Making The Most Of Every Day
Making the most of your work day can sometimes feel like a breeze; but oftentimes, we find the day getting away with us, our to-do list half completed, and head home feeling frustrated. It’s an infuriating cycle. So how do we make the most of our every day? What secret hacks do the business pros use to optimise productivity and smash their company goals, week on week?
As it happens, we’ve found some of the best tips and tricks to revolutionise your work week and get the most out of every day. Let’s take a look.
Master The To-Do List
We all know what it’s like first thing in the morning: we set out with a great plan, got lost in one task and sidetracked by another, and by 10am we’ve forgotten half of what we were planning to do. Make it a morning ritual to sit down with a coffee or some breakfast and plan out a clear, manageable to-do list for the day.
Allow yourself time for work on ongoing projects, as well as the daily errands like emails or minute writing. Blocking your day out across each of these activities, incorporating breaks and breathing room for anything unexpected that comes up, ensures you stay on top of all of your tasks, and know everything is accounted for.
Once you get into this practice, it will be a simple task to copy over any remaining items from the day before to the new morning’s list. Make lost post-it notes and incomprehensible phone messages a thing of the past.
Tackle The Big Stuff First
Tackling the harder or more complicated tasks first is a great focus for the morning and ensures the most important stuff is ticked off as soon as possible. Firstly, you’re more likely to be more alert and with optimum cognitive function early in the morning with ample energy supporting you, and best prepared to give your all to the tasks at hand.
Prioritising in this way also makes the rest of the day feel more manageable and promotes a sense of success early on in your day, when you know you’ve attacked the biggest hurdles head on.
Create Tracking Systems For Regular Tasks
If you’re often running through routine tasks that always follow the same pattern, create template documents with the essential information already inputted. This can help you skip the repetitive steps each time, and save you precious time.
Creating weekly or monthly alerts in your digital calendar for these tasks can also help you keep up to date and avoid having to waste timing playing catch up.
Group Working Platforms Together
If you have several tasks in one day that use the same platform - a series of spreadsheets to work on in Excel, a host of Zoom calls, or a stack of meeting minutes to type up - group them together in your to-do list.
This can cut down on wasted time switching between platforms, hunting for logins, or setting up your formatting. It can also be a good psychological prompt in helping you focus on the task at hand by streamlining your working practice.
Get Out Of The Multitasking Habit
Grouping similar tasks together, by platform as we discussed above or by project, can help optimise focus. Studies have also found that multitasking can make us less efficient - although this may feel contradictory to what we have in practice.
Multitasking can feel like you're getting four projects tackled at once. However, more often than not, multitasking expends a greater amount of physical and cognitive energy, detracts your attention across multiple activities, and leaves you more prone to make mistakes.
Don’t Skip Your Breaks
As we touched on above in terms of scheduling your day, making time for breaks and, specifically, time away from your desk each day is essential. Whilst we may feel that focusing that time on our work list will allow us to achieve more, we actually find that focus and productivity is lost as we exhaust our cognitive energy throughout the day.
If we fail to replenish and refresh ourselves, physically and mentally, during the day, then we’ll continue to deplete our energy levels and exhaust cognitive ability. Ultimately, this will lead to a decrease in our productivity - and we’ll feel utterly drained by the end of the day.
Create time for ten minute breaks every few hours or so. Take the opportunity to get up from your desk, move around, get some fresh air outside, and focus your brain on something entirely different. This can also be a great chance to hydrate, relax, and enjoy a focus-boosting and statiating snack to get you through the next few hours.