Here’s the thing about staying focused at work: when we’re really busy or have lots going around us, it can get to the point where we feel so overwhelmed that we get stuck in analysis paralysis and may need a little help in our time management skills. And the pressure from having such a hefty to-do list can sometimes make it hard to keep up with productivity and easy for procrastination to creep in.
So it’s okay if you need a little help making organization and focus a priority when managing a busy schedule. That’s why I’m sharing 10 of my favorite hacks that will change the way you work and make productivity a breeze!
#1 - Dedicate a small amount of time on weekends to get ahead on your to-do list
Part of the reason why so many of us have a hard time staying productive at work is because we get overwhelmed by what’s expected for the week ahead. When Monday morning arrives, and you see your giant to-do list, it can cause us to immediately burn out and become unfocused. That’s why I recommend dedicating a small amount of time, about an hour or so, over the weekend to check in what you’ve got going for the week ahead. Even just seeing your tasks and noting what you can easily tackle ahead of time can give you the breathing room you may need when your workweek begins.
#2 - Pick a couple of days out of the week to start your day a little earlier
Similar to getting ahead on projects or tasks over the weekend, committing to starting your workday just a little bit earlier is a technique I use to lean into a much more calm and productive day. By starting early, when it’s nice and quiet, you can use that tranquil time to operate with even more clarity and focus. This time should be spent doing tasks that require more focus and attention, like writing or doing research.
#3 - Rid yourself of external distractions
Speaking of focus, another great hack is to remove and rid yourself of external distractions. This means anything in your surrounding work area that draws your focus away from getting things done. Whether that’s moving your smartphone to a different room, so you’re not tempted to constantly check notifications or aimlessly scroll through social media. Or, that could even be cleaning up your workspace to clear out the visual clutter, which can help prevent not only your eyes but your mind from wandering.
#4 - Silence notifications
Silencing notifications is yet another way to help keep up with work-life productivity. Sometimes when you’re constantly hearing email pings or smartphone notifications, it can prevent us from staying honed in on a particular task. So silencing notifications when you’re trying to focus is an incredibly easy way to get things done, distraction-free!
#5 - Press mute on the music
Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to music during the workday. And although it’s a great way to keep spirits high, it can also become a hidden source of distraction, preventing you from staying on top of things productively. So if you find yourself humming or singing along to your music while you work, chances are you may be more distracted than you think. Don’t feel like you can’t listen to music altogether because it can be a great way to infuse self-care into our workday, but be mindful of how much you’re able to get done when the music is playing and when it’s not.
#6 - Take regular breaks
Although taking a break may not feel productive in the moment, it’s an incredible way to manage stress and burnout. Not only are regular breaks a great way to allow yourself the opportunity to breathe when things feel overwhelming, but they also provide a sense of order to days that feel hectic. The key is to set time limits on your breaks and use that time strategically to mentally detach yourself from the things that can cause brain fog and burnout. This is a great time to stretch, go for a quick walk, or have a snack. You’ll be doing yourself a favor and providing your body with the rest and reset it needs to make it through the rest of the day.
#7 - Block out tasks on your calendar
Time blocking is incredibly helpful when it comes to hacking productivity! Scheduling dedicated times to work on different tasks can help keep your day organized and constantly inflow. Whether it’s a zoom meeting or a brainstorming session with colleagues, keeping your calendar organized is one of the most straightforward ways to stay on top of just about everything. Even the breaks you take throughout the day can be added to your main calendar or planner, to ensure that you have time to take a quick walk, do some stretching, and refocus your mind.
#8 - Organize tasks by priority
When you’re organizing your tasks on your calendar, it’s also a great idea to organize them by priority, keeping bigger, more urgent tasks at the start of your day. Prioritizing in this way reduces stress and prevents the inclination to cram or rush tasks that need more attention. It’s also a great feeling to check off those bigger tasks you get done at the beginning of the day to keep you motivated throughout the rest of your day.
#9 - Make the call
The reality is that we live in a digital age where the go-to communication is via email, text message, and digital messaging on social media. But sometimes, in a professional or work setting, picking up the phone can save quite a bit of time and effort, rather than dealing with the back and forth of email. We can sometimes spend days going back and forth communicating with others digitally, but opting to have a quick clarity call can cut down on confusion and bring forth more efficiency. You can even use that time spent on the phone to get outdoors and go for a walk!
#10 - Get comfortable delegating
Part of the reason why staying productive at work can be challenging is because we sometimes think we have to handle everything on our own. But you may be surprised as to how much others on your team can help lessen your workload. So understand that it’s okay to delegate tasks as that can help get the job done even faster and more efficiently.
And my last tip is a special gift for you. Well, actually, 3 gifts you can use to tap into the full power of your subconscious mind to become the most productive, successful version of yourself and to attract your deepest desires and dreams. I think you’re really going to enjoy them! :-)
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.