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Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

Remember all those times you wanted to get back in shape and you told yourself, “I’ll start Monday”?

Sunday night rolls around, you set your alarm, it goes off in the AM, it’s earlier than you would normally get up so you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media and the next thing you know, two hours have passed by and now you have no desire to go to the gym. The day comes to a close and you find yourself wondering at what point in the day your desire to be productive dwindled away.

Sound familiar? Well, there can be quite a few contributing factors that can affect your productivity and end up wasting the day away.

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3 Obstacles You Need To Remove for A More Productive Day

1. Optimism

You have a day off from work coming up so you plan ahead all the things you want to get done that day with the intention of tackling them all. The day comes and you realize that one of the things on your list is taking much longer to get done than you had anticipated, and you realize that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all finished.

Being optimistic is a great quality to have, however, it will really get in the way sometimes when you’re trying to get a laundry list of tasks done in a short 24-time window.

2. Distractions

When you have a task to complete but there is no one around to check up on your progress or put pressure on you, probably you’ll end up procrastinating and allowing yourself to become distracted. You get distracted by the computer or your phone checking social media and sending texts back and forth you aren’t getting anything done. Pay attention to the people that you are surrounded by as well as your distractions. These play a big part in whatever environment you are in.

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3. Being overwhelmed

You wake up ready to take on the day and crush your tasks. You sit down to eat your breakfast and suddenly you start thinking about all the things you need to do that need to be done that day. Suddenly, your anxiety sets in and you’re extremely overwhelmed. You feel that you just won’t get everything done, and you start feeling discouraged. So as the day progresses, you start losing your motivation to get anything done that all you have to show for yourself is a half-completed task in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, we have all done these things at one point or another. You are probably wondering what you can do to help overcome some of these issues, and it really can be quite simple.

3 Ways to Overcome these Obstacles

1. Shorten your to-do list

Realize and accept that you only have 24 hours in a day. It sounds like a lot, but when you have a million things to do it isn’t. Then also realize that you are a human being and not superman/woman. Think about what needs to be done and what you want to get done. By doing this, you’re surely going to cut that list in half.

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2. Start a routine

Once you get yourself into a routine, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is for you to stay on task. For example, if you want to get back in shape, get yourself in a good morning routine to get ready for your trip to the gym. Instead of checking your phone when you wake up, get up and take a big stretch, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth, wash your face, and change into your gym clothes.

Make yourself some breakfast and head out the door. Doing this every single day will eventually become a habit to the point where if you missed something in your routine, something would just feel off.

3. Put your phone down

Put down those cell phones! More often than not, our phones can be one of the biggest reasons we lose our motivation because they are so distracting.

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You wake up in the morning and one of the first things you do is pick up your phone and check your social media apps instead of getting up right away and getting things done. You get caught up in the motion of checking the same apps, refreshing, and scrolling. It happens.

When it’s time to get something done and you know you need to focus, put your phone out of reach so you don’t get the itch to pick it up. Leave it in your car, your purse, at home. When you start doing this you’ll begin to realize how much more you can get done when you aren’t constantly being distracted by what’s happening on your phone.

Featured photo credit: https://www.understood.org via understood.org

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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