We all start our day or week with the best of intentions when it comes to staying productive at work. With picture-perfect checklists and calendars filled with meetings and deadlines — we know what needs to get done. But getting through it all can be challenging as we all struggle to remain productive from time to time. That's why we’ve compiled our favorite time management tips for staying productive and balanced at work.
These tips are for the person who struggles to stay on task AND the person who already feels productive. If you haven’t taken the time to research time management, it’s hard to know if you’re fully optimizing your work time.
Discuss inefficient processes with your teammates, learn from mentors and managers, and take the time to look outside your company for inspiration. That’s where we come in with time management tips to boost productivity and improve your work-life balance.
Many know, staring down your computer monitor until a task is 100% complete often does not produce the best result. But it’s hard to commit to other ways unless you have the right productivity tips to lean on. Here are 3 quick productivity tips you can implement today:
1. Go outside between tasks
While you may not be able to hop outside after every task, try adding 3 sunlight exposures to your day and see if you notice a difference. Sun exposure can increase your serotonin level, and serotonin can boost your mood. And when combined with other treatments, sunlight can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety and seasonal depression.
2. Don’t eat lunch in front of a screen
Designate a time and place for lunch and commit to disconnecting. Eating in front of a screen can contribute to you eating up to 30% more calories thanks to the mindless eating that comes with screen distraction.
3. Set boundaries
Parkinson’s Law comes into play here, which shows that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. By giving yourself less time, you likely complete tasks faster. Set a self-imposed time to disconnect from work. You’ll likely complete a task before 4 pm, if 4 pm is your deadline, as opposed to by the end of the day, leaving you tidying up the final touches after 5 pm.
Small Yet Impactful Ways to Boost Productivity
Ready to gain back time and get more done? After all, isn’t that the real goal of time management? There’s no need to make drastic changes to the way you work to see results, here’s what we mean:
- Minimize ‘switch-tasking’. This is when you’re working on a task, stop to check your email, go back to the task, take a phone call, check social media, go back to the task. Hopping around leads to decision fatigue, less accuracy, reduced willpower and decreased productivity. Dedicate specific times to emails and meetings to help you stay on task during the rest of your day.
- Commit to shorter meetings. Meeting schedulers like Gmail or Outlook default meeting times to 60 minutes. Head to the settings and revise the default to 45 or 50 min. The seemingly insignificant extra time allows people to look away from the screen or mentally process the meeting takeaways.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique. Use a timer and commit 25 minutes to work followed by a 5 minute break. After 4-5 cycles, take a longer 15-20 minute break. This helps assure you don’t sit for too long and provides the perfect opportunity to step outside.
Bring Balance To Your Day
Is there such a thing as perfect work-life balance? Maybe not. By making a few tweaks to your time management efforts and adding purposeful tasks to your day can help you achieve more, allow you to unplug from work, and avoid burnout.
You know what else can negatively affect balance? The app you impulsively visit throughout your day that doesn’t serve a true purpose. What if you removed that app or drastically limited the time your phone allowed you to be in the said app? You might just wind up happier and avoid a bulk of your switch-tasking.
And when the work is done, create an end-of-day routine so your body and mind transition away from work and into personal time. Maybe you turn on your favorite music, head to the gym, or dedicate time to a creative hobby like painting or writing.
We believe in the mantra work hard play hard, and when you transition into your personal time, it’s time to play. As you head back into your work this week, we challenge you to commit to 1 productivity tip or work-life balance technique so you remain productive, get more done, and leave more time for play.