Oh hey there, soon to be most productive Chica in the entire universe! Yep, that’s you! I’m so glad you’ve stumbled upon this post! A new year often means new goals and new areas of focus. I already wrote several tips on goal setting in my latest post. That being said, how’s a girl supposed to find the time to focus on new goals and resolutions?! Enter She’s Miss Productive!
She’s Miss Productive Series
She’s Miss Productive is a series of blog posts geared toward helping you become as productive as can be. I’m so excited to announce that this is the very first installment of She’s Miss Productive!
Maybe you’re already pretty productive! Even so, you’ll still want to read this post as well as the rest of the series, lady. I’m going to hand over so many productivity hacks in this series, that you can’t possibly already be doing every single one. Without further ado….
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been frustrated because of random distractions getting in your way of making progress. I’m over here jumping up and down while raising my hand. Cheers to that! We’ve totally all been there. Soooooo… what’s a girl to do?
Limit those Distractions, Sister
- Wear a headset at work. Do you have coworkers that talk your ear off 24/7? I tend to be much more productive when I have my headset on. Here’s my little secret… Sometimes, I wear my headset when I’m not in meetings. This limits the disruptions that I get from coworkers walking up to my desk to chat. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk! Sometimes a girl just needs to focus and knock out some work!
- Set your Skype/Instant Messaging System to “Do Not Disturb”. Once again, sometimes a girl just needs to get stuff done. Have you ever worked on a task and felt like you had to start over because you got interrupted in the middle of it? This has happened to me a number of times during the massive data migration project that I’ve been working on the last 2 1/2 years at work. The closer we get to conversion, the more I keep getting interrupted. I finally had a heart to heart with my manager and explained that I keep having to do rework, because my Skype instant messages are out of control. He agreed that my productivity would greatly increase if I do not allow people to disturb my workflow when I’m in the middle of something.
- Keep physical clutter at bay. A coworker once joked that I could literally change desks or offices with one armful of my belongings. Ain’t that the truth! I honestly can’t focus when I have papers all over my desk and pretty things to look at and tinker with all over the place. Do you want to know what’s currently on my work desk? Check it – a laptop, docking station, and monitor; keyboard and mouse; wireless headset; one picture frame; a mini trash can; my daily planner; and my years of service certificate. That’s it! If you clear your workspace, I guarantee you’ll be amazed at how much better you can focus.
- Start saying no. You know how they always say the older, the wiser? That saying totally goes along with this tip. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started learning to say no. If you’re a people pleaser, this is really something that you should try to start doing. Sure, if you have the capacity and aren’t overloaded with work, why not help out your coworkers? However, if you are buried in work and your manager is asking you to do more, it’s time to stand up for yourself. Explain that you would love to help, but your plate is currently overloaded. Good managers would rather hear the truth, and allow you to focus on being accurate and thorough. This is much better than the alternative, an employee that is making mistakes because they are spread too thin.
- Ditch the electronics (temporarily). We’ve all been there. We focus on our work or studying for 10 minutes, then next thing you know, we spend the next 15 minutes scrolling through Facebook. No Bueno. Either turn your cell off or put it in another room altogether. As I’m sitting here typing this, I just picked up my phone because of a text from my Mom. See what I mean… turn it off girly.
- Listen to the right music. Unfortunately, I’m not talking Top 40 dance music here. I’m sure you’ve heard that classical music helps build focus and concentration – Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Chopin. If you’re not into older classical music, perhaps consider listening to Ludovico Einaudi, a more contemporary composer who is still creating music today. Hans Zimmer is also great; his music really gets my creative juices flowing! If you need other ideas, recently, I came across a service called Focus@Will. Their service provides scientifically tested music that alters brain activity to be more conducive to productivity. Focus@Will music is proven to reduce distractions and help people retain information when reading, writing, studying, or working.
- Give yourself a break. Don’t work for hours straight without breaks. Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes every once in a while, to step away and take a breather. Do this when you are starting to feel distracted. More often than not, you will get back to work with a clearer mind.
- Break large projects down into smaller tasks. Trying to knock out starting a business is nearly impossible. Instead, the more productive way to knock out this project is by completing smaller tasks. For example, this task list might include filing paperwork with the state, submitting for an EIN, creating branding, building a website, determining pricing, etc. When you break out large projects into a list of to dos, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and scatterbrained. Not only that, but as you check the mini tasks off, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Set deadlines. Tell yourself you are going to sit there at your desk for the next 60 minutes, studying those differential equations. With an end in sight, you are more likely to try to get as much done as you can. This is especially helpful if you reward yourself after your distraction-less time block. For example, my reward tonight is watching the latest episode of Married At First Sight! Don’t hate!
- Change your scenery. When time is of the essence and you’re really feeling the pressure, consider a change of scenery. Try to find a spot where you have remotely no possibility of being interrupted. Maybe your spot is your home office, outside of your workplace. For me, my spot was recently the conference room in the middle of my floor. One day, I just needed peace and quiet. I couldn’t handle all of the side conversations, and I knew the windows of all of the other conference rooms on our floor would be too tempting to eat up my time. Thus, I barricaded myself in the interior conference room for the last several hours of the day, so that I could focus without distractions.
1… 2… 3… ACTION!!
These ten hacks should be enough to get your wheels spinning, thinking about ways that you can cut out some of the distractions from your life. Whether you’re working, studying, or reading, you’re bound to get distracted. Do you do what the average gal does, and succumb to those distractions? Orrrr do you figure out how to be productive and get away from those distractions for long enough to make significant forward progress? The decision is yours my friend. That being said, I hope you leave here feeling inspired to try to make some changes to the way you work.
I challenge you to write one productivity hack you’re going to try out this week in the comments below! If you have a productivity hack that really helps minimize distractions and isn’t on the list, we’d also love to hear it. Drop it down below!
Also, be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of She’s Miss Productive.