Staying consistently productive is an essential part of doing your job successfully. However, you may sometimes feel strained or overwhelmed due to workload, family business, or both. Balancing a work lifestyle can be tricky but possible. With the right mindset and organization tools, you can readily and successfully achieve your work goals without feeling burned out.
Let’s dive into some time management and productivity hacks to help you be dynamic and completely avoid feeling overwhelmed.
You may think you are the best multitasker, but you only limit yourself. Frequent multitaskers performed worse than the subjects who focused solely on completing one task at a time.
Stanford researchers performed a study to test the effectiveness of multitasking.
Conclusion: “Multitaskers are not able to filter out what’s not important to their current goal,” says Wagner, an associate professor of psychology.
The researchers also concluded that people who thought they performed well with multiple tasks were not at all. Efficiency was significantly lower in those who thought multitasking was the way to go.
Stick to only one task at a time and give it all your attention. By trying to do less, you might accomplish even more.
Set Goals Each Day
Setting daily goals and writing them down motivates you to achieve them. In addition, by writing down your goals or objectives this positive reinforcement gives you accountability, and you will feel even more responsible for completing the task.
Positive Psychology states that setting new goals helps guide focus and concentration. In addition, according to the research of Edward Lock and Gary Latham, leaders in goal setting and motivation, setting goals also helps the concentration of energy, which results in increased effort in all aspects, not just work.
In Lock’s article “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation,” clear motivators for employees to succeed were positive feedback and clear, distinct goals.
Setting goals and deadlines to complete them is important for individual and group workers. Set clear and concise goals to increase motivation and improve the effectiveness of goal accomplishments.
Block Out Distractions
Blocking out distractions goes hand in hand with avoiding multitasking. When you consume multiple media streams at once, for example, texting, watching tv, or navigating social media, you become susceptible to mind wandering.
According to a study by the University of California, the use of software blockers on workers’ computers during a work week resulted in workers reporting increased focus and productivity levels much higher than originally thought. The study attributed these characteristics to those who felt “in less control of their work”.
It becomes difficult to refocus on the task at hand after distractions, therefore wasting more time. So place your phone on do not disturb, silence your email or chat notifications for a time, and limit distracting noises.
Make sure your workspace is a distraction-free zone.
Create Templates for Routine Tasks with Kanban
If the tasks or activities you must complete daily are very similar, save time and create a template to which you can easily follow and plug-in daily information. This can include regularly sending emails, updating quotas, or creating presentations. Set up a reusable email template and an adaptable, user-friendly presentation format that can easily be used for months.
When you handle a team, solutions like Kanban Zone offer a wide array of templates ranging from Methodologies, Planning, Process Flows, Solutions, and Visual Board. They have templates like the Eisenhower Matrix, Getting Things Done (GTD), and MoSCoW that can help with prioritization. You can either leverage their existing ready-to-use templates or be creative and design your own.
If you cannot find a suitable template for your needs, Kanban Zone could personalize your board. Just contact the team, and they will gladly craft one for you!
Doing this will save you a lot of time, and instead of doing busy work, you will be one step ahead and onto another task.
Work in Short Bursts
Thanks to technological developments and excessive access to multiple media streams, our attention span and ability to focus dwindle every year. Therefore, working in short “bursts” can improve efficiency and productivity.
This method is called the Pomodoro technique, where you set a timer for 25 minutes, with each interval separated by 5-minute breaks. After four 25-minute intervals, you take a more extended break that lasts about 15-20 minutes. A study from the University of Birmingham evaluated the effects of the Pomodoro technique and concluded that procrastination reduction was prominent.
With a timer, your mind recognizes that you only have 25 minutes to complete a specific task and must make as much progress as possible.
Give this technique a try and see how you adapt to it.
Work with Small Batches of Content
One of the most effective productivity hacks that can help you feel less overwhelmed is dividing big projects into small tasks. Instead of working on one large task, separate it into several small tasks where possible. Concentrating on small tasks will allow you to complete them more quickly. Once small tasks are completed, they eventually combine into big tasks without realizing it.
