Self Improvement

To Work Smarter Not Harder

Seven important Tips That Boost Your Work Day Performance

1:  Have a powerful start to your day

Very frequently we claim to be too busy, especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves. It appears that our lives are filled by the demands of other people and sadly we tend to put off the “me time” until sometime in the future. But did you know that there is a certain part of the day which can give you the personal time you need? This time is the morning time. By studying to get up before, you can add more elasticity to your morning and enjoy a better start to your day. So how do you get up before, then? Well, it starts with a choice, followed by a target time and dedication to your plan. For example, you could set an objective to get up 3o minutes earlier than what you now do. But rather than shifting to this new wake-up time all at once, make this change in reduced increments. At the same time, commit to this change by being even with your new wake-up schedule (in other 

words, keep implementing your new wake-up plan every day). Stephanie Silberman, author of The Insomnia Workbook, recommends changing your sleep cycle in 15-minute increments at a time, for 3-4 nights. Once you are happy with this small change, make another change to your wake-up time. When you switch to earlier wakeups, there is still one point that you must pay interest to: the time you go to bed. Otherwise, you close up making the same mistake I do before. Even if I woke up early, I didn’t change my bed-going time accordingly and this made me a sleep-poor “office zombie.” It’s easier to know when to smash the bed when you know how much sleep you roughly need (see the previous section). For instance, in my case, I know that if I want to get up invigorated at 6:45am, I’ll have to go to bed around 11pm to get sufficient sleep.

2. Understand your optimal working rhythm

Whether you work in an office – for yourself or for someone else – you infrequently

just go to work and sit there for 8 successive hours and then go home (working like this is ineffective and just plain dangerous! ²⁰).

To enhance your focus and efficiency, try to find an optimum working style.

one that suits you are the best. There are few ways to

do this, listed below:

  • Pomodoro technique
  • 90-minute intervals
  • 52-17
  • Your personal one

3. Keep distractions at bay

Distractions are all around us and if you are not careful, they could destroy your whole workday. That’s why it’s vital to safeguard your precious hours, so that you can work on the things you meant to do. There are three types of distractions you could be subjected to during your work day:

  • Communication tools
  • Other people
  • Internal distraction

Next, let’s go through these distraction types in more detail.

Communication tools

Communication tools are things like the Internet, e-mail, phone, immediate messaging, and social media. Although they are part of a new workday and their purpose might be good, they can also be a huge source of embarrassment. 

To begin monitoring your communication distractions, you must set clear boundaries. For instance, set two-to-three-time windows with a length of 15-30 minutes per day, when you handle all the communication- related tasks at once, whether it’s calls, checking your e-mails, or cooperating on social media. When the pre-determined time has gone, close your client application (e- mail, social media, or instant messaging) and open them again only when the next pre-defined time window comes. Keep your phone muted while you work. Of course, setting stringent boundaries when you deal with all your communication might not work for everyone. This depends purely on the work you do.

Other people

Another source of distraction is the individuals you work with. If you work from home, the disruptions could be affected by family members and if you work at the office, it could be your co-workers.

To control or minimize this types of distraction, you can do these three things:

  • Make “do not disturb” requests
  • Change your location
  • Engage in random tricks

The main way is to kindly let the other people in the office know that you should be capable to focus on your task, but you can’t since the existing noise is stopping you from doing this. If you have made this nice request a couple of times but hasn’t had any impact on your working conditions, you can always take it to your boss. Perhaps he/she can help to pacify the situation? If you are working from home, talk to your family members and let them know that you are doing dedicated work at certain hours. You could also leave a note on the fridge door, repeating them about your working hours and when you shouldn’t be disturbed.

Another way to deal with distraction is by changing the work location completely. If you work at an office and want full concentration on your tasks, you 

could book a meeting room for your assignments. Then again, nothing prevents you to take this advice even further. For example, you could leave the office for the moment to do your work elsewhere (if this is OK with your boss), if there is no meeting room available. Realize that sometimes productive work doesn’t always require an office desk, but it can also be done: 

•In a coffee shop 

•In a public library 

•Outside in nature if weather permits

Internal distraction

There is also another type of distraction that makes us go off-track, and that’s internal distraction. Internal distraction is basically the thoughts and suggestions that interrupt us whenever we are trying to do valuable work.

 First, to fight the internal distraction, try to ensure that you get adequate sleep. The sleepier you feel, the simpler it is for your thoughts to start to wander. Then, implement a distraction list routine in your daily work. The distraction list is nothing more than just a piece of paper that sits on your desk. Then, whenever you come across a new idea or thought that you want to keep in mind later, just write it down. 

Once the workday is done, process the paper, either by taking care of the items at once or by planning them to your task list for a next date.

4. Never start your day unplanned

Apply a habit of planning your day in advance. This way you know precisely what you should be concentrating on when your workday starts. Also, you don’t have to run from memory, since all the necessary tasks are laid out in front of you. I must admit that making a daily task list has been one of the largest improvident to my efficiency. Since I know the tasks, I should be doing, I don’t waste my time on nonessential stuff. To get started with this new habit, just pick a piece of paper, or choose a task list program²⁵ for keeping your task list. Then, write down three essential tasks for the next day and highlight them to the starting of the workday. Also, add some lower-priority tasks to your list too, to make sure you make progress on every.

5. Drink water

Drinking water has many health advantages, including making your skin look

good, helping you with weight loss, and keeping your stress levels down²⁸.

But there are some productivity advantages too. A study made by The University

of East London found that drinking water enhances your brain performance by

14%.

So how much water should you drink daily?

 The suggestion differs and clearly this depends on the person. But what’s important is that you have a glass of water sitting on your desk, repeating you to take a sip every occasionally. Decide to drink more water, starting today. Your body and brain will thank you for that!

6. Identify the most important tasks and do them first

I quickly touched on this topic already in tip 4. Yet, it’s value thoughtful that the sooner you do the most important tasks of the day, the sooner they get done. Otherwise, there is a larger risk that something else comes up and you end up delaying your tasks. So how can you define an important task then? Consider these options: 

•The long-term effect of a task 

•The short-term effect of a task 

In the initial case, a task – when completed – can have a great effect on your future. Most likely, these kinds of tasks are the ones which you should concentrate on now, even if the results emerge later. The short-term effect can also play a big role, when prioritizing is involved. 

Even if a task might not be important to you, other people may still rely on your input before they can move forward with their own projects. For example, implementation of a new server system for your client is stalled if you are not capable to tweak the structure of a server. And since your client hurries the deployment, this task should be a high importance one for you too. So, pay attention to the essential tasks when you plan your task list for the next day and prioritize them at the top of your list.

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