Staying energized and motivated throughout the day can be tough. Especially when there’s so much on your to-do list already. Erin Falconer, author of HOW TO GET SH*T DONE, shares her tips for productivity.
#1. Decide what you’re working on.
Create a to-do list, but one that’s not too long. Writing a novel-length list is only going to leave you feeling like you failed.
#2. Do one thing and one thing only.
The key to productivity sprints is a single focus. No matter what we may tell ourselves, multitasking is a myth and one that leads us to feel exhausted and defeated. Our brains can do one job at a time, and every time we flick from one task to another (or, say, from writing a script, then jumping onto Facebook for a few seconds), we lose momentum, or what psychologists call flow (when we’re completely engaged in an activity, we’re both relaxed and energized). If you work on a computer, this means while you’re doing focused work, you don’t have email, Twitter, or Facebook open. Clear your desk of everything except the work you’re tackling.
#3. Set a timer.
How long we’re best able to focus on a single task is up for debate. In creating his well-known Pomodoro Technique, Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track twenty-five minutes of concentrated work, followed by a five-minute break. Research performed by DeskTime, a time-tracking app, shows that fifty-two minutes of work followed by a seventeen-minute break may be an ideal schedule for productivity. There probably isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the perfect work-break balance. In my opinion, half an hour of work followed by a five-minute break is just about perfect. It’s enough time to move forward with a project but not too long that I’m daunted to start. Whatever you choose, set a timer and break when it’s time to break. Knowing a break is coming has been shown by a study out of Cornell University to make you use your work time more efficiently.
#4. Get up and move.
Exercise is important for our physical, mental, and emotional health, but did you know it also makes us smarter? A short burst of exercise will boost your mood, but it also increases your ability to work once you’re back at it. A study out of the University of Illinois showed that kids who took a brisk walk were better able to focus afterward than kids who didn’t move. Likely you’re not keen to get sweaty in the middle of your workday, but don’t make this a leisurely stroll. It’s great if you can step outside and get some fresh air, but indoor walks deliver the same mental benefits.
#5. Keep track.
As you’re cycling through your productivity sprints, make note of what you’re striking off your to-do list. You always want to build momentum, and feeling like you’re succeeding is powerfully motivating.
Find out how to inspire motivation in HOW TO GET Sh*T DONE by Erin Falconer!
Tips on Life & Love: Motivate Yourself: Productivity Starts at Your Desk
Excerpted from How to Get Sh*t Done by Erin Falconer Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash.