The Prairie Telegraph is pleased to have Patti Haus, digital communicator and locavore blogger, join us today to share her favourite tips on getting IT done!
Working from home can be liberating. You are your own boss. You take breaks when you want to. And you (and only you) are responsible for hitting your deadlines.
Have you ever wondered why some people are so much more productive than you are? It’s probably not because they are working that much faster than you are; they are likely working smarter than you are.
You know the feeling; you have a deadline but you are spinning your wheels. You don’t feel like you are able to complete everything that you need to do, and it’s stressing you out. For anyone who is responsible for completing tasks on their own, such as freelancers and remote workers, productivity (or lack of it) can be a big stressor.
Here are 5 productivity hacks so you can meet deadlines without sacrificing your sanity:
Turn off your phone
While your phone may be a lifeline for you, it’s also a huge distraction. Every notification disturbs your concentration. Your friend asking for another life in Candy Crush can be the reason why you don’t hit a deadline, so put your phone away and don’t allow yourself to check it until you get certain tasks completed.
Take regular sanity, food and exercise breaks
Allowing your brain to rest is essential. A brain break forces you to remove yourself from what you’re doing and focus on something else. You might know from experience that it’s hard to focus when you are hungry, or that you feel like you have cabin fever if you are holed up in your office for too long. Step away from your computer, eat something, maybe go for a walk, and return to better clarity.
Batch similar tasks
I hate to tell you this, but multitasking is a fallacy. It doesn’t allow you to get more done; it actually hinders your productivity. Batching is the process of taking similar tasks and doing them all at once. Batching tasks allows you to save time by working on multiple similar tasks at the same time.
For example, if you have several articles to write, rather than writing one article, sourcing photos, creating graphics in Photoshop, uploading the article to a website, you spend time writing several articles, then you source photos for all of the articles, and so on. Switching tasks decreases your productivity – computer software takes time to load, you can’t find a pen, or you can’t remember what website you use for stock photos.
Make a to-do list
I love to do lists. I try to categorize my list items by important and urgent. It keeps my priorities straight and ensures that I don’t miss doing something urgent. I also get a feeling of accomplishment by completing tasks and crossing them off of my list.
Schedule your most important tasks for early in the day
I used to get up in the morning and get all of my housework out of the way before I sat down at my desk to do client work. I felt like I had my chores out of the way and that left me time to concentrate on what I had to finish at my desk. But once I got started working, I would fidget and check my phone, or maybe I was hungry.
I experimented with working on my job right away in the morning and I found I was way more productive. My brain was more active early in the day, so it made sense to do client work at that time. Now I save non-urgent tasks like cleaning for the afternoon when I am sleepy and have to get up from my desk or risk nodding off.
Most of us don’t have enough time to do everything that needs to get done. Productivity is something that many people struggle with, but with a little practice, they can become more efficient with their time.
I am always looking for new ways to increase my productivity. What are some of your favorite productivity hacks?