Productivity is something we ALL struggle with from one time or another. Why? Because we’re human!
Not to mention, we all have about a zillion distractions going on at any given time. Even though it’s our nature to get distracted, especially when whatever we’re working on is either boring or difficult, there are ways we can certainly mitigate those disruptions.
Believe it or not, some of those techniques don’t revolve around consumable stimulants or exercising more willpower, but rather how your workspace is set up. Many people don’t realize this, but one’s environment is important, especially when trying to be productive!
Below are three of my top tips for keeping your workspace optimized for productivity:
Tip #1: Organize your space.
All that clutter and mess is causing your mind to make micro decisions that you’re not even aware of. It wants to pay attention to all those things screaming for its attention.
You know all of those icons and files on your computer desktop? You brain sees them and wants to sort through them all. Every single one is a reminder of something that you either did in the past or need to do in the future.
And let’s face it, the reason they’re sitting there is because they’re all a decision that needs to be made that you’re avoiding. Why is that random document still sitting on your desktop? Because you’re not sure if you should keep it or not, and if you should, then you’re not sure where to file it.
Your brain knows that. Clutter around your desk is also a multitude of problems that your brain can’t help but want to solve. Those bills sitting on your desk, those Post-Its on your monitor, that fashion magazine in your peripheral vision… those are all distractions that your brain actively has to work to ignore to focus on your work.
Productivity is about effectively focusing on one thing at a time.
Tip #2: Work on what you really want to be working on.
Obviously this can’t always apply, but the majority of the time you can definitely put it into practice. Odds are that you have various goals and tasks to get done throughout the day, and if you get stuck on one of them your productivity is going to plummet.
Trying to force yourself to be inspired and excited about something usually doesn’t produce your best work. If you know you need to write a new blog post, network on social media, and do baby’s laundry, you have options. If you know you need to call customer X, send invoices, and get a presentation done before EOD’s deadline, then you still have options.
While you know all of the things on your to-do list must get done by the end of your day, you have flexibility with which things you can do within that day. If it’s first thing in the morning and you’re smashing your face on your keyboard trying to write a blog post because your brain is still waking up or you’re wholly uninspired at the moment, go do baby’s laundry instead. Come back later and try the blog again.
If you’re still not feeling it, work on your social media networking. Odds are that connecting with your ideal customers and other humans will remind you of why you do what you do and re-inspire you to get that blog post done in no time.
Tip #3: Listen to something that helps you focus.
Like, truly focus. While I work, I love listening to movies, business podcasts, and even the Bible in audio form. But let’s be honest—those are more words (and thus distractions) pouring into my brain when I need to be focused on what I’m doing. So I’ll often opt for music instead. Some of it I know well enough to not be distracted by the words (same with some movies). There are also wordless options, like classical music, which I’ll choose pretty often.
Recently, I discovered this amazing service called Focus@Will. They claim that all of our brains are wired differently, and depending on your unique wiring, some things distract you while others help you focus. They say the key is to find something that engages your mind juuuust enough to keep it interested while also not distracting you from what you’re doing. They offer various music stations and have you do a little quiz to see which one works best for you. They recommend one, but you have the freedom to switch it or try other ones whenever you want.
I love this service; it’s absolutely brilliant. At the times when I’m struggling the most to focus, I’ll put on the station that I found works best for me (it’s not the one they recommended, but that’s ok) and like magic, minutes later I find myself immersed in my work. Score for productivity!
Help your brain stay focused while you’re working by removing all other distractions, responsibilities, and stressors from sight! As you’re working with a clean area, you might find yourself hit a mental wall with whatever you’re currently working on. Rather than rage quitting, let yourself switch tasks for a while. You will likely find that working on something that inspires you more at the moment will lift your productivity, which will then encourage you, and you’ll come back to that other item energized and full of ideas for it. While you’re working, also try putting on some background sounds or music that truly help you focus. This is different for everybody, so don’t hesitate to play around with it and see what works for you!
Go through each of these three tips and apply them to your current workspace. Is it clean and organized, with distractions out of sight? If you’re currently stuck on one thing, have you tried switching subjects for a while? Do you have something on that is helping you focus, rather than taking your attention away from your efforts? Try applying all these tips and see how your productivity increases!
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Remember to also post a comment below to join the conversation, especially if you had any insightful moments or if you have any questions!