Every now and then I catch myself feeling very busy doing things that I don't need to do to avoid the things I actually need to do.
It's like one minute I'm working through my email and the next thing I know I've made my way through 8 pages of Pinterest (don't tell my boss.)
(Bob, if you're reading this, sorry.)
Unwilling to let procrastination get ahead of our marketing goals, I've adopted quite a few techniques to combat the itch.
If you're ready to increase your productivity in 2015, you'll want to make note of a few of these.
1. Doing the worst first
Kick off your day by ripping off the Band-Aid. If you've got 3-4 tasks that you're totally dreading, get them out of the way first. The longer you wait, the less you'll get done.
2. Lumping things together
It's easier to knock out a series of similar tasks all at once than the spread them out through out the day. Got 5 emails to send? Send them consecutively. Similar tasks require a similar mindset, so once you get in the groove you shouldn't disrupt it until you're finished.
3. Walking away from the computer
If the task at hand doesn't require you to be in front of your computer, walk away. Removing yourself from your email, internal chat, and social media for a few minutes is good for your sanity and productivity.
4. Living by the two-minute rule
If a task takes less than two-minutes to complete, do it right now. Often times the tasks that fuel our procrastination aren't considered "big asks", but when we let them pile up, were left with a mess on our hands. Point being, do it to it.
5. B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Plant)
Just when we started to think we were crazy for including our office pet plant (Clyde) on our team page, this happened...
According to two different studies (here and here), participants were able to think more clearly and recall more information when there were plants present in an office.
6. Investing in a second monitor
According to a study done by the Jon Peddie Research, productivity increases an average of 42% when using multiple displays. While this isn't practical for everyone, a second monitor helps to eliminate the back-and-forth that comes with multiple tabs and document referencing.
7. Automating tasks
It's no secret that social media can easily turn into a major time suck. While we don't suggest that you fall into the "set it and forget it" trap, when used responsibly, social media automation can be a live saver.
8. Working from home
Separate yourself from distractions. If you work from home regularly, head to the library or a coffee shop. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery.
9. Saying no
In an effort to manage your time more effectively, don't make promises that you can't keep. Before agreeing to take something on, take the time to evaluate whether or not you have a handle on your current priorities.
10. Giving up on multitasking
Studies show that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. So put down your phone, turn off the TV, power down your tablet, and focus on one thing at a time.
11. Keeping headphones on
I'm not sure my co-workers know what I look like without my headphones on...
On a serious note, headphones normally signal "don't bother me." Whether you're listening to music or not, often times having them on will help to eliminate unnecessary asks through out the day that cripple your productivity.
12. Shipping it
"We want to get something in the hands of our customers ASAP so that we can learn what parts are wrong or if we're completely wrong. Truth is always found outside of your office. Because of that we need to just f*cking ship it and begin the test/feedback/evolve loop immediately and continuously throughout the life of the product", says David Cancel.
13. Adjusting the temperature
Cornell released a study that stated that offices that were kept at 68 degrees (Fahrenheit) or lower made 44% more mistakes, while those at "optimal room temperature" (77 degrees) made far less errors.
If you know that you're one of those perpetually cold people (guilty), think a head. To combat unfavorable office temps dress accordingly, warm up with some tea, or invest in a desk blanky (you know you want one.)
14. Cleaning your desk
Now I'm not trying to sound like your mother here, but a clean desk makes all the difference. The less time you spend clearing off a work space or rustling your papers, the more time you have to spend doing actual work.
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