Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Work Day
After a half decade in the “real world” and college life prior to this, I’ve learned a few things about managing my time. Through it all, I know with absolute certainty that I thrive in a flexible work environment where creativity is part of my everyday and I am free to accomplish the tasks at hand in my own way. Like Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do.” I meet my deadlines EVERY SINGLE TIME. How? By getting the most out of my work day.
- Focus all of your attention on your tasks for short chunks of time. No one can work a straight 8-hours and produce greatness. Life just doesn’t jive like that. For me, I’ve found that splitting up my day into 1-2 hour focus segments with a 15-20 minute brain break (e.g., play with my son, let the dog out, unload the dishwasher, make a fresh cup of tea) is ideal. Any more than that and my productivity level drops exponentially. Why? Busyness. See tip #2.
- Work with intention, not busyness. Being busy is not the same thing as getting sh*! done. I look at my to-do list first thing every morning and prioritize. I set my intentions and I discipline myself to accomplish my task list. Now, I’m human so busyness does creep into my work once in a while … when it does I notice and it really weighs me down. Busyness is all that extra stuff that somehow seeps into how you are trying to accomplish your task list. For example, if I have a Trending article to research and I start poking around on the Web, find something interesting, click, find something else, click, notice someone to follow on Twitter, click, see a neat post, click … off task and busy. See what I mean? Train yourself to catch the busyness cycle in the beginning so it doesn’t tie up your focus time.
- Getting started is the hardest part. This is so true! Have you ever just sat and stared at your computer screen willing something to inspire you to touch a letter key? The goal here is to just get started. Tap that M, and tap it again. It doesn’t matter if your first go is crap, it matters that you got your mind in the mix and you’re focused. I know this helps me at least once a week, if not more.
- Take time to think. Reflect. Ponder. Consider. React. Ask yourself: What went really well today? What didn’t I get to? What stopped me? What should or could I add? In all that we do, we need to take time to reflect. Yes, we’re working to provide a good or service for others, but we also need to understand how our work makes us feel. It’s only when we know how we feel about our accomplishments that we can really make the most out of our future work days.
There you have it. My top four tips for getting the most out of your work day. When I’m focused, intentional, and in the groove, I feel unstoppable.