Ask yourself these questions:
Are you a morning person, or are you a night owl? On what day of the week do you feel most productive? Is it Monday, when everything is fresh and you are rested from the weekend? Is it Friday, because you know that the work week is drawing to a close? Somewhere in between?
Let’s take a look at how your answers stack up against those of other workers.
In a recent poll conducted by Karen Leland of Gigaom.com, 36% of the 181 responders feel that they are most productive between the hours of 9am and 11am. Another 31% indicated that the early morning hours before 9am are their peak performance time, making for a full two-thirds who prefer the pre-lunch timeframe. 16% prefer the afternoon hours between 3pm and 6pm, while just 9% are most productive in the evening, and a mere 6% in the lunch and post-lunch hours of 12pm to 2pm.
One British research firm claims to have pinpointed the most productive minute - yes, minute - of the work week as 11:33am on Tuesday. Lisa Johnson Mandell of AOL Jobs cites their study of more than 3,000 responders, which indicates that Mondays are often spent recovering from weekend activities and catching up on accumulated work, while more than half of those surveyed indicated that they are already in an effective “wind down” mode by Wednesday. Tuesday is the clear-cut champion of productivity, at least amongst the majority.
So what does all of this mean? We all start out our work week with the best of intentions, but inevitably, things tend to get in the way and throw us off course. Should we simply be accepting of these patterns as the norm, or are there things we can do to break the mold and smooth out the productivity curve?
The employment specialists at Kavaliro are here to help. Below, we have compiled some invaluable tips that will help you to stay more calm, focused, and productive at work:
It is difficult to do, but you first have to acknowledge the fact that you most likely will not complete your to-do list by the end of every day or week.
Failure to accept this will cause you to run in circles and beat yourself up over minutia, elevating your stress levels, and further impairing your productivity and job satisfaction.
Prioritize your tasks.
Always attack high-value items first and leave the smaller, less important tasks for last. Get that heavy weight off of your shoulders right off the bat, and the rest of the day will seem like a breeze.
Don’t be afraid to delegate or ask for help.
Everyone has moments where they have more than they can handle. You’ll return the favor when the tables are turned.
Take everything in stride.
Remember that even customers and bosses have bad days, so don’t lament over negative situations – simply accept them for what they are, and move on.
Stay positive and learn from criticism.
Some of the best workers are those who take criticism, learn from it, and put positive changes into action. Constructive criticism is designed to help you learn and grow – not to set you back.
If you use both paper and virtual programs to manage your lists, calendars, etc., consider consolidating to one or the other. Sync your smart phone with your computer, and make sure that you are updating just one program to avoid letting things slip through the cracks.
Aside from your lunch break, taking short breaks throughout the day can help you clear your head and stay focused. Walk to get a drink, or simply divert your eyes from your computer screen for a few minutes and look out the window. Studies have proven that taking short (5 minutes or less) breaks throughout the day increases your productivity.
Set aside 10-15 minutes at both the beginning and end of your day.
Use this time to organize your desk and/or work area, update your task list and calendar, consolidate post-its and other notes, flag important emails (and clear out old ones) and prepare for the next day. Avoid checking new emails in the morning until these tasks are complete and you are fully prepared for the day.
Using these tips, and keeping an organizational system in place that works for you, can help you feel productive even outside of your preferred “peak” time.
So, what are some of your best productivity-boosting habits? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section below!