Sometimes it’s difficult to find motivation to do things that need to get done. Whether it’s going back to the office on Monday for work or starting to study for a mid-week college exam after a fun weekend, below are six tips that will help you be the most productive.
1. Establish a routine
Although I don’t actually like to wake up early, establishing a weekday routine definitely makes it easier and it helps get my head in the right mind set by the time I get into the office. Try waking up at the same time Monday through Friday. Pretty soon, your body will get in the habit and you won’t have to hit the snooze button so many times. Right after I get up, I make a cup of coffee to take to work. I read a little news and check a few emails while finishing my cup of coffee. By the time I’m done, I’m fully caffeinated and ready to dive into work that requires more thought and attention.
2. Be organized
Plan your day. Especially when you have a lot going on, it’s important to use a planner to not only remember all the things that need to get done but to also serve as a layout of your day for time management purposes. I personally like using my Microsoft Outlook calendar during the week because I’m usually at my computer and the reminders that pop up never let me miss a call or meeting. Additionally, staying organized will help keep you as productive as possible. If you know where things are located, you won’t waste time searching and you’ll be able to complete things faster. Creating folders on my desktop for files and folders in Microsoft Outlook for emails keeps all of my information organized. Instituting naming conventions for your files will also help you find files more easily.
3. Make deadlines
Regardless if there is an actual deadline to complete something, if you create a deadline to have something finished by, you’ll be less likely to put it off. Of course, it’s important to prioritize, and things that have a strict deadline will have higher priority, but if something is on your list of things to do in the first place, it is probably significant enough to be done in a timely manner. Don’t procrastinate!
4. Take small breaks
When you’re too close to your work for too long, you might miss small details or start feeling lethargic. Get out of your chair for a small break every hour or two even if it’s just for a trip to the bathroom or for a coffee run. Stepping away from your desk might revitalize your mind and help news ideas to come through.
5. Stay motivated
You’re less likely to do something if you aren’t that interested. If you’re writing a college paper, choose a topic that interests you the most, not what you think you have the best answer to because your interest in the topic will most likely shine through and get you a better grade. Additionally, with work assignments, just think of the task as a learning experience and necessary for career development.
6. Know yourself
Everyone is different” and that’s okay” but knowing how you work best will make a big difference in your productivity. Some people are more productive in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some in the evening, so set aside time to complete your highest priority work during the time you’re most alert and be prepared to work diligently. Also be aware of the type of environment you work best in. In college, if I had a strict deadline for an essay worth a large portion of my class grade, I would find a secluded spot in one of campus’s silent libraries. If I had a regular, fairly easy class assignment to complete, I’d just go to a coffee shop or study with a group of friends. Finally, know what you personally need in order to be the most productive. If you are going to feel antsy because you didn’t get your workout in, maybe it would be beneficial to take a break for an hour to get a quick workout in before getting back to work without being distracted.
Being productive can save time and help ensure that quality work is delivered. Not only will you feel better about what you accomplish, your employer will likely take notice as well. If an employer sees that you are self-motivated and can handle your work load, they might trust you with more responsibilities which will then hopefully lead to the next step in your career.