How to Be More Productive At Work

Whether you work from home or in a corporate cube, your job takes up a large chunk of your life. Even if you like what you do, it’s easy to become distracted and scattered if you don’t plan how you’re going to use your time – especially for people who have creative personalities (Guilty!).

I really struggled with being productive and getting things done on time when I was in college; my creative brain had ten thousand things going on at once. I’ve found that having a routine while working helps me to be super productive and reign in the creative ADD I’ve got going on. It’s bad, really. If I can be productive, so can anyone else, that’s for sure! Here are some ways I manage my time at work so I can get everything done that I need to (and more):

Make Lists

Every morning, I determine what my priorities for the day are going to be. Based on those, I make a checklist for the morning and a list for the afternoon with things I need to get done. As I work throughout the morning, I reevaluate the list to see if I’m on track getting things done.  For instance, if I get pulled into a call and can’t get something done, I move it to the afternoon. After lunch, I make a list for the afternoon and continue to work until I’m done.

You don’t have to only add big things. Add everything you plan on doing, even if it’s a follow up email that will take literally a minute. Making lists and checking things off can really help you stay on top of your workload.

Use a Calendar

I like to make my lists in a daily calendar. You can use your phone/computer but I prefer to write items down, it helps me to remember them better. Any upcoming projects or posts can go on the monthly part of the calendar.

Plan around Meetings

Are you going to have three meetings in the morning? Plan accordingly. Don’t overload yourself with things you know you won’t get done. Take into account how much time you’ll have left to do work, (depending on how long they are), and plan for that amount of time.

Take Breaks

Taking strategic breaks during the day can give your eyes/brain a little rest; however, they shouldn’t be so long that you get off track. Get up and go to the bathroom, take a ten minute walk, or get a snack and come back refreshed.

Be Positive

It’s easy to be negative when coworkers, bosses, or clients are giving you a hard time. Our natural reaction is to want to vent to people about what’s going on (or yell at them in our heads). While venting is definitely necessary sometimes, constant complaining to coworkers or texting friends about how crazy so and so is and how terrible they are to work with can be a huge time suck. Dwelling on negative things distracts from what you actually need to be getting done. So, breathe. Take a break. Put headphones in and listen to your favorite music. It’s not worth it.

Having this plan has really helped me become more organized and productive.  How do you stay on track at work?