The new year is the perfect opportunity to enhance your productivity in work and creativity. Trying to be productive shouldn’t feel like a grind; it should make your life easier and your work more enjoyable. These tips will give you the tools necessary to not only streamline your tasks, but to get the most out of your work, ideas, and future.
- First things first
Plan your day while you’re having your morning coffee. While you’re doing this, list the most important, heavier tasks first. Write down as many as you can, but with the understanding that you may not get them all done in one day — and that is completely fine. You can list what you didn’t finish at the top of your list for the next day. The point is that you give yourself enough space to think, plan, and execute at the start of the day (and at the top of your game).
- Make space for perspective
Look at your upcoming week and leave a day blank to breathe. Taking breaks is just as important to productivity as getting down to work. Follow the lead of entrepreneur Steve Streit, who says, “I generally keep one day per week unscheduled to allow for creative white space and the opportunity for a better perspective on work and life.”
- Press play
Make a playlist. Music can improve your mindset and your productivity. Of course, you’ll have to choose the right upbeat mix. If you’re unsure, Spotify has some great playlists to start with. Not only will the playlist help you work, but it will also add another level of richness to your workday. Stay mindful of how the music makes you feel, and you’ll have your own work mix in no time!
- Multi-tasking creates multi-mistakes
Multi-tasking only makes you feel busy while you’re not getting things done. Forbes Career Coach Ashley Stahl says that “we’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, presentations, and eating lunch. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll actually end up completing it faster.” Not only will you complete it faster, but the quality will also be better because you’re giving yourself time to think about and focus on the work.
- Fruitful bursts
Schedule 20 to 25-minute work bursts with 10-minute breaks in between. This gives you a mini-deadline while creating space for a much-needed snack break. It is easier to focus on work blocks than to work for long periods of time. It is also a great strategy for breaking burnout.
- Ready, set, goal!
Goals should be not only achievable but also feel achievable. Break your larger goals down into smaller steps. The smaller steps will make you feel motivated in the moment while helping you keep your concern on the bigger picture. Author and writer for the New York Times, Phyllis Korkki, explains how to trust the process, and that making “small changes in how you work can gradually add up to big changes in productivity.”
- Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity
Focusing on being perfect can stall good work and hinder creativity. Do your best, proofread, take a deep breath, and move on to the next task. Perfection is an illusion.
The best way to become more creatively productive is to try as many methods as possible so you can figure out what works best for you. Everyone has their own journey toward a more rewarding and successful life, and yours starts here.