Start your schedule by completing a few smaller tasks using the Pomodoro technique, and track your productivity — continue this process, with this technique, throughout your workday.
Know When to Work Alone
Some projects and tasks perfectly suit your qualifications and a keen eye for detail. However, if you consider yourself an expert in certain areas of your job, follow through with those tasks solo. Solo projects can prove efficient when done by just one person who is an expert in that field.
Research conducted by the University of Calgary studied the effects of working alone. It concluded that people in your work environment might be slowing you down. Their study explored the benefits and differences of working alone. It showed that an individual focused on the coworker’s work after they left the room. Attention was maintained on the counterpart’s work rather than the task.
Depending on the task, speed, and accuracy will be a priority in the workplace. Therefore, it is essential to identify the tasks that require these attributes and complete them individually.
If you’re the expert to complete this task, make it clear and go for it.
Know When to Ask for Help
If you just have too much on your plate, then no productivity hacks will work, apart from seeking out help. However, knowing when to ask for help to complete a task efficiently and on time is crucial. Asking for assistance can not only help you complete a task quicker, but it can also provide necessary coworking abilities between colleagues, which facilitates teamwork and cooperation.
According to the Harvard Business Review, cultivating a positive, communal workplace is essential to increasing productivity. Conversely, disengagement from one’s workplace can cause unnecessary stress resulting in a hostile and ‘cut-throat’ culture.
Relying on colleagues for help is a critical part of working for a medium to large-sized company. You can only do some things alone, so fostering your social connections while at work is essential. Whether virtual or in person, create a sense of belonging and meaningfulness behind the scenes of the day-to-day activities.
Use Time Management and Organization Tools
Manage how you spend your time with helpful remote work tools and time management and project management tools. There is a large selection of organization tools centered around collaborative project management, and one of these is Kanban Zone. As for time tracking and management, Everhour provides a great comparison chart for people to find what is best for their specific needs.
Calendar and Excel are also great tools for schedule and data organization, helping you plan daily or weekly activities and set reminders of important dates or meetings. Both applications are very user-friendly and can be shared with co-workers to view instantly.
When you handle a team, these time management and virtual collaboration tools can help simplify your work by connecting your entire organization, thus creating an effective working environment that results in faster delivery times and increased productivity and work alignment.
Taking a step back to recharge is an essential part of avoiding burnout. Dedicate your weekends to focusing on your personal life. Step away from the technology you use for work and place work notifications on do not disturb. Disconnect entirely from work-related issues and focus on yourself.
An important factor in mental clarity is exercise. Get outside or exercise once daily to get your body moving after sitting and working long periods. Exercise has countless supporting factors to boost overall health, including mental clarity, protection against diseases, and reducing anxiety and depression.
Exercise is a crucial factor in maintaining physical and mental health.
We can not completely avoid the overwhelmingness of work. Sometimes, work is easy to get caught up in, and other times it is easier to move past it. Either way, feeling overwhelmed with work is expected. However, a strategic organization can help you maintain a productive and healthy work ethic at the office or from home.
But to reduce the potential adverse health and social impact of anxiety and of being overwhelmed, it is crucial to establish strategies and hacks that will allow you to stay productive without feeling overburdened. These strategies can assist you in finding that line between productivity balance and being overworked.
Several ways exist to increase productivity and avoid feeling overwhelmed. You can maximize your efficiency and minimize stress by staying organized, setting goals, taking regular breaks, and delegating tasks where possible.
Additionally, optimizing your workspace, managing distractions, and focusing on a single task at a time can help you stay productive and focused. Using helpful tools like Kanban Zone also helps improve productivity.
Finally, it is essential to remember that it is ok to take time to relax and recharge. With these productivity hacks, you can be more efficient and improve your work-life balance.