May 4, 2022

 

During the height of the pandemic, many companies had to shift their operations from in-office to managing their employees and services remotely. While this transition to remote work may be welcomed by some, others find it difficult to get their work done without interruptions and distractions. Whether you’re working remotely or in-office, there’s one thing everyone has experienced before – the desire to be more productive.

Distractions are all around, regardless of where you work! It’s important to think about what or who may be distracting you throughout the workday and consider how to avoid those distractions during work hours.

Check out these tips and tricks to optimize your workflow:

  1. Don’t multitask. When you try to do two things at once, your brain must take time to “re-focus” between the different tasks and may actually take more time in the end and involve human error, making multitasking inefficient and mentally draining.
  2. Make a to-do list. Either on good old-fashioned paper or using a notes app on your device, list out every task you need to complete. Once you have your tasks listed out, organize them and focus on most important tasks first. You can then build your schedule around what’s most important.
  3. Set small goals. Sometimes looking at a big project can be overwhelming. Try breaking it up into smaller chunks – you’ll feel more in control and get things done faster.
  4. Give yourself a deadline. Whether self-imposed or set by others, deadlines allow you to better plan steps to achieve your project and provide accountability which can be a motivator for some.
  5. Minimize interruptions and distractions. This can be hard in a world that’s full of them! If you’re easily distracted by email, phone notifications or an interrupting co-worker, try solutions like turning off notifications and designating certain times to check your email, putting your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb, or shutting your office door for a few hours. If you’re working remotely, it’s important to set boundaries with the people you live with, including kids. Try to encourage them to give you alone time during designated work hours.
  6. Clean up your workspace. Your physical workspace can have a big effect on productivity. Clutter can increase stress and deplete energy. It’s probably no surprise that having everything exactly where it should be also saves time. Try keeping your desk clear except for the project you are tackling at the moment. You can also extend this to decluttering your computer desktop from all those random files.
  7. Check in with yourself and recharge by taking breaks. We don’t work as well if we’re feeling burn out. Studies show taking regular breaks helps concentration and boosts your mood. Even taking just a few minutes (“microbreak”) can help you recharge and come up with new ideas! At the end of every hour, try taking a five-minute break – go for a walk, meditate, stretch or briefly play a distracting game to help you take your mind off work, mentally reset and be ready to reengage.
  8. Catch those ZZ’s. Research shows that a good night’s sleep seriously boosts productivity. A recent study found that sleep duration (both long and short), insomnia, sleepiness and snoring were all associated with decreased work productivity. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults ages 18 to 64 aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel rested and alert.

Each person and workday is different. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to implement all of these productivity tips overnight. Choose what resonates with you first.

 

 

Notes apps to try:

 

Sources:

Multitasking: Switching costs (apa.org)

tork-takes-back-survey.pdf (windows.net)

How to Improve Your Productivity at Work – Business Guides – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

 

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