It’s the holy grail of the workplace. Everyone, from top executives to fresh-faced interns, is constantly looking to get more done in less time. To maximize their efforts, blaze past deadlines, and establish themselves as reliable, capable, and consistent.
For many, this is an uphill battle. The modern workplace is awash in unnecessary notifications. Messaging threads that have no bearing on our projects. A relentless tide of emails. Push notifications from a hundred different apps, every one of which demands our full, complete attention.
It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
Yet even if you overcome these obvious productivity killers, there are other, more insidious things holding you back. Bad habits you’ve developed over the years. Subtle environmental factors you may not even realize are sapping your energy and attention.
Today, we’re going to discuss a few of the most prevalent, and what you can do to push past them.
Say it with us – human beings are not made to multitask. Anyone who tries to claim otherwise is either lying to themselves or trying to sell you something. We’re not just blowing smoke here, either.
As noted by the Smart Simple Marketing blog, multiple studies over the past decade have confirmed that the human brain simply isn’t designed to handle more than one concurrent task. What actually happens when you multitask is a series of rapid, constant attention shifts. You jump from one project to another, with only minimal progress made on each one.
It isn’t just our productivity that multitasking messes with, either. Believe it or not, it can actually cause lasting brain damage, reducing our focus and concentration, stifling creativity, and actively making us dumber. Basically, the first step to getting more done is to stop multitasking.
When you start on a task, finish it. Don’t let your focus be drawn away.
Most of us don’t actually realize the significant, marked impact our environment has on our mental state. Case in point – there’s an extensive body of research that indicates clutter, even if we don’t notice it, adversely effects our life. Even minor disorganization in our surroundings can create stress which leads to lower energy, poorer moods, and reduced productivity.
The solution here should be obvious: clean up. Clear out unnecessary clutter in your surroundings – keep your workplace both organized and clean. Sit down and watch Marie Kondo’s Netflix series if you must, but put in the effort to establish and maintain a tidy workplace.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic, stop eating at your desk. You’re making a mess of your workspace.
If you’re a perfectionist, then a lot of your self-worth is probably tied to your workplace performance. You’re willing to sacrifice your mental and physical well-being in the pursuit of deadlines; willing to put your personal life on hold for your professional life. Stop doing that.
It’s unhealthy. A good work-life balance complete with a healthy diet, structured sleep schedule, and manageable workout routine is critical to getting more done. In the same way that a car performs poorly without regular maintenance, your body and mind cannot function if you don’t take care of them.
Sure, you might get a bit less done in the short-term. But your long-term productivity will go up, to say nothing of your quality of life.
From active distractions to poor life choices, we are surrounded by threats to our productivity. Awareness of these brain-draining elements is the first step in overcoming them.
In addition to cutting down on unnecessary notifications and learning better time management, be sure to follow the advice outlined above. You might be surprised at how great a difference it makes.