Productivity advice can be so general sometimes. “Keep your inbox empty.” Or “You can’t multitask.” But productivity is hardly a one-size-fits-all concept. The best way to work depends on the person, it depends on the task, and it depends on the situation surrounding both. Even the pointers in this article may be inappropriate for your own productivity or it may clash with your style. Nevertheless, here are some ways to maximize your productivity in a tailored way.
Be considerate of projects or tasks involving others
If the project you are working on needs the input or approval of someone else, bump it up to the top of your list. You never know how long it might take them or where it fits on their priority list. Plan for it to take longer. Also, it’s rude to send a message at 4:30 that says, “Hey, can you review this by the end of the day?”
Know when and how to singletask
When you need to finish up an urgent project or you need to focus your attention on something important, create an environment where you are able to do that and only that. Close your door, shut down your email, don’t take Facebook breaks, and allow yourself to get into the flow of your work, the state where you are fully immersed in your work and are enjoying what you are doing. Focusing your attention on just one project will allow you do give it your best self.
Become aware of what works and what doesn’t
A few posts ago, Denise O’Berry gave us some wonderful tips on how to assess what’s going right and what’s going wrong with your day. After your self-assessment, ask yourself the following reflective questions to get to the bottom of your productive (or nonproductive) habits:
- Schedules – What does a typical Monday look like? What does a typical Friday look like? How much can I expect to get done during each? Am I more productive in the mornings or in the afternoons? When should I schedule my singletasking time?
- Email – How often do I really need to check my email? Do I miss important pieces of data if I only check it once a day? Is checking it once per half hour something that benefits me?
- Interruptions – How do interruptions affect my day? Are interruptions welcome? Are interruptions draining? How long does it take me to get back on track after something diverts my attention?