How to Be More Productive at Home and at Work

How to Be More Productive at Home and at Work

Read Time: 4 Minutes

instantprint

01 Oct 2019

Are you one of those people who always finds themselves thinking ‘I wish there were more hours in the day’? 

Unfortunately, we can’t extend the day – but we can show you how to use the hours you have got more productively. 

From breaking bad habits to bettering your time management skills, there are a lot of things you can do to increase productivity both at work and at home. 

So, whatever it is you wish you could do more of, here’s exactly how to have your cake and eat it too.

 

  1. Make a To-Do List 

    Take some time first thing on a Monday morning to go through everything you want to complete this week. Try and write everything you can think of, even if it’s small. Every time you complete something, tick it off – there’s just something so satisfying about filling your sheet with ticks!
     
  2. Set Achievable Goals

    Think about your long-term goal. What do you want to achieve in the next quarter, or 6 months or a year? Then, what are you going to do this week to work towards completing that task? By breaking your goals down into more achievable little chunks, it becomes a lot easier to motivate yourself. 
     
  3. Get a Diary – and Use it

    Whether you choose a physical diary or an online one, a diary is the best way to keep track of your goals. Write down your deadlines, both near and far, to keep on track of what needs to be finished by when.
     
  4. Work the Hours that Suit You 

    Everyone has 2 peak hours where they’re most productive. Some people are early birds, others are night owls. You’ll already know in your own mind when you’re most productive, so make sure you’re making the most of that time by working on your most important projects then.
     
  5. Keep Your Workspace Tidy

    Mess = stress. Having a clear and tidy desk can make you a lot more productive! In fact, Harvard University conducted an experiment where 100 undergraduate students were asked to complete an impossible puzzle at either a perfectly tidy desk or a cluttered one. The ones at the tidy desk attempted the puzzle for an average of 18.5 minutes, whereas those at the cluttered desk gave up after just 11 minutes, meaning the tidy desk helped boost concentration levels and kept the students working for longer. Don’t let your desk be the reason you’re not working at your full potential!
     
  6. Do the Most Important Tasks First

    It might be tempting to get your short and quick tasks out of the way first, but this can actually be quite demotivating in the long run. Prioritise your tasks so that you’re always completing the big important ones first – it’ll make it easier to use your energy wisely and hit deadlines.
     
  7. Ask for Help or Get a Second Opinion

    If you’re stuck in a rut, it’s tempting to sit and wait for inspiration hit you. We don’t need to tell you that this isn’t a productive use of your time. Never be afraid to ask questions or to get someone to have a look over what work you’ve done so far to help you complete the task faster.
     
  8. Take Short, Regular Breaks

    When you’re planning out your day, remember to plan in some breaks. Concentrating on one project for a long time can dampen your motivation.  As contrary as it sounds, taking a break and then coming back to it with a fresh mind can actually help you to complete tasks to a better standard and more quickly.
     
  9. Identify Your Bad Habits/Time Wasters

    Are you a serial scroller? Or maybe you’re prone to watching a few too many cat videos? As well as your to-do list, write down a list of the bad habits you’ve got that make your day less than productive. This will then act as a reminder of what you shouldn’t be doing.
     
  10. Get into a Routine

    A major stumbling block, especially for those working from home, has to be getting into a routine. It’s easy to think ‘I don’t feel like it today’, or ‘I’ve got writer’s block’, but these thoughts aren’t necessarily helpful. 

    Bestselling writer of 57 novels Stephen King is a great example of how a routine can help your productivity. In an interview with Game of Thrones Author, George R.R. Martin, he explained the rigidity of his morning routine and how he reaches his goal of 6 pages a day:

    “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places…The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”
     
  11. Exercise

    You’ll hear a lot of advice telling you that the secret to being more productive is getting a good night’s sleep – which is easier said than done! By making sure you plan in regular exercise, even just a couple of times a week, you’ll be getting a higher quality of sleep, which in turn gives you energy to be as productive as possible with your day.

     
  12. Drink More Water

    Brain fog? Headache? Dry throat? Being dehydrated can cause all of these things and more can lead you to produce low quality work at a slow pace. Keep a bottle of water next to you at all times and it’ll soon become a habit.
     
  13. Stop Making Excuses

    You know who you are. How many times have you told yourself you haven’t got enough time or energy, or you’d be better waiting? Procrastination is a hard habit to break. To form new habits, healthier habits, it’s okay to start small. If you want to make it a habit of working on a project for 3 hours a day, start at 1 hour and work your way up. You need to create a 30-page presentation, just do it one page at a time.

     
  14. Uninstall Your Social Media Apps

    BBC Panorama found that social media platforms that use ‘infinite scroll’, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, keep users looking at their phones for longer than necessary – it’s an addictive habit. Give yourself a time out from social media to see a boost in productivity; either delete the apps or put your phone somewhere you’re not tempted to grab for it mindlessly.
     
  15. Reflect

    You’ve ploughed through a load of work, but you can feel yourself starting to drift from the topic at hand. Sound familiar? There’s nothing wrong with taking frequent breaks to look back and reflect on what you’ve done so far, making sure you’re on track to achieve your goals. Use this as an opportunity to steer yourself back on path.

 

 

We hope this quick list will help you improve your productivity levels. Breaking through bad habits is especially difficult if you’re working from home – for more help with this check out 10 ways to be more productive when working from home
 

Jessica Lindley

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m instantprint’s Content Executive. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.