I have this ideal in my mind….I sit down in my beautiful clean office at my nice, cleared off desk and just write. Everything flows, there are no starts and stops, no writing and then erasing, just wonderfully composed words on my screen. It’s easy. This scene is not reality. Not even close.
In reality, my office is a corner of my living room, my desk is never really cleared off (and is a bit too small overall) and the words rarely flow smoothly into the keys. And that’s ok. Even if someday I have that beatifiul office and big, cleared off desk, the words probably won’t just come to me. Writing is work for me. Enjoyable, most of the time, but work. This is probably a lot of people’s reality, not just mine.
So the question becomes “How do I make this easier? How do I get as close to that ideal as possible?” Because while I have a lot of things I do as a blogger, writing is a pretty big part of it! I can’t have this blog and get to interact with all of you without actually writing the content!
So you might be asking at this point “How does this apply to me?” Especially if you aren’t a blogger or writer! Well, maybe it doesn’t…but I think that most of us have some sort of task that we struggle with and I believe that most of these tips work for a variety of tasks! And I think most of us can agree that there is a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in finishing a day feeling like you were super-productive! I know I love that feeling and these are tips I’ve been using since college (WAY longer ago than I would like to admit!) to achieve just that feeling! They have helped me through a lot of different types of tasks.
- Use music to set your mind – This is a trick I’ve used for year, first in college for studying and now on the blog for writing. Pick a style of music that isn’t distracting to you and put that on every time that you work on that task. I love soundtracks, since they are instrumental and usually pretty uplifting! Only put that music on when you are working on that particular task. It takes time, but after a while you may find that putting on that music actually helps you focus and start working!
- Declutter your workspace – I still struggle with this one on a regular basis! I am great at adding to my desk or workspace without even realizing it. Then suddenly I barely have room to work! But I know that when my space is cleared off I work better and am less distracted.
- Turn off your notifications, phone, etc – This one is pretty obvious, but still needs to be said. It takes 20 min (Check for research source to back this up) to get into the “zone” and only takes checking one notification to pull you out of it. This can really mess up your productivity and make it harder to focus!
- Don’t multi-task – This is one that has taken me the longest to figure out. When I started this blog I wrote most of my posts while sitting in my comfy chair with the TV on. I didn’t have a workspace set up and figured that since I always picked a show I knew really well it didn’t matter. I was wrong. It took me so long to write anything and the quality was probably lower than it should be. I will say, this one is mostly for things like writing, researching, correspondence, things like that. I do some of my more time-consuming creative stuff in front of the TV and it works fine!
- Pick a day or time of day to work – This is probably one of the hardest for me and doesn’t always get followed, but when you can it helps a lot. I writing most of my posts on Wednesday nights. I’m also adding in a few other times throughout the week, but I know it’s easier for me to get in “writing mode” when I sit down on Wednesday because that’s when I always write.
I will admit, I’m better at some of these than others! Clutter and attempting to multi-task are my weak points and things I am constantly reminding myself about. I hope these tips can help you in being more productive and setting your mindset to what you need to work on!
Bonus tip! Make sure to schedule short breaks into your tasks. This Research News Post from talks about a research study showing improved focus due to short breaks during a 50 minute task. And it’s definitely not the only study out there! There are lots of studies showing that trying to focus too long on one task can decrease your focus and productivity.
Did I miss a technique you use to increase your productivity? Or maybe gave you a new one to try? I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!