As tasks pile up and to-do lists grow, you may wish that you could add a few hours to your day. While that’s not technically possible, optimizing you work routine to maximize productivity can make it seem like you’ve created extra time for yourself. Read on for four strategies to ensure that you’re making the most of your time and energy.
1. Know When You Work Best
Maybe you prize your unbothered early-morning work time, or maybe you find that you’re most creative and productive late at night. Either way, identifying when you work best is important. It allows you to protect that time and can help you to prioritize tricky assignments and projects during your most effective work hours.
2. Know Where You Work Best
Some people work best in a quiet, distraction-free environment, while others thrive in the buzz and hum of a coffeeshop or busy office. Knowing which setting is right for you allows you to set yourself up for success and minimize time spent in places that aren’t conducive to focus and work. Additionally, if your most innovative ideas tend to come to you during a shower or walk, don’t spend time at work trying to force them out when they’ll come naturally in the right environment.
3. Know Your Distractions
Music can help some people focus, but if you find yourself scrolling through playlists trying to find the perfect song before you finally get to work, it may be time to reevaluate. Similarly, if you consistently find yourself being drawn into long conversations with coworkers, you might need to move yourself to a quieter, more isolated place when you really need to focus. By identifying the distractions that you are most prone to, you can address them effectively and ensure that you are consistently at your most productive.
4. Know When to Do What
Knowing when you work best is important, but equally important can be deciding what work to do, and when. If you’re most creative later in the day or at night, use your mornings to take care of tasks that don’t require that part of your brain, such as answering emails or updating spreadsheets. This will free up your ideal work hours so you can explore new ideas without worrying about other demands when the time comes.
We all have days when we feel like we can’t get anything accomplished, but we also remember days when we were able to tear through mountains of work with ease. By understanding how you work best, you can set yourself on the path to having fewer of the former and more of the latter.