Stuck in a rut? Feeling like you are working endless hours, but not really completing your to do list? If you are wondering how to increase your productivity so that you are working more efficiently, staying on task and not just being “busy” with nothing to show for it, read on for 5 things that have helped me.
It goes without saying that when you don’t have a good night’s sleep, you’ll struggle to focus throughout the day and your productivity will decline. Quality sleep is a little more involved than just going to bed 8 hours before you need to wake up. Something I’ve had to learn the hard way. Getting the right balance of deep sleep, rem sleep and light sleep involves sleeping on the right hybrid mattress, not snacking up to two hours before bed time, the amount of stress in your day (and how you handled it), putting down your phone/tablet/laptop at least an hour before lights out and invoking relaxation techniques to help ease you into a restful night’s sleep.
Comfort is obviously key – making sure your room is the right temperature (cooler is always better), wearing clothing that won’t tug or bind, and making sure all light is blocked (I have light blocking curtains, but certainly a sleep mask can work for you.)
Sound is also helpful to a restful night’s sleep. When home I use a white noise machine and on ocassion I use my Alexa Echo Dot to play relaxing sounds. When on the road, I have the Relaxio White Noise Generator app on my phone, which plays rain, thunderstorms, a fan, a crackling fire, wind, etc. and you can set a timer for how long you want it to play. I highly recommend it.
For managing stress and developing relaxation techniques, see meditation below.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I can only speak for myself, but if I skip breakfast, suddenly around 11am all I can think about is food and it takes me off-task. I’ve discovered that eating small meals every two hours not only helps to maintain my energy level and avoid an early afternoon crash, it also improves my mood. When you’re less irritable, you’re more likely to be open to other ways to problem solve throughout the day helping you blast through your workload and overcome any obstacles with a positive attitude.
Obviously what you eat is super important. A mix of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs are best. Oh, and I can’t live without coffee.
This one really works for me. Whether it is a placebo effect or actually true, scent makes a big difference in how I tackle my work day. When I need a boost, I rub on citrus essential oils like grapefruit, lemon and lime. If I need to take my stress level down a notch, it’s lavender, jasmine, and rosewood. I personally love these pictured above from Adoratherapy. Between their positive, motivational statements and roll-ons and mists, I am sure to be in the right mindset when I apply their oils.
I am all about lists and alloting a certain amount of time to tasks, as well as taking my multitasking down several levels. To make sure I tackle all of my tasks for the day I live by the Todoist app, my Alexa Echo Dot, and yes believe it or not, a notebook (old school things still work in this modern era!)
The Todoist app is free and I utilize it on both my phone and desktop. It’s also tied to my Alexa, so while I am getting ready for the day, I can tell Alexa all of the day’s tasks to add to my list. Once I’m at my desk, as I bang out each project, I then check it off my list. I tend to do the easiest items first, as accomplishing a lot in a small span of time makes me feel even more productive and gives me the stamina and motivation to work through the items that take more time and brain power.
Aside from using Alexa to manage my Todoist app, I also use it for setting timers, adding appointments to my Google calendar and creating reminders. Alexa is basically like having my own office assistant and when I want to boost my mood, she’ll play me any music I want to hear from my Amazon Music library, too.
This is one tip I’ve even passed onto my oldest son at college. Meditation has helped me in so many ways – from increasing my ability to focus, to increasing awareness and mindfulness, to decreasing stress and invoking relaxation, I feel like meditation is so often underestimated for its numerous benefits. I personally use the Calm app, while my son uses Headspace. I always meditate before I start my work day. The Calm app has themes like 7 Days of Managing Stress, 7 Days of Focus, 7 Days of Calm, as well as becoming aware of your breathing, doing timed meditation, a body scan and so on. They also have soothing bedtime stories, 7 Days of Sleep and soothing music.
Meditation helps with clarity, especially on busy and stressful days. I know that my mind can become crowded with conversations, things I need to remember, as well as the limited amount of time I have to achieve everything within. When I slow down and calm my mind, it’s like it compartmentalizes everything for me so that I can focus more easily and not get led off task. Honestly, meditation is something I look forward to every day because of the calming effect it has on me.
What are some things that have helped increase your productivity? If you’ve used any of the above tips, I’d love to hear how they worked for you!
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