There's no doubt about it, we're in fast-paced industry. Technology moves quickly and to stay ahead of our B2B tech clients and their various industries, we have to go even faster. On one hand, it keeps things interesting, but how can we stay productive and get everything done while still trying to achieve balance?
Multitasking is a fact of life. In addition to my role at McBru, I wear a lot of other hats. I'm a wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister and I even have a few hobbies. And yes, I'm busy. Sometimes I’m very, very busy. But I've adopted a few daily habits that help me stay focused at work, get things done and for the most part, maintain a sense of balanced.
Here are five of my favorites:
- Make a daily to-do list- I plan out my day the night before. Before bed, I spend a few minutes thinking about the next day and making a list of the important tasks I need to complete. This helps me feel like I already have a head start on the next day and I can get a better night's sleep. I write my lists in an old-school spiral-bound notebook that I keep on my desk, so at any given time I can see what I've accomplished and what still needs to be done. Every time I make a new commitment, I add it to the list and cross it off when it's done.
- Prioritize tasks - I start my day by doing the most important things first. After they’re done, I move on to the lower priority items. I try not to overload myself with too many tasks. I find a greater sense of accomplishment and enjoyment if I complete a smaller number of high-quality tasks rather than trying to do lots of things half-heartedly.
- Minimize distractions - Distractions are everywhere in our instant-gratification society: IM, email, text, social media and the list goes on and on. The temptation to be connected all the time and respond immediately to everything is intense! But multitasking has its downside. Trying to do too many things at once has a negative impact on the quality of your work. Being in the present, concentrating and not getting sidetracked is challenging and takes effort. Ultimately it's more rewarding, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time and complete it to the best of your ability.
- Don't over-commit - I'm not going to lie, this one's hard. Especially if you're a people-pleaser or an over-achiever. I'm not saying I'm either of those, but I do find myself struggling not to over commit. However, I've learned that being honest and realistic about what can and cannot get done in a given day helps to alleviate a lot of stress. It actually improves my productivity because I'm not trying to do too many things at once. When a co-worker or client makes a request, I look at my to-do list and if it's unrealistic given my current tasks, I try and negotiate a deadline that I can fully commit to.
- Make time for activity - It's simple, but this one might be the most important of all. Regular exercise can improve all aspects of your life, including work productivity. Being more alert and energetic can help you focus and get your job done faster and better. In addition to sweating at the gym, I’ve found a few ways to incorporate activity into my day. I haven't traded in my desk for a treadmill just yet, but I do use a balance-ball chair in the office. I also try to stand while working some of the time. If I am sitting, I try to stand up and get a couple of minutes of activity in between tasks (stretching, squats, lunges). Whenever possible, I try to use meetings, particularly phone calls, as an opportunity to stand up and walk around.
I'd love to hear some of the habits you've developed to stay focused and productive!
Image credit: Lifehack