You’ve probably felt like you couldn’t do anything good at work, except maybe go home and watch Netflix. What if you learnt how to be more efficient while working, so we avoid being fired and dishonoured by your whole family and the society ? (it won’t be that dramatic, I promise)
These tips are delivered to you by an former project manager in a media agency, previously writer in freelance. In other words, I was screwed to a chair in front of a computer, 8 hours a day. These tips are best for people who are working in an office, and could be slightly different for other professions, like fast food employees, craftsmen and women or stay-at-home parents. If you’re in that position, why not give your tips ?
#1 Make a list of your daily goals
Mornings are the most productive moment of your day, therefore the best moment to make a list of all the tasks you have to achieve today/this week. It allows you to 1) get and stay organized to finish everything in time (bye bye stressful times!) and 2) start your day with a quiet time, because going wild during the first hours will have you tired and lost before lunch time. As Italians would say “crescendo” (even sexier when whispered).
Besides staying organized, the best thing about a list is to realize the work done and to be motivated to keep going. What’s more satisfying that ticking the last task off the list ?
#2 Take wise break(s)
I know, you know, we all know that after lunch is always a critical moment ; belly is full, pants are unbuttoned and body slowly goes a little bit down on the chair. We should be taking a nap after all !
However, being counterproductive after lunch can be avoided if you take wise breaks. There’s nothing worse than going against your will – your work won’t be qualitative if not botched. Why not take 20 minutes for yourself, meditating, listening to ASMR, read articles or just drink a good tea to relax.
I know it’s not always possible ; “what will my open space colleagues will think ?” or “I don’t have time for that, I’m snowed under”… But the work you will achieve after these few minutes will prove my point.
(don’t get me wrong, your break has to be useful and wise – don’t send me your boss because you haven’t done anything all day)
#3 End a task before starting another one
Starting a lot of tasks at the same time is the best way to never achieve a single one. Thanks to your daily or weekly list, schedule your working time in order to achieve your goals one by one. Opening several files, tabs and projects at once will only make you jump from one to the other without going deep enough into them.
Your work will be superficial because you are not focused, and it’s going to feel like you’ve been drowning because your mind was traveling everywhere.
Discipline is a big part of organization (and I have to say it was my little weakness).
#4 Get rid of the disruptive stuff for good
Set the silence mode on your phone, turn on Facebook’s notifications for an hour, shut your e-mail tab and finish what you’re doing. Long story short, focus on your project for good. You will achieve more work, faster and more efficiently. Screens, notifications and gadgets get our mind in a state of constant expectation and is out of focus – is he going to answer my text ? did she see the meme I tagged her in ? what about this order I made yesterday ?
I am hyper connected, it’s actually the point of my job. However, sometimes it is the very reason of my lack of concentration.
Besides, you will get way more notifications after an hour without checking than if you do every 3 minutes, right ?
#5 Take a step back
With this tip, I am both insisting on tip #2 and refuting tip #3 a little – don’t worry, we’ll get there. As we said with tip #2, taking a break physically is a good way to stay focused long term. It works with your work as well – taking a step back from a project allows you to look at it with another eye and eventually bring some useful modifications.
If you’re having a hard time with a creative chore for example, you can go back to a task that doesn’t require your creative mind – like an administrative job or collecting information. That way, you give your mind a break and it will be able to be inspired again later.
Try to divide your tasks in order to avoid mixing up everything and feeling overwhelmed (and that’s how I end up confirming tip #3, boom).
Friday afternoon after a productive week
Allez, au boulot !