When it comes to work, many of us measure our day by the amount of productivity we achieve. However, distractions and interruptions to the flow of our day can be inevitable. Also, productivity depends on many different factors, including energy levels, motivation and the ability to break down tasks. Today, we will explore different ways to boost productivity and drive in the workplace.
Sooner or later, there will be that one looming task. It could be making that phone call, filing paperwork, or even something as simple as organizing your desktop. There are different reasons we procrastinate tasks. It could be the subconscious fear of failure, feeling overwhelmed, or just not knowing where to begin. Attempting to identify the reason could be a good place to start. Understanding our own behavior can help us break the pattern and uncover our internal beliefs.
For instance, Monica, a Management Consultant, says an aspect of her job she is reluctant to complete is networking. While networking is vital to her position, the fear of potential clients being annoyed and unwilling to talk can cause her hesitation. After noticing this fear and breaking it down, Monica realized, “I have to remember the majority of people are happy to talk when they have the time. A reach out to someone usually do not end up badly.” Uncovering our internal fears and beliefs while debunking them with evidence can completely turn the day around and help us complete tasks that otherwise seem scary.
An effective tool used in psychology is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy intervenes with unhelpful, anxious and inhibiting thoughts and provides the opportunity to deflate the power of these thoughts. The good news is this type of therapy can be completed anywhere. A simple google search for “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Worksheets” can help you start the process of identifying thoughts that don’t serve your productivity and defeating them with logic.
Another strategy proven to be efficient is called “Eating the Frog.” It is unknown who invented this concept, but the metaphor is as follows: if you are forced to eat a frog every day, getting it over with in the morning ensures that the rest of your day likely won’t get worse. While it’s a strange visual, it does translate to the work world. Essentially, if you complete the hardest, most daunting or most annoying task during the first part of your day, the rest of your day will be more productive and less stressful.
Jen, a Regional Sales Manager “eats the frog” every morning. “I typically tackle the most mentally draining things in the mornings and keep the afternoon light for overflow and mindless tasks.” When you continue to put off a task, it might feel okay in the moment, but the anxiety and necessity to complete the task remains. Therefore, accomplishing the tasks we want to avoid most first thing in the morning or first part of our work schedule can make the day more satisfying. Furthermore, beginning the day in a productive manner can set the tone for the remaining time.
The next step is simple, but sometimes easier said than done: make a list. Did you know you are 42% more likely to accomplish your goals just by writing them down? Even if the task seems simple, and you think you will accomplish it without writing it down, still go ahead and add it to your notes. The psychology behind actually putting pen to paper and writing goals is quite interesting. Something about the action creates a vision, allowing you to see your goals in a more tangible way. Plus, the satisfaction of drawing a line of completion through the task cannot be beat.
Finally, give yourself a break. Yes, a break! Many people define their worth by their productivity level, and this can actually be very harmful. Setting goals is important, but beating yourself up for “not doing enough” can very likely kill your productivity and motivation. Remember that you are human. You will have bad days, tired days, days where you slept wrong, days when it seems like everything that could go wrong did. You will also have great days where it feels like everything just clicks. At the end of any type of day, you are who you go home with, wake up with, and go to work with.
The way you talk to yourself matters! If you make a mistake, gently remind yourself that you are human and this opportunity helped you learn to improve next time. If you weren’t as productive as you wanted to be, explore the reasons. Maybe you slept poorly or maybe there is an outside stress. In any case, at the end of the day instead of measuring your worth by your productivity level, ask yourself this: did I do the best I could today given the circumstances of my present situation? This way, it isn’t about how much you accomplished; rather, it’s about how hard you tried. And at the end of the day, doing our best for who we are and where we are in a moment is all we can do.