Did you have a “case of the Monday’s” this week, or maybe just a terrible Tuesday? By now, you’re probably counting down the hours until the weekend, exhausted from a week of work at your 9 to 5 job. But how much did you really get done this week — and how much do you wish you had accomplished, in order to get next week off to a running start?
(Photo Credit: imgkid)
If you consistently find yourself not getting enough done, it’s time to switch up the way you both live and work. Getting enough sleep, cutting yourself off from social media and learning how to prioritize sounds simple, but they can make a huge difference in your productivity every day.
Here are a few things you can change in your daily habits that can help you get more done every week:
1. Get More Sleep
The average adults needs around eight hours of sleep to function at their best – and some studies have revealed the less you sleep, the more your brain functions as if it’s drunk. If you want to be a superstar at the office and get as much done as possible, every day, you need your zzz’s — especially on Sunday night to start your week right.
Nathalie Lussier at Lifehack even suggests to amplify your rest, disconnect from technology and social media on a Saturday or Sunday. As she says, “it can be difficult if you’re not used to it, but you’ll come back with more energy for your work every time.”
2. Start With the Non-Negotiables
Looking at your calendar for the week can be overwhelming, once you incorporate every single meeting, coffee date, working lunch, and time blocked for projects. Before you go far, though, start with your non-negotiables.
“It’s helpful for beginning to plan your week, day-to-day,” writes Kate Stull at Popforms. “You can make a note of any appointments and begin to generally plan your days around the non-negotiables.”
Once you’ve established items on your calendar that just can’t be touched, you not only have ownership over time that you absolutely need, but can control – which allows you to create a mindset of owning and controlling other time on your calendar, too.
As Stull writes, this way “expectations are set and you can get feedback and make sure your plans make sense for everybody else.”
Stull also recommends using time-blocking as a method for improving productivity. Personally, she picks two to three big things that I need to get done.
“I usually plan to do 1-2 in the morning (when I have the most energy) and I plan to do the remaining thing in the afternoon,” she explains. “That way, if I get interrupted, I am not thrown off for the rest of the day.”
If you’re not familiar with time-blocking, it’s a fairly simple process: you simply identify your priorities and block out time to accomplish specific tasks during specific times of the day. (Cal Newport has a great explanation of time-blocking on his blog.)
4. Take Advantage of Breaks
After finishing a task – usually a blog post – I usually find myself with 15-20 minutes until my next phone call, lunch meeting or time blocked out for something else. Over the past few years, I’ve learned to leverage these short breaks to make progress on something else in process. It doesn’t sound like much time, but it really is amazing how much three to four 20-minute breaks can add up throughout the week (at two to three a day, that’s almost five hours a week of work … which most people otherwise spend on Facebook. Here are a few ways you can use that time:
- Research your next presentation
- Read articles you have bookmarked
- Start a blog post
- Email a colleague and invite them to lunch or coffee
- Answer a question on Quora
- Sign up for a networking event
4. Close social media
Finally, if you really want to be productive, you need to avoid Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media that can distract you. This may mean taking your smartwatch off (or disabling notifications) or even silencing your mobile phone. If you don’t believe how distracting social media is, try out one of my favorite productivity tools, Rescue Time, for a week. The app will monitor every app you use and website you visit, and at the end of every day (or week, if you choose) you can see how much time is spent productively or in the black hole of social media and email.
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