As the New Year begins we take the time to reflect on things that went well and not so well in the previous year. Our resolutions always look something like this…. Join a gym, juice cleanse or spend less money, and let’s be honest with ourselves by the last week of January that new gym tag has become just a nice decoration on our keychain, that carrot juice is now carrot cake and our storage closet has 3 more “as seen on tv” toys. Why not start our year with a resolution that we can actually keep and that has the potential to help us keep other resolutions? Here are 5 sure fire tips to get organized and increase productivity.
- Clarify your goals and make a plan. Identify what you are setting out to accomplish, making a list of your goals. Now, how will you know that you have achieved this goal? Clearly spell out what the end-result is and set measurable, tangible checkpoints to ensure you are on track to completion. Making a plan helps to make your overall goal look smaller and more feasible in your mind, taking your thoughts off what can be a daunting task.
- Identify distractions. Managing distractions is one of the most critical steps to improving productivity. Checking emails, texts and social media constantly is proven to drain your energy, increase stress and consume your easily distracted brain from concentrating on your task. Kick the habit and check your messages in batches. Try every hour or half hour, some have moved to four specific times a day. Batching enables us to dive deeply in those things that really need our attention. And remember to turn off every beep, chirp and chime that seduces your attention.
- Wake Up Earlier Studies have shown that morning people are happier, healthier and more productive than night owls. If you’re struggling to stay focused as time slowly creeps later into the evening set your alarm for earlier in the morning to get a jumpstart on your to-do list. It may take some time for your body to adjust, but you’ll eventually settle into a rhythm in which you fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier. The quiet, calm mornings offer the perfect time to eat a balanced breakfast, workout and set your intentions for the day.
- Maintain your workspace and set yourself up for tomorrow. Cleaning your workspace at the end of every day fuels your sense of accomplishment and sends the right message to your brain and everyone around you. Taking a few minutes to identify your starting point for the next day with a list or actually prepping the materials you’ll need enables you to jump into work the next day. Forget about easing your way into the morning routine, go directly to the task you identified the day before. You’ll have to adjust with the unexpected priorities of the new day but jumping in boldly makes you hyper productive quickly and cuts off procrastination…and remember not to make your inbox your first task.
- Sync Calendars and prepare for the unexpected Typically, writing things down and keeping organized is a great way to be as efficient and productive as possible. However, if you’re anything like me and like to write things down on paper (or millions of sticky notes), phone AND computer, you might run into some issues. If you’re using multiple platforms to keep track of appointments, tasks or engagements, make sure they are all synced so you don’t end up double booked or missing appointments. Despite our every attempt to plan ahead, things happen unexpectedly that can interfere with your productivity. If your schedule is too rigid and doesn’t allow room for flexibility, you’ll feel the weight from these unforeseen occurrences and end up with chaotic, unproductive days. Leave a little wiggle room in your schedule for surprises so you feel less stressed and more prepared.
Remember If you imagine your resolution as small, actionable steps, achieving the goal
becomes a lot more feasible in your head. Start 2017 off on a productive note and prepare to be amazed at how many other new good habits we form.