Most people struggle with productivity at some point. Whether it's the never ending email inbox, wasting time on Pinterest, or watching 45 minutes of parodies on YouTube (guilty as charged, but I have to admit, they were hilarious!), sometimes it can be a challenge to focus. How can you stay on track without losing your mind? Well, it turns out that even the simplest things can make you more productive than ever, like making sure you're not working on an empty stomach (the growls can be quite distracting). While we all have different ways of being productive, here are my top five, super simple tips to staying focused.
1. Do a Brain Dump
Every night before I go to bed, and every morning before I do anything else, I take out a piece of paper and write down anything that comes to mind. Everything. I write down the title of a song that's stuck in my head, ideas for blog posts, meetings I need to go to, an outfit idea I saw another girl wear, something funny a professor said in class, things I want to Google, etc. I do this to clear my head before I go to sleep, otherwise my mind will just keep on working late into the night. In the morning I look at that list and categorize them: to-do list, Google list, reminders, and random stuff. Getting everything out on paper frees my brain up from trying to keep track of all that information.
2. Make an (Organized) To-Do List
Making an efficient, organized to-do list has always been a struggle for me. I've tried making paper lists, using sticky notes, and have tried many different list-making apps, but the app Any.do is by far my favorite list-making tool. It's simple design and ability to move around tasks between Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday lists keeps it organized. Whatever you put into the Tomorrow list will automatically move to the Today list when the day changes, and your Upcoming list will move to Tomorrow on the following Sunday.
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Many people think that multi-tasking will help them be more efficient because they're working on more than one thing at a time. While that mindset may help you get small, effortless tasks done, the truth is, you really aren’t getting stuff done as efficiently as you could. Simplify your to-do list by learning to single-task. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, then move on to the next.
4. Use a Table Lamp
Light is important when you're working. If you work in a dimly lit room, not only are you straining your eyes, but you're also going to get tired easily. By using a table lamp instead of overhead lighting, you can stay focused on one thing. Having the light focus in on your task keeps you from looking around and finding something else to do.
5. Have Everything Ready
Nothing wastes more time than having to get up and leave your desk just to do little things like grabbing a glass of water. Set yourself up before you sit yourself down. Go to the bathroom, pour a glass of water, stock up on paper and pens, and find your charger before you begin working. That way you can just dive right in.
What helps you stay productive? How do you eliminate distractions?
P.S. Looking for more productivity tips? Check out these 8 ways to simplify your life!