So you survived another year full of projects, tasks. Ready for the next?
These days, having to work on many projects at the same time seems both a blessing and a curse. Sure it’s nice to keep occupied and keep the work (and paycheck) going. But since we’re living in terribly fast-paced work environments, well, no wonder work-related stress is spiking in every sector.
If you want to keep focused while having your hands on (too) many projects and hit all your targets, this is where you can start.
How to be the top productive employee in 2020
- Get the clear picture;
- Be careful with your time;
- Use the right tools to help you;
- Run away from distractions;
- Learn to manage your “work” brain.
I know that in the busiest days, the sight of an immense to-do list can make even the most motivated people want to go home and curl back to bed. In addition, constantly switching attention between multiple tasks takes a toll on focus and productivity. Not to mention, being assigned to multiple teams means having to deal with different personalities, hierarchies, and work styles.
How can you distribute your focus and commitment to every task, without forgetting something and getting stressed?
It’s impossible to distribute your efforts if you don’t know exactly how many tasks you’re going to work on. You also have to be aware of timelines and deadlines.
Before you can focus on the single task, make sure to know what you’re going to work on for the day, the week, and the month.
Clear communication with the rest of the team and with your managers as well will ensure just that.
Once you get the list of all the to-dos, the next step is to establish priorities and see how to fit them in your schedule. Not all tasks are created equal. And again, communication with the rest of the team is necessary to understand the real scale of priorities.
When you have to take care of many different tasks throughout the day, you really have to watch how you use your time.
There are many time tracking tools available out there, both for teams and for personal use. By tracking your time every day, not only will you make sure to stay on schedule, but you’ll also see clearly what’s taking away all your work hours (and you’ll make the timesheet process less painful).
It’s important to use a time tracking method that fits in the way you work, and that you can access everywhere. Wasting time by managing time is, ironically, one of the main reasons why people give up in the first place.
Since we mentioned time tracking tools, let’s appreciate how technology can help us get through the most tedious tasks of the day. There are so many apps and services out there for tasks management, email management, project organization, scheduling, and so on. Even better when they integrate with each other to provide you with a painless experience.
Other automation tools like Zapier connect all the services by saving you precious time for repetitive tasks.
*ding* A new Slack notification
*ding* New email in the inbox
Someone passing by and asking you stuff before you can even switch your brain from the task to the question.
Every day, we’re bombarded with distractions. The open office set up, which has been very popular for years, has worsened this problem. It’s not the only culprit though, as real-time technology is now quite invasive in our lives.
Avoiding all distractions is difficult, but not impossible.
- Turn off all notifications and alerts;
- Make it clear to others when you don’t want to be disturbed;
- Put your headphones on to listen to music or white noise;
- Clear your desk and to be free from papers flying around, things to fiddle around with;
- Literally change office.
Did you know that multitasking makes you lose IQ points? And that the brain needs 23 minutes to refocus once it’s been distracted?
We’re humans after all, and our brain can only take on so much. This is why have to learn how to distribute your focus and brainpower so that you don’t exert yourself while giving 100% when you need to.
- Learn the hours when you’re most productive;
- Devote those hours for high-energy, challenging tasks;
- Keep creative of menial tasks for when you’re more tired.
And most importantly:
- Know when to take a break.
From taking regular breaks through the day, to switching off your “work mode” when you’re home, by devoting the right amount of time to resting, you’ll keep fresh and alert for when the going gets tough.
Now go and make this the most productive year yet!