10 May Getting things done: how to kill distractions and supercharge your productivity
We know we have the talent to be truly great within the roles we occupy in the workplace. However, office environments and our own nature often conspire against us, making it tough to make progress on projects of genuine importance.
By curbing certain influences, setting priorities, and making use of a few cool productivity hacks, however, you can start getting things done like the boss you are.
Make a list of mission critical tasks
If you don’t prioritize important tasks, inconsequential busy work will jump the queue and take their place in your schedule. This is how many people can spend an entire 9-5 work day in motion while making little real progress.
Avoid this by making a list of no more than three tasks that need to get done, and then working uninterrupted until they have been completed.
Do this the night before, as the busyness of your morning routine, meetings, and other random office distractions can make it difficult to complete this task at the start of your day.
Restrict access to online distractions
As the internet has penetrated deeper into our daily lives, it has become the #1 enemy of the knowledge worker, as its constant distractions have made getting things done much more difficult.
Attention is a currency you must guard jealously, as your favorite time-wasting sites are little more than a few keystrokes away.
Fight back by deleting bookmarks on your work computer that make access to these websites easy, and put your phone on airplane mode to stop push notifications from interrupting your flow.
If you find yourself typing in URLs in your browser’s address bar to bypass the above step, install Leechblock, as this program will stop you from visiting your favorite sites during a defined time period.
Make yourself temporarily unavailable
Now that you have taken care of internal distractions, ensure nothing external will interrupt you either. When you need to get work done, find an empty office with a door, and lock it behind you.
If you are not able to do this, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign outside your cubicle, and put on headphones to make it clear to co-workers you are unavailable for idle chit-chat.
Silence your desk phone, and let all incoming calls go to voice mail. Let colleagues know all urgent calls should be made to your cell.
By using these techniques, getting things done will become much easier.
Ditch the sugary drinks and drink tea
Addicted to energy drinks? Love the energy rush they give you? Perhaps you are forgetting the crash that happens hours later.
Drink unsweetened tea instead. Containing caffeine and other stimulating compounds, a steaming cup of Earl Grey has the ability to power you through hours of writing and coding without worrying about your energy plummeting.
Once you take your tea black, you’ll never go back.
Make use of the Pomodoro technique
As much as you pride yourself on the hard work you put in, there are limits to attention. After about 25 minutes of continuous effort, focus begins to wane, and by the 45-minute mark, the brains of many office drones will begin to quit.
In order to get around the problem of mental exhaustion, implement the Pomodoro technique in your work routine.
Set a countdown timer for 25 minutes, and work flat out once it starts. At the ringing of the bell, get up from your workstation and take a break for 5 minutes.
This gives your mind just enough time to recover so it can hammer out another 25 minutes of solid work once your rest period is over.
Define your end goal
Short assignments are easy to do, but massive projects can be intimidating, as they are tougher for the mind to grasp.
If you sit down to complete a portion of a big assignment without a clear idea of what you want to get done that day, your motivation will flag quickly.
By setting a quantifiable goal (1000 words, three modules, make a specific part of a program function correctly), you will make it easier for your brain when it comes to getting things done.