Happy New Decade!
We are so excited about the idea of a fresh start- our goals are ambitious, and our motivation is high! One thing we are trying to be hyper aware of is optimizing our productivity this year. We want to get a lot done, but we want to find a balance of work and play. We don’t want to just define ourselves by how many productive hours we have and to only relish in doing our jobs efficiently.
This is why we’ve decided to start the year off by handing out our top ten tips for optimizing our productivity at work. Productivity is a key player in keeping us happy at work.
When we are productive during working hours we can not only eliminate stress but we also feel good about ourselves. And because we love a list, there’s no better feeling than looking at a completed to-do list at the end of the day.
So let’s not waste anymore of that valuable time of yours and jump right in. Here are Team Sleekform’s top 10 ways to get down and productive at work in 2020.
1. Always Find the Fun in What You Do.
Okay, okay, I know you probably just rolled your eyes at this. I know work isn’t always fun, but I try my best to always find a bit of fun in everything I do, and I’ve got a pretty good system worked out.
When I’m about to start a task that I’m not necessarily looking forward to, I first ask myself why I’m doing it by asking myself why I’m better able to see the value in the task. Once I have a good understanding that I’m going to be contributing something of value to the company, that sense of dread starts to dissipate.
That’s when I try to squeeze in fun. I also like to color outside the lines. I always take my process to a place of play and put my spin on the job at hand. When I’m able to call an idea my own, I’m always ready to stay focused a lot longer than if I were to do the bare minimum.
2. Keep That Work Set Up Ergonomically Fresh.
Surprise, surprise! We’re talking about ergonomics on the blog again, buuuut if you’re uncomfortable while you work, you are without a doubt going to be distracted. You’re going to wind up wiggling and fidgeting and looking for excuses to get up and walk around. If your discomfort evolves into injury, then you’re really in trouble. Doctor appointments, sick days- the time lost will start to add up, and your productivity will suffer.
If we feel well, we perform well, so get those computer screens up at eye level, your wrists at waist level, and get those hips tilted forward, so your back is happy.
3. Get Your Work Station Organized
Is it sparking joy? No? Then it’s cut!
Get those knick-knacks outta there! To stay focused, try, and only to have the things you need within arms reach and keep everything else put away in its place. Yes, you heard that right. Try and organize your space with purpose. Give everything a designated area that keeps it easily accessible if you need it and always to return it to that space when you don’t need it anymore. Physical clutter can quickly become mental clutter- you’d be amazed how good you’ll feel after doing a purge. Almost like a weight has been lifted. Treat the space you work in as a sacred space. Create a place where your imagination can run freely.
4. Declutter Your Computer
Having a clean computer is a big one for me. I am a bonafide Queen of saving files all willy-nilly to my computer desktop with no title, no folder, no nothing. If I start Monday morning off with an empty desktop often by Friday, it's a frightening scene of thousands of icons and files piled on top of each other. It's pretty shameful; I'm not proud. It is a habit that is helpful to no one. If you ask me to send you something, it takes me a million years to find it, and it ends up not only slowing down my workflow, but it slows down my computer as well.
I've started organizing my computer desktop at the end of the day, so I can open my computer the next day and have a completely fresh start.
Company-wide, we have a very elaborate google drive that has completely changed the productivity and overall organization of the company. We update it daily and have weekly checks to ensure that everything we have is in it's designated location. We also use it as a way to archive any completed projects, just in case we need to reference it later on. Having a communally organized space saves a lot of time because whenever anyone needs to reference anything, we don't need to go searching for it, or bug another team member and interrupt their productivity. We all know where everything lives and how the system works. It also keeps our computers free from clutter.
5. Hydration Station.
Drinking water isn't only healthy; it refreshes you as well. The goal for an average adult is about 2 liters a day. That's a lot of water and probably more than you think! But when you are hydrated, it's amazing how great you feel.
So when that stomach rumbling rolls in reach for a glass of water, it will usually help push off those "hunger" vibes for a little longer until you are actually hungry. Leaving you ready and focused on finishing what you're doing.
So my tip is always to make sure you have water within arms' reach. That way, you stay focused at work instead of walking to the water station — and becoming prey to distractions!
6. Take A Notification Vacation.
There’s nothing more lethal to workflow than the beep-beeps and ding-dongs of emails, texts, slacks, Instagrams, calls from your mom, etc., etc. So do yourself a favor and turn ‘em off. Just do it. Flick ‘em off.
There’s been a ton of research on this topic, and the tldr is; it takes about 25 minutes - well, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to be exact- to regain focus after an interruption. That means every time you answer a notification you receive during the day; it will take you TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES to get your groove back! No wonder some days fly by, and you feel like you didn’t get anything done.
Woof. Just turn off the notifications and buckle down and get it done!
7. To Do: Make A To-Do List.
Is there anything more satisfying than crossing something off a list? Personally, I love writing down a to-do list the old fashioned way- you know, with a pen and a piece of paper. If you are a computer list person, our team at Sleekform has recently started using Monday.com as our project management tool, and it's been a game-changer! Even still, I continue to rock the pen and paper method as well, just for that sweet satisfaction of crossing an item of the list.
8. Prioritize Tasks
Okay, so I'm adding onto our previous love for lists, and they are great, but if you jam-pack your list with too many tasks you can actually get done, you end your day feeling worse than when you started! You'll end up feeling like you failed when all you need is a little bit of prioritizing.
Before writing your list, take a look at your deadlines. What needs to get done today, and what can wait until tomorrow? Next, decide which task you want to do the least, and then do it first. I find it's always best to do the tasks I find the most tedious before lunch when my mind and focus are freshest. I then try and plan my meetings for the afternoon, so I can get all my tasks done when I'm freshest.
9. Boundaries, Baby.
It's essential to take ownership of your work and, most importantly, your time. If you let people know what hours you need to yourself and that you'll be unavailable during that specific time (with do not disturb mode on your notifications), people will respect that and understand. If you set our particular "free time" for your teammates to pose questions and talk, they will use that time wisely.
At Sleekform, we are also big fans of the "standing meeting." Unless there's an urgent matter or something that is better-communicated face to face, we keep all our meetings set during particular days and times. Meetings are great, but if they go on too long or happen too often, they can quickly eat up valuable task time. So think about those meeting times, re-evaluate if they are worth it, and protect your time. It's the most valuable asset anyways. Once it's gone, you can't ever get it back.
10. Work In 90-Minute Intervals.
My favorite way to work is by doing what I call a "productivity sprint." This is when I turn off all my notifications, set a timer for 90minutes, and work non-stop for the entirety of those 90 minutes. This helps me stay focused and I'm always so surprised by how much I accomplish in that hour and a half. I find this method especially helpful when I'm doing anything creative- I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- distraction is the number one idea killer.
Once I complete a "productivity sprint," I'll take a substantial 20-minute break. I'll step away from my computer, make a cup of coffee and give my mind a break and then hop back to it. When I get into a groove like this the days flow by and the work gets done effortlessly. If you've never tried this, I highly recommend it. Go ahead! Sprint!
And there you have it- our top 10 favorite ways to stay productive. We understand that some days are more productive than others. There are a lot of contributing factors that play into how much work we get done. Did you sleep well last night? Are there other things on your mind that are distracting you? Life is full of ups and downs, and we can't always have winning days, but if we implement systems and give ourselves the proper tools, we can conquer the tougher days with grace and end up feeling good about how we handled ourselves when things got a bit tricky.
Do you have any additional ways you stay productive during the day? We'd love for you to share them with us! Drop us a comment below or send us an email at email@example.com. Our inbox is always open, and we love to hear from you!