Have you been racing against the clock? Working on tight deadlines while juggling many tasks at once does not exactly make for a productive atmosphere.
The struggle to improve our time management skills can start from small, simple everyday work habits. Human beings are creatures of habit after all! Let’s see how you can be more productive at work with 5 simple daily habits you can take up today.
How to improve workplace productivity
Productive people who achieve a lot in their days and still manage to keep a balance between work and life seem to have something in common: they follow a routine.
Everybody has the same 24 hours in their days – the trick is to use them effectively. To do so, the most successful people all seem to follow routines that keep them productive.
Keeping up structured productive habits is useful for many reasons:
- it keeps us focused and remove distractions;
- routines give structure to chaotic days;
- performing regular tasks every day helps us get in the “productivity zone“;
It sounds all easy, but actually, keeping up productive habits is more difficult than it seems. Our brain needs some time to follow productive habits before they stick. One of the reason is that we commit to overly complicated routines that do not fit with our work habits at all.
The trick is to start small, picking one simple habit and keeping it up for a while. From there you can add up and transform the way you work and increase your productivity.
5 Habits that will develop your time management skills in the workplace
Luckily, you don’t have to look too far if you don’t know where to start. You can, for example, start with one of these:
#1 – Start working every day at the same time
Those who start well are halfway there, right? If you start working every day at the same time, you’ll help your mind to set itself into “productivity mode”. Plus, having a fixed starting time will help you keep your work within deadlines and avoid running late.
It’s easier for employees who have to punch in at fixed times every morning. Things get more difficult for those who go to work at flexible hours, remote workers, and freelancers.
Those who work from home, in particular, don’t have exactly a “workplace” to go to and the lines between job and personal life can get dangerously blurry. For those workers who self-manage their days, starting every day at the same time is an important self-discipline practice that leads to more productive days.
#2 – Use the first 15 minutes to plan your day
With so many things to do every day, it seems perfectly normal to dive head-on in the workday and immediately start tackling tasks. But without clear plans and priorities, the risk is to waste too much time on unnecessary tasks, or to helplessly switch from to-dos without completing anything.
Save 15 minutes every morning for planning your day with a fresh mind. Get your thoughts in order on what you need to do, and establish right away the top priorities for the day. Doing this exercise on daily basis will make sure you spend your time on what really matters.
#3 – Keep a to-do list
Some people love to-do lists, some people find them stressful. Why should you try to make having a to-do list a habit? Well, the human brain is bad at remembering things, to begin with. Secondly, having a to-do list is good to keep you motivated and focused. If you don’t like post-it notes and papers flying around, you can always try one of the many to-do lists apps available.
Just to make sure to keep your to-do list doable and realistic.
#4 – Start a timer while you work
Improving one’s time management skills starts with knowing where time goes. This is why I recommend setting up a timer while working. Having an active timer will keep you focused on the task at hand, while tracking precisely how the time’s been spent. Basically every smartphone now has a “timer” mode installed. For those who look for structured, more precise solutions to save and gather all the time data, there are several time tracking tools and apps available, some specifically designed to be used for work.
#5 – Do the worst task first
Ok, I’ll admit that this one is that easy put into practice. However, starting the day by tackling the most dreaded task (ever heard of the expression “Eat the frog“?) is recommended by many productivity experts as a way to break the cycle of procrastination.
Getting rid of a big, mean-looking task will create positive momentum and motivation that you can carry on for the rest of the day. Try it every day and let me know what you think!
What simple habit keeps you prouctive all day? Let us know in the comments! If you still struggle with getting things done in your day, learn how time tracking can keep you productive all day.
Cover photo via Stocksnap.io