silence your notifications
- Schedule phone breaks within every time period (such as a 10 minute check every hour)
2. Constantly Checking Your Email
This can be a tricky one, because it feels more productive than it is. Making sure there’s no notifications in your inbox can be tempting, but if you’re refreshing all day you might be preventing yourself from efficiently doing other tasks. Understandably, some positions need to frequently check emails more than others, in which they should prioritize the importance of regularly responding. Those of you who keep clicking refresh when you need to finish typing up a proposal, I’m talking to you.
- Close your email tab if you’re on browser
- Turn off email notifications while working on other projects
- Schedule periods of time each day to check and respond to emails and stick to it (you can always adjust the times depending on the workflow).
3. Not Writing Things Down
I’ll say this again: write things down (or add a note in your phone, you catch the drift).
You will save yourself the energy worrying that you might forget something by taking note. You should utilize your mental energy to what’s most important…which is not worrying about remembering tasks. It’s doing them. When your thoughts are scattered, it becomes even more difficult to just get started.
- Invest in a planner or start making to-do lists (we recommend writing by hand as an added bonus) but your computer notes, any place it’s documented will work.
- Start making Google calendar invites if you don’t already (especially for the most important things such as calls, meetings, etc).
- Don’t overwhelm your list with a ton of tasks, instead make a few clear actions starting with the most important first.
Even though women have been known to be great multitaskers, none of us are particularly amazing at it. A lot of small mistakes can easily go under the radar when you’re concentrating on multiple things at once, and it can quickly drain your focus.
- Try to start at the most difficult (or important) task and go one by one through the list. Eliminate distractions for a period of time and then check in every so often.
- If you’re finding it hard to budge, shorten your work periods on one task to shift over to something else and then go back rather than try to do them together.
Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean more work will get done. No one is ever feeling their best when they’re overworked. By having more time to spend outside of work, your quality of life improves and you’re more ready and well rested to work again.
The Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” That means if you give yourself 4 hours to complete a 2 hour task you’ll end up taking all 4 hours to finish the work.
It’s often more about efficiency rather than time spent, so work less hours but make those hours count.
Content courtesy of Michelle Finn, Founder of Pop Design Shoppe
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, MICHELLE FINN
Michelle has a strong marketing background in a versatile set of roles including social media, events, and field marketing. She fell in love with design and combined it with her skills to create her business, Pop Design Shoppe. In the future, she hopes to continue her work within design or the arts (including interior design, fashion, the visual arts, and event design). She wants to continue working on projects that create impact. Her perfect day includes a morning workout, sunny day at the beach (preferably with her dog joining) followed by an evening out with friends at an event.