In the age of being constantly plugged in, its sometimes hard to feel focused and productive at work. It’s really easy to feel like you’ve worked all day but still somehow got nothing done! I’ve found that there are a lot of ways to work smarter and get your work done, without getting burnt out by the end of the day.
Here are my top habits for maximizing the time I spend at work:
- Start each morning with a game plan. The first thing I like to do when I get to work is to look at my calendar for the day to see how I will be spending my time. If I’m booked in meetings, I know I’ll only have time to work on urgent emails or projects that day. If I have more open time, I know I’ll be able to get through some less urgent matters.
- Preview your inbox. I like to quickly scan through my inbox each morning and instead of responding to emails one by one, I delete or file anything that doesn’t need action, and flag what I need to get through that day. This helps me quickly clear clutter and get right to the more urgent tasks.
- Organize your inbox. I like to have my email divided into folders for each project I’m working on, and I even have emails regarding certain projects go directly to those folders, so I can read them in order of importance. I file emails that are coming from overseas partners into a separate inbox since they won’t be awake to read my responses until the next day anyways!
- Write out tasks for the day. I like to keep a weekly planner to jot down notes and to-dos. I feel like writing out tasks helps me prioritize for each day, as well as feel accomplished as I check them off the list.
- Know your work habits. I’m the most productive in the mornings, and in the afternoon, I start to fade and be really distracted. I try to do tasks that require the most brain power in the morning when I’m feeling my sharpest, instead of putting them off when I know I won’t be as focused. I also flex my schedule to get to work a few hours early each morning, and then be done with work in the early afternoon. If you’re not a morning person, your schedule might be exact opposite and you can plan tasks for when you know you’ll work your best.
- Take breaks. When you’re really busy at work, it’s hard to carve out time to take a break to eat or get away from your desk, but it’s so helpful to do so. I try to go for even just a 10 minute walk over lunch to have time to recharge. I also try to take mini breaks every half an hour or so, just to get water or look at my phone, instead of just being glued to my screen for hours at a time.
- Remove distractions. Although it’s good to take a break from your work sometimes, it’s important to minimize distractions during work time. Put away your phone, turn off your email, and find a quiet place to work to maximize productivity during your work time.
- Leave work at work. It’s really easy to go home and keep thinking about work and all of the things you have to do the next day, but there’s no point in stressing over something you aren’t going to resolve that night! I try really hard to mentally shut off and enjoy my evenings, knowing I will be able to tackle tomorrow’s problems tomorrow.
In the moment, it can be hard to remember these habits, but I’ve found that the more I practice them, the more automatic they become. Do you have any tips for being your most productive at work? Share in the comments below!