Let’s be honest, it’s always harder to focus during the summer. The weather is great, flexible hours have been enforced, and everyone would rather be down at the beach. Yet, for most of us, work remains a priority.
What’s more, in this digital age, trying to focus on one project, without getting distracted, is often a harder task to accomplish than the actual work itself. So, how can you be more productive? Well, we at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, have come up with the following 10 ways to increase your productivity this summer.
#1 Reduce Your To-Do List
Don’t overwhelm yourself with countless items on your to-do list. Try to incorporate a less-is-more approach by focusing on accomplishing tasks that matter. Also, avoid creating a to-do list with unequal tasks. Remember that some projects will take longer to accomplish than others.
#2 Break Up Tasks into Smaller Goals
When looking at the scope of a new project for the first time, we can often feel overwhelmed. But, when you begin to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals, it doesn’t seem so bad. Once broken up, you can decide how long each goal is going to take and can then set timelines for the overall project. Try to keep the 80/20 rule in mind, namely only 20% of what you do on a daily basis will produce 80% of the results.
#3 Focus on One Goal at a Time
Once you’ve broken your project down into smaller goals, identify which of these are the most important to address first. One way to do this is through the 90-90-1 rule, developed by Robin Sharma. Commit the first 90 minutes of your day, for 90 days, to the most important task. Alternatively, you could make use of the Pomodoro technique, which suggests 25 minute blocks of time, with short five minute breaks, followed by longer breaks later on. Also, try to group similar tasks together to prevent constant switching between tasks, which can also waste time.
#4 Identify Trends by Tracking Your Time
By tracking your time, you can figure out your working patterns as well as which time of day you are at your most productive. Experts suggest trying to find at least two hours each day to dive into the harder, more strategic tasks. Once you better understand where you spend your time and how long certain tasks take you to complete, you will be better at planning timelines for future projects.
#5 Declutter Your Work Space
Did you know that your physical environment has an impact on the way you work? By keeping your space neat and tidy - and getting rid of any unnecessary documents, etc. - you will spend less time looking for things and more time working on accomplishing your goals.
#6 Prioritise Exercise / Time Spent Outside
Try to include a walk (at least) into your daily routine. This could be around a parking lot, down the street, or in the park. Exercise is known to improve your productivity by increasing your blood flow which, in turn, helps you to be more focused and better able to deal with stress. What’s more, studies show that exposure to natural light will also boost your productivity and alertness.
#7 Set Aside Time to Pause and Reflect
When focusing on multiple projects at a time, it becomes imperative to take a step back and reflect. Use this time to identify what’s working, what isn’t working, what needs to be prioritised and what adjustments need to be made. In the bigger picture, this isn’t a waste of time, but rather ensures that your work is continuously optimised to keep projects moving forward as efficiently as possible.
#9 Find an Accountability Partner
Find someone you trust who will support you and not beat you up for your failures. You need an encourager. This could be your supervisor, but will more than likely be a colleague who can help you stay on track.
#10 Ask for Help
Pride can often get in the way of asking for help on things we don’t quite understand. Yet, if we don’t ask, we often waste way too much time trying to format an Excel sheet or create the perfect Powerpoint presentation. Let’s face it, smart people ask for help. And, in the end, you’ll become way more efficient with the tasks at hand.