There are many things we do not have control of in our workday. For example, public transport delays, technology breakdowns, unreasonable deadlines, cranky customers, and sometimes even annoying colleagues! There is nothing we can do about any of these challenges.
Thankfully though there are many parts of our workday that we do have control of where we have the opportunity to maximise our time, our energy and our focus.
Below are some examples of easy-to-implement ways for you to transform your day from being hectic and overwhelming to one where you are on fire with your productivity. By diluting micro-distractions, including micro-breaks and implementing micro-changes, you will get more done in less time with fewer mistakes. Click to tweet This means that the bottomless ‘to do’ list that used to drain you of motivation and energy, will become a thing of the past. Yah.
1. Dilute Micro-distractions
We are an over-connected society who is addicted to our devices and a slave to our notifications. In open-plan workplaces that are poorly designed with no opportunity to do distraction-free work, we take longer to get our work done and we make more errors. The reason for this is that our brains do not like to switch and having beeps and tweets and popups and interruptions going off all day long, it means it is nearly impossible for us to do our deep, focused work. Click to tweet
The number one adjustment you can make that has MASSIVE impacts to your productivity is to turn off the sounds and notifications on your devices. If this statement has scared you because you realise you are addicted to being notified when someone likes, comments, re-tweets or contacts you, then take it one step at a time.
- Firstly, turn the sounds off your devices for the first week.
- Then turn your email pop-up off for the next week.
- Then turn your social media badges etc. off for the following week.
If you take little steps, it won’t seem so overwhelming, and you can test the impact these small modifications have on your productivity.
2. Include Micro-breaks
Our brain is like any other muscle in the body. You can work it, and work it, and work it, but eventually it is going to need a break.
If you think about doing bicep curls at the gym and you are curling and curling and curling, you know that eventually you will need to stop, because that muscle needs to have a rest before it can do anymore. Well, our brains are the same.
If you are working hard on documents, on reports, on a pitch, on a business plan, on a legal document or a new program that you are creating, you must take micro-breaks so your brain can re-boot. Click to tweet
“How do I do this when I have so much to do”, I hear you ask!
Again, just like the examples about diluting micro-distractions, you need to start small.
- Decide on contained periods of time to do your deep work and then have a micro-break. For example, put a timer on for 25mins or 50mins – whatever is best for you – and once the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing, stand-up, walk to the window/door/outside for a 2-5min micro-break and then get back to it.
- Take a lunch break away from your devices. Do not mindlessly consume food while you are working at your computer or scrolling social media. Be completely present while nourishing your body and reap the rejuvenation benefits.
- At 3pm, do some gentle stretching at your desk to get the blood and oxygen flowing and loosen the tight muscles in your neck, shoulders and lower back.
3. Implement Micro-changes
In all of my workshops, I always talk about making micro-changes. Not the big, fat changes that seem such a great idea, but then become so overwhelming that you just don’t do them.
I mean the small ones. You would be surprised by the positive impacts that small changes can make.
Decide on what you need to do most that will power up your productivity and then be relentless about it. Do it habitually and reap the rewards.
As I said at the beginning of this article, we don’t have control on many parts of our workday. It is up to us though to recognise which parts of our lives we can impact and then take the necessary actions to make improvements.
If you want to go home on time so you can eat dinner at a reasonable hour, play with the kids or the fur-babies, read a fabulous book, or be involved in a sport of hobby at night, then getting work done in less time, with fewer errors will allow you to do this.