Remaining productive throughout the day is difficult, especially when the afternoon rolls around and the end of the work day is in sight. Social media, news articles, exciting games, and water cooler gossip all sing their siren song of distraction, trying to lure you away from your productivity and concentration. Power through your day – especially those last difficult hours – with a few helpful productivity hacks.
Allot Time for Each Task
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Let’s say you have five things to work on before the end of the day. Map out your remaining hours and decide how long you’ll spend on each task. Then set a timer and stick to your plan. If you use up too much time on one thing, you’ll either be staying late to finish everything else, or you’ll have a terrible morning when you face your undone work from the day before. To up your game even more, write down where you’ll start with each task so you don’t dawdle.
Breaks are a time for you to take a deep breath and refocus your energy. When you’re busy you often feel you barely have time to step away to use the bathroom. The longer you work without giving your brain a rest, the less productive you end up being. When it’s three in the afternoon and you don’t want to stay late, you’re tempted to power through the rest of your work. Instead, take a fifteen-minute walk. When you return to your desk, your brain will be less likely to make mistakes or get stuck on what should be easy problems.
Download Productivity Apps
A smartphone can increase your productivity if you use it intelligently, or suck you into the internet black hole of kitten videos and useless quizzes if you allow it to distract you. That’s why you should download productivity apps so you can use your smartphone to increase productivity. Note taking apps, workflow apps, to-do list apps, or timer apps are all ways to leverage your productivity. The Galaxy S7, with its large display and fast processor, is a perfect smartphone for productivity apps. A little experimentation will show you which apps are most useful to you. Purge the rest of them so you don’t have extra distractions on your phone.
Set Aside Time for Phone Calls and Emails
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If you respond to emails and phone calls as they come in, other people’s schedules end up dictating your whole day. Set aside a time in the morning and time in the afternoon for responding to emails and returning phone calls. Create a notification in your email and a message in your voicemail box. Tell people that you check your messages at, say, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. That way, you have time set aside each day for important messages, and people will know that you’ll be getting back to them shortly.
Make SMART Goals
Making goals for yourself turns vague ideas or seemingly impossible tasks into manageable goals with clear steps. The SMART acronym stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely,” and the goals you set for yourself should follow this formula. Whether you’re working toward a promotion or trying to increase your quarterly sales, SMART goals give you a formula for keeping track of your own efforts and streamlining your work so you spend your time on productive tasks that move you toward your ultimate goal.
Once you have goals, they need deadlines. Company project deadlines should not be the only ones in your calendar. Create deadlines for yourself so you have a manageable chunk of work to complete each day or each week. Otherwise you could end up twiddling your thumbs for a week when nothing is due, only to have to stay late every night the next week when all the deadlines creep up on you. Plus, you’ll feel productive and accomplished when you meet your own deadlines.
Some days you’ll feel more productive than others. When you use these tips you’ll get stuff done, even when you’re feeling the least enthusiastic about work. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you accomplish a tough task or finish a to-do list!