If you’ve been struggling to focus and stay productive, you’re not alone. According to researchers, students and workers alike have experienced difficulty focusing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plus, the thrill of working from home has worn off for those who went remote for the first time in 2020, and many have found themselves increasingly susceptible to distractions. For this reason, managers and business owners may find themselves looking for ways to keep themselves or their employees focused and working toward their goals.
To help you and your team regain focus and get on track for the new year, we’ve gathered some tips for productivity. Try out these ideas and remain patient with yourself as you do so. With the right attitude and a little determination, you can make 2022 a productive and successful year!
Here are 8 tips to boost your productivity.
To be truly productive, you need to have a single focus when working. Research has shown that multitasking is not only ineffective, but actually negatively affects both productivity and brain health. Plus, when dividing your focus between two tasks, you’re not giving either one the attention it likely needs and deserves.
When you perform one task at a time, you can let yourself get in the zone or “flow state,” as it’s known in psychology. The flow state is where we are able to do our best work – and where we can find more enjoyment in our work, too.
Setting up productivity rituals is a way to build lasting habits around being productive. The fun part? These habits don’t necessarily have to do with work – they can be rituals around getting in the mindset for work by clearing your head, resetting, or refueling. Your productivity rituals can be whatever you want them to be, but some common ones are:
You may already have some similar habits in place, but if not, consider what small rituals you can fit into your day to help you refocus and feel your best. Productivity rituals help us fill our cup so we can get done what we need to do.
To-do lists are a classic and effective method for productivity. Even if you already use to-do lists, there may be some new to-do list habits you could add to boost your productivity. Here are a few ideas:
Being productive doesn’t mean you have to do it all. There’s likely a lot of tasks on your to-do list taking up time that could better be spent on more valuable work, like selling – or relaxing, if your busy schedule is cutting into your personal time. Take some of the weight off your shoulders by delegating time-consuming or “busy” work wherever possible. Find new ways to outsource tasks: whether chores at home, by having groceries delivered or getting support from family members; or tasks at work, by delegating to others.
To stay productive, it’s important to block out distractions and set strong boundaries around them. Try making a “not-to-do" list to outline the distractions you’re working to reduce or avoid. This will help you set your intentions and decide what boundaries feel right for you. Some examples of boundaries for distractions are:
Instead of having countless interruptions throughout the day, try to group interruptions so your workflow is paused fewer times. A good tactic for this is to stay focused on work for the first 55 minutes of the hour, and then save distractions, interruptions, or personal tasks for the last 5 minutes of the hour (similar to the Pomodoro Technique). For example, plan to check personal email or texts, refill your water bottle, or grab a snack during your 5-minute break. Taking one short break to do these side tasks is better than interrupting your workflow countless times to do each task individually.
Fun can be a powerful motivator. Research has shown people perform better when there is some type of instant gratification, reward, or feedback. This doesn’t mean productivity should always be treated like a game, but you can gamify productivity by finding ways to incorporate reward and gratification into your daily habits.
Take a moment to feel proud and celebrate yourself when checking an item off your to-do list. Or time yourself to see how long you can stay focused for, then try to beat your best time. Incorporate fun rewards for your team to support their productivity, as well.
Don’t be hard on yourself – adjusting to new habits takes time! Stay willing to try out new productivity techniques and really give them a chance. All skills take practice, and forming new habits requires patience with ourselves.