Being productive doesn’t have set rules or guidelines. Why? Simple – everyone operates differently and is experiencing different levels of stress each day. Perhaps one day you only had 4 hours of sleep, or another day, you had a personal dilemma. Another day you mean be on top of your game, and not even needing a boost of caffeine because you’re running of pure adrenaline and excitement. The ideal state of course, but that will likely not be everyday for most of us.
So what then? Consider finding your productivity by focusing on a few factors which will allow you to pin down what works for you — that day.
Just because you have a desk (at your office or at home), doesn’t mean you’ll be able to focus there. My desk at work sits on a busy corner where there is constant hustle and bustle. On some days, this is great – as I wrote my Physics Thesis in a Starbucks senior year of college. The hustle sometimes motivates me to just get shit done. Other days, I need separation and just a little quiet. Instead I may snag a conference room to myself or with a teammate. Other days, I need to get out of the office and work from home that evening (perhaps with a glass of wine after dinner). Some days I’m laying on my yoga mat typing away, while other days I’m up at 5am working in my kitchen while my nespresso brews. The location matters, and it can motivate you to work faster and harder based on your temperament that day.
Time of Day
Some people are night owls while others are early birds. Depending on my workload, I can be either. Typically I prefer the latter, where I get cracking before others get to the office, and I have a couple hours of quiet before the madness begins. Other days, I know the morning is going to be crazy filled with meetings, and I have to get ahead by working the night before. That’s when I may stay late to get it done so I have stress the next day, or work in the comfort of my living room, and perhaps with a little Greys Anatomy on in the background.
Ways of Operation
Some of us get just snap into action, while others need a few minutes to gather ourselves and begin the focus train. I like to start my mornings with checking email (scanning for urgent items), scrolling and posting on Instagram, seeing what the weather is, and turning on the news while I get ready for action. I need that moment of me time, to know I have myself in check, so I can give a better portion of myself to my work with less distractions.
When the madness gets overwhelming or you plain cannot focus, step away. Take a break. Grab some water, and some fresh perspective. Maybe even ask a teammate or non-biased party for their thoughts. If you have the luxury, take the day to let it settle and go back to that assignment the next day. You may see it in a new light – at least I usually do, and I often am able to get through it a lot faster too. Another thing that helps is working on a different project for a bit, and going back to the other one.
Be Honest with Yourself
You may be a go-getter on Monday, and hit a slump on Wednesday. Totally cool, as long as you can acknowledge it. Be honest with yourself on what you can accomplish and what you need to either delegate and/or set aside in order to prioritize the important things. Perhaps its going to the gym to let your body get reinvigorated before you get back to work. Perhaps it’s sleeping so you can rest your mind. While other times, you just need to push through. Listen to your body and mind. It knows what you need.
image source – pixabay