It’s all too easy to lose productivity and beat yourself up about it, which can set a poor tone for the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week. You’re only human, so you can’t beat yourself up. All you can do is figure out where you're losing productivity, and come up with a plan for what to do about it. Whether you’re looking at where you're losing productivity yourself or in a business, the ideas here can help you.
Studies have shown time and time again that multitasking causes people to lose productivity. It might feel like you’re getting more done, but you’re actually working much slower than you would be if you were just to focus on one task. Do your best to focus on one task at a time and you should find you get it done quicker.
Emails and social media are huge distractions to anybody’s working day. You can easily get lost here, mindlessly scrolling and not getting any real work done. You should have set time for checking them, and ensure they are not affecting your most productive hours of the day. It’s usually a good idea to stay away from them for at least a few hours in the morning.
Have you considered the tasks that could be outsourced and automated? If not, you’ll be wasting a ton of time attempting to do them yourself. Using things like Microsoft Office 365 for Businesses can help you to collaborate better with team members, save time, and more.
Most people procrastinate, and it’s a vicious cycle of procrastinating and then beating themselves up for doing it. If you tend to procrastinate, vow to use future procrastination time wisely. For example, if you find yourself feeling unfocused and not wanting to get something important done, why not choose a lower energy task and do that instead? At the very least, you should be doing something you enjoy, like cooking a healthy meal or listening to a chapter of an audiobook. Procrastination time spent pointlessly scrolling should be avoided.
You should take regular breaks if you want to stay focused on your work and as high energy as possible. For example, some people find the ‘pomodoro method’ very helpful, and use this to work in 25 minute blocks before taking a 5 minute break. After doing this for a few hours, you can then take a longer break.
Delegating can save you a lot of time, but only if you delegate to the right people and then follow up to ensure the task was completed. Have a good process for doing this - certain collaboration software can help.
A good to-do list is a list that contains only essential, focused tasks. Writing down vague tasks and filling your list with things that are not essential will only stress you out!