Do you ever have that end of day feeling that you got nothing done?
You worked hard all day long, but somehow never managed to cross anything off your long (and now growing) to-do list? This is a pretty frustrating feeling. You might even go home and continue working so you can at least finish one thing, but then you just feel exhausted, overworked and not excited to repeat this whole process the next day. Sound familiar?
Being productive isn’t as easy as it sounds. No matter how determined you are to crank things out, you can never avoid those little (or sometimes big) things that arise throughout the day. Even though you don’t have control over being pulled into deal with unexpected matters, there are a few things you can do to make yourself be more productive.
Don’t Check Email First Thing In the Morning
Email can be a time suck. You come in to work, ready to go for the day, only to open your email and find at least ten new emails to deal with. Just like that, add on a few meetings and there goes your morning. Instead of being sucked into the trap, don’t check your email for the first hour of the day. If something is urgent, the person will call you. If this isn’t the case in your job, scan your emails when you get in to work and make sure there aren’t any do-or-die issues you must address immediately.
Close Your Door
If people aren’t bugging you by email, they are probably stopping by your office to ask a question. One quick question turns into a 30 minute or longer conversation and gets your mind off track from what you were doing. Closing your door is a way of indicating to your coworkers that you’re busy. If it’s urgent, they’ll knock down the door. Close yourself off from the office hustle and bustle and focus on the tasks you want to accomplish.
Don’t Answer the Phone
This isn’t always an option. Like we said before, people may reach out to you by phone for urgent matters, so use your called ID and screen your calls. You should know what kind of calls you can and cannot avoid. Plus, if it’s super urgent, they’ll leave a message.
Block Out Your Schedule
Your schedule might look open if you only use your calendar for meetings and personal reminders. However, if you block out work time for yourself, it’s less likely someone will book you in a meeting during that time or try to come bug you for something. This is also a great way to force yourself to actually work on important tasks. Plus, it keeps you organized.
Change Your Work Environment
If all else fails and none of these tips are working for you, it may be a good idea to change your work environment. First, look at your current work space. Is it quiet? Do you have a lot of visual distractions? Do you have the resources you need? If you have something really important that needs to be done, it can be helpful to isolate yourself for a few hours or a day. If you’re able to work in another room or at a coffee house, maybe even outside, do it. Whatever isolates you from any and all distractions will help you crank out your work and be more productive.