We all are aware that there are some habits that reduce our productivity. We try to improve those habits every day. However, there are still certain routines that, without even noticing it, affect our productivity. Here you have some piece of advice to try to change those habits:

Begin your day with energy

We are more efficient during the first hours of the day, so try to get early to the office and start your first task of your list. It must be an important one, but short (no more than 30 minutes), and it must help you make progress on your weekly project. Once done, you can take a break and then resume your day.

Answer only the important emails

You arrive in the office, turn on your computer, read the first mail and to answer it you make a phone call. Right in that moment you are adding a new unexpected activity to your routine. Answer those emails that are a part of your scheduled planning for the day. Otherwise, although you manage to answer most of them, you’ll end up feeling frustrated as you couldn’t make progress on the task you had planned. Some researchers have found out that ‘without emails, [subjects] focused for a longer time on their tasks, they multitasked less and they reduced their stress levels’.

A list of tasks at the end of the day

Write down a list of the unfinished tasks at the end of the day, that’s when you know what you couldn’t do and how you need to do it. Be realistic, think about the times of the project and check how much time you’ll need. Split your day accordingly and take into account break times. If there are essential tasks and you won’t be able to face them, ask for help or delegate whenever possible.

Procrastinating is a consequence, not a decision

Procrastinating means replacing activities and leaving tasks ‘for later’. A computer that works slowly, an uncomfortable chair, lack of sleep, too many hours in front of the screen, hunger, anxiety due to a presentation, etc. These are various factors that could make us cancel our planned activities. When this happens to you, stop and analyse: why can’t you, or don’t want to, keep doing that task? If you need time, take it; if you need help, ask for it; if you need to reschedule, do it; if you are making a mistake, fix it.

Productivity depends on taking control of the methodology and timing, but also it depends on the knowledge we have about ourselves. It’s important for us to use tools that help us understand our behaviour patterns so we can spot errors and use that information to improve.

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Image: Eduardo Díez Viñuela

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