Quick Tips for Productivity

 Welcome to the new year!

You know how, at the beginning of the year, you make a bunch of plans and resolutions? You start out strong, everything is going great and then suddenly it’s February and you’re already behind. Well! Let’s go over a few tips to get you back on track!

Prioritize

  • Determine what you need to accomplish. This may mean making a list and numbering it according to importance or writing items on sticky notes and rearranging them.
  • Figure out a system of prioritizing items. Do you want to categorize items using a Priority Matrix? Or maybe you want to group them by due dates. Whichever system you choose, don’t be afraid to change it up if it doesn’t work for you.

Set a Time Frame for Your Goals

  • Putting yourself on a schedule can help ensure you don’t fall behind on projects or end up doing everything all at one time (known as the dreaded ‘crunch’).
  • Consider creating personal Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). I design my OKRs quarterly and add projects according to when they’re due or when I think it’s realistic to complete them. You can learn more about OKRs here.

Ask for Help When Needed

  • Sometimes, there is more work than you know what to do with. In these cases, consider asking for assistance. In a work setting, make sure you are in communication with your supervisor so that they can offer solutions.
  • In a personal setting, I found this is a great way to utilize a network – real life friends or LinkedIn will do! It has been invaluable having someone to bounce ideas off of, get suggestions on things I have no prior experience with and hold me accountable to meeting my goals.

Improve Your Skill Set

  • Learning new skills may lead you to find new ways to complete tasks. I can’t tell you how many new formulas I’ve learned in the last year, especially switching from Excel to Google Sheets.
  • This can encompass signing up for free classes (try Alison, UniversalClass or any of the myriad MOOCs), Youtube videos or local workshops in your area.

Make Technology Your Friend

  • Try different programs, either on your computer, tablet or mobile device, designed to make your life portable. Test out a simplex application that creates to-do lists or a more complex  app that makes a copy of all your notes available to you online.
  • Have you tried Trello, Zapier, Sortd, Wunderlist or Evernote? How about a bluetooth keyboard for your tablet? If you’re on a Mac, check out the built-in dictation software!

Take a Break and Stay Positive

  • Sometimes, there’s just too much to do. Your mind starts to wander and mistakes start cropping up. It’s okay to take a short break. Don’t let deadlines overwhelm you, even self-imposed ones. Think about something funny someone said or ponder a quote you’ve recently heard. These small moments can help you regain your momentum.

Have any other go-to’s for increasing productivity? Leave a comment!

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