When work gets hectic, the feeling of struggling and being overwhelmed doesn’t typically leave when you come home. But, with constant demands on your time and critical work projects that must be completed before their deadlines, all of it can quickly become a weight on your shoulders.
Fortunately, by increasing your productivity and how you perform in the workplace, you can begin to feel the positive effects of your success in other aspects of your life.
When your home life is organized and running smoothly, you’ll often see your workdays getting better as well.
The reality is, that every aspect of our lives is interconnected and influenced by each other. Our work and relationships can be seen as intertwined, where success or failure in one or the other can make an impact across multiple areas simultaneously.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can be more productive both at home and in the workplace, and ensure that your success in one area carries over to the other areas of your life.
This guide will explore a few productivity strategies, including using an online calendar, taking regular breaks, working on your most significant tasks first, and getting around multitasking to achieve optimal focus.
How to increase your productivity at home and work
Without the right tools, strategies, and resources, increasing your productivity at home and work can be a challenging process. We face so many distractions day-to-day that sometimes, it feels like focusing for an extended amount of time isn’t possible.
The good news is, that deep focus is always achievable and possible, as long as you set up your environment correctly and use the complete set of resources available to you to make productivity happen.
Here are a few ways to boost your productivity and start seeing results at home and in the workplace.
1. Use an Online Calendar
Using an online calendar such as Calendar, Microsoft Calendar, Google Calendar, or Office 365 is absolutely essential to focus and productivity.
When you block off time specifically for your most important tasks, you’re telling yourself that you can only work on that one task during that time period. This is powerful, as it allows you to channel your focus towards one task at a time, avoiding the multitasking trap.
When people say they’re “good at multitasking,” what exactly do they mean? Does it really imply that they can perform multiple tasks at the same time and achieve optimal efficiency and results in both?
The answer is much different than many expect. When we multitask, we aren’t actually ever performing two tasks simultaneously – but rather, we’re rapidly switching back and forth between each task. This rapid “switching of focus” takes a toll on our mental energy and results in us performing both tasks sub-optimally.
Blocking time on your online calendar for your most important tasks and activities is how you guarantee that your singular focus produces excellent results. If you’re not already using your online calendar, today is a great day to start “time blocking” and planning your days, weeks, and months.
2. Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks between focus sessions and long bouts of work is essential for longevity and preventing burnout.
The fact of the matter is that not taking breaks is unsustainable, and you will eventually burn out from constant work. This is the last thing you want when trying to live out a productive and focused year.
When planning your day, take the time to schedule a few short breaks where you’ll do absolutely nothing but rest, clear your mind, and not think about anything work-related. Give your mind some time to decompress, and allow yourself to truly rest.
Some people prefer to take a walk outside during their breaks. Or, they’d instead simply get up to walk around for a few minutes. However, if your work involves sitting down for extended periods, you should take the time to more deliberately schedule breaks where you’ll get up and walk around. It’s good for your long-term health, and for preventing burnout.
3. Work on your biggest tasks when you’re most alert
Every one of us has a specific time of the day when we’re most productive. For some, it’s very early in the morning. For others, it’s in the afternoon or late in the evening.
At what time of the day do you feel most awake, alert, and willing to tackle all of the tasks on your plate? This may be your most productive time – and you should use it!
Schedule all of your biggest tasks to be done when you’re most alert. This could be during the time of day you feel you’re at your best. By working on a schedule that aligns with your level of alertness naturally, you’ll be able to think deeper and solve problems more effectively.
4. Use the “2-Minute” rule to your advantage
Sometimes, the smallest tasks can distract us from some of our more important, more significant goals. Unfortunately, these bog us down in minutiae and keep us from performing our most critical work.
This can be overcome by using the “2-minute rule.” This rule simply states: “If a task takes under two minutes to complete, do it now!”
It’s a straightforward idea at heart. But, this rule allows you to proactively complete all of the minuscule tasks that could bog you down later. If you complete these small 2-minute tasks immediately, you’ll free up focus time for your bigger goals.
Try it out for yourself – ask yourself how long a small task will take. If it requires under two minutes of time, do it right away. You may be surprised by the results!
5. Don’t multitask
Multitasking is never an efficient way of spending your time, even if it might seem so in the moment.
When we multitask, we rapidly switch between multiple tasks, which expends brainpower, takes energy, and reduces our productivity. Unfortunately, everyone who boasts about being able to “multitask” efficiently often doesn’t understand that instead of working hyper-efficiently on one task, they are actually working less efficiently on multiple tasks at once.
Whenever you find yourself wanting to multitask, ask yourself how efficient you want to be. Some goals require a significant amount of effort or attention to detail. Those tasks may constitute blocking out a separate focus time so you can give it undivided attention.
When you stop multitasking and begin focusing entirely on a single task at one time, you’ll see your productivity increase.
6. Eliminate any distractions in your work environment
Setting up your work environment to be free of distractions is one of the most effective and straightforward ways to ensure that you’re productive.
We lose that focus when we allow people or notifications to bother us during focus time on a current task.
It takes a lot of energy and brainpower to get into a “focused state.” Sadly, if this state of focus is broken (often instantaneously after a distraction), it will again require energy to rebuild that focused momentum.
Think about where you work now and how your work environment is set up. Is there an opportunity for easy distraction? Do you get distracted and “go down rabbit holes” while working?
If so, you need to change your environment by removing these distractions proactively. If you do so and keep yourself accountable, you’ll immediately become more productive.
Image Credit: Rahul Pandit; Pexels; Thank you!
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.