Some days, productivity comes naturally and you can destroy tasks like it’s no one’s business. Other times, distractions seem to pop up everywhere and you need all the help you can get, just to get anything done. Here are four productivity tips, proven to help you regain focus at the office.
Organize Your Digital Desktop
It goes without saying that a messy desk is a sure way to derail productivity, but what about your PC’s desktop? If it’s cluttered with useless icons and files from projects that are scattered in random places, then it will take you longer to accomplish anything, and you’re more likely to get distracted. For starters, try clearing enough desktop icons that you can actually see your desktop image. You may be surprised how peaceful it is to boot up your PC and see a desktop that’s perfectly organized. You will also want to select a desktop image that is calm and colorful, seeing as this has been shown to boost memory retention and employee engagement.
Make Bad Habits Difficult to Do
It’s easy to tear into an entire sleeve of Pringles if you’ve got the snack sitting on your desk. However, you’d think twice if you have to walk across the office building to get it. This principle of “making bad habits harder to do” applies to virtually anything that distracts you from being as productive as you’d like to be. For example, you can charge your distracting smartphone’s battery in the next room while you work at your desk, and consider a content filtering solution for your company’s network in order to block the most distracting websites on the Internet.
Delayed Gratification Can Be a Powerful Ally
Think for a moment about the things that have the power to pull you away from what you’re working on, just so you can have a “quick fix.” Checking social media is one good example, taking a brief break to chat with your coworkers is another. The problem with the lure of these distractions is that, once you’re pulled away from a project, it can take anywhere from five-to-fifteen minutes just to regain focus. Instead, promise yourself that you will fully indulge in the distraction you crave if you can pull off 30 minutes or even an hour’s worth of uninterrupted work. Using delayed gratification is a great way to become more disciplined, and in the end, giving your work the full attention it deserves and then really allowing yourself to kick back and fully engage in what you crave (like writing a lengthy social media post or having a snack) will be much more satisfying.
“Do What Takes Two”
You get random small tasks piled on your schedule all day long. If it’s something quick that will take less than two minutes to do, it’s recommended that you knock it out as soon as you’re made aware of it, instead of letting it fester on your schedule and become a source of stress throughout the workday. InformationWeek explains this logic:
The problem is that later never comes at the perfect time. There will always be more pressing responsibilities at hand, and those smaller tasks will continue to accumulate throughout the day. Once-minor errands become a source of stress as they sit on your to-do list… [“Do what takes two” is] an easy way to eliminate unnecessary stress, especially because these simple tasks will take up so little time.
Being productive doesn’t have to be difficult. Tweaking your work routine in these four simple ways should yield major dividends. There’s plenty more productivity tips out there. What are some of your favorite ways to stay on task and minimize the distractions in your workplace? Share them with us in the comments!