Do you ever have one of those days when everything seems to go right? You wake up feeling refreshed, breeze through your tasks for the day and even have time to email all those people on your list?
When you have these perfect days or even just a few hours, it tends to be because the circumstances fit into your own personal productivity style. Maybe you woke up feeling refreshed, because you went to bed at the right time for you. Then you breezed through your tasks, because they were in the optimal order for you. Once you find your productivity sweet spot, you can tailor your day around it.
Here are some things to consider when honing in on your productivity style:
Are you a morning or a night person?
If you’re not a morning person, that’s okay! Take the morning out of the equation and only plan important tasks for the afternoon. Take notice of the time of day when you really seem to be on a roll. Once you know that, plan your most difficult tasks then -- even if it’s in the middle of the night. Netflix lets its employees work whenever is optimal for them. They know workers will be much more productive if they get to choose.
What’s your ideal environment?
If you go to your local coffee shop you’ll see several college students working on their next essay. The low buzz of activity in the shop helps to keep them focused on their tasks. However, as someone who enjoys people watching, I find that sometimes a coffee shop can be too distracting. I work in a noisy newsroom most days, so I’ve become accustom to drowning out background noise and still being productive. But some people just can’t do this and need to be in complete silence.
Try a few different locations to find what works for you. For example, you could try working outside. Being able to see the flowers and feel the fresh air on your face might be helpful to boost morale. It’s fun to experiment with unusual working environments; you never know what you might find.
Will some tunes give you a boost?
Music has been proven to help get your productivity juices flowing. Just 15 minutes of the music of your choice can put you back on track. But for some people working while listening to their favorite songs could set them back. Try both methods and see what works better for you. Sometimes just putting headphones on at your desk will send a visual message to your co-workers that you are busy. You’ll be surprised how often people will actually leave you alone even if you’re not listening to anything.
Which time interval will work best?
How long does it take you to get into your groove of productivity? I tend to procrastinate, so I need a boost start. I use the Pomodoro Technique to cut up tasks into shorter time intervals. The recommendation is 25 minutes of laser-focused work. For me, I find that 15 or 20 minute pockets work much better. You can really do anything for 10 minutes and then once you get started you might find you’ll want to keep going another 10.
Stop doing things you hate!
It’s also important to stop forcing yourself to do things that don’t work for you. If you don't like a particular app, then don't use it. Don’t want to read a book that everyone just loves, then pass on it. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Wasting time on these types of tasks will make you less productive in the end